Skip to Main Content

To report an imminent threat call 999 or ring the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321
Current national threat level: SUBSTANTIAL Read more about threat levels >>

Sir Dick White (Director General 1953–56)

Sir Dick WhiteSir Dick White (1906–93) was a unique figure in the British intelligence services, as the only person to have headed both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service. He joined the Security Service in January 1936 after being recruited by a friend who had joined the Service a couple of years earlier.

During the Second World War he was closely involved with operating the highly successful "Double Cross" system against Nazi Germany. He was responsible for recruiting his former history tutor, J. C. Masterman, who headed the committee responsible for the "Double Cross" system.

He became Deputy Director General in 1952 and succeeded Sir Percy Silitoe as DG in 1953. During his time in office he carried out a major reorganisation of the Service, in which the existing three divisions of the Service were replaced by six branches named A to F. His term was cut short in 1956 when the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, moved Sir Dick from the Security Service to head the Secret Intelligence Service. He retired from SIS in 1968.

Fact or Fiction?
There is an underground tunnel linking MI5 and SIS.

True False

Latest News

view ALL News
The official MI5 crest

MI5 Director General and Head of CT Policing give joint interview for podcast

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum and head of Counter-Terrorism Policing Neil Basu gave their first joint interview for...

Read Full Article ›
MI5 logo with purple and blue background

MI5 joins Instagram

MI5 has joined Instagram with the aim of lifting the lid on what it's really like to work at the Security Service.

Read Full Article ›