Major-General Count Albert-Marie Edmond Guérisse GC, KBE, DSO

Belgian Major-General Albert Guérisse organised escape routes for Allied pilots under the alias of Patrick O’Leary. In 1968, he revisited Dachau, where he was imprisoned

Major-General Count Albert-Marie Edmond Guérisse enjoyed an extraordinary military career operating with great courage behind enemy lines and, when eventually captured, showed equal bravery to resist torture for months on end. He was one of the many operatives acting for Britain during World War Two to benefit from the fact that he was fluent in French, while serving in Germanoccupied France.

Albert-Marie was born in Brussels, Belgium, on April 5, 1911. Little is known about his early life but he read medicine at Brussels University before joining a Belgian cavalry regiment as a medical captain in 1940, just a few months into the war. He took part in the 18-day campaign that May that resulted in the German occupation of his homeland. Guérisse’s resourcefulness matched his gallantry and he successfully managed to escape to England via Dunkirk.

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