Sir David Petrie KCMG CIE CVO CBE KPM (9 September 1879 – 7 August 1961) was Director General (DG) of MI5, the United Kingdom's internal security service, from 1941 to 1946. He was described as "a rugged and kindly Scot, with ... immense physical and moral strength".[1]

David Petrie

Born9 September 1879
Inveravon, Banffshire
Died7 August 1961(1961-08-07) (aged 81)
Sidmouth, Devon
Alma materAberdeen University
OccupationPolice officer
Espionage activity
AllegianceUnited Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Service branchMI5
RankDirector General of MI5


Petrie worked in the Indian Imperial Police between 1900 and 1936. His highest level in British India was to chair the Union Public Service Commission. In April 1941, he was appointed Director General of MI5. His task was to reorganise the service so that it could improve its efficiency. In the spring of 1946, Petrie retired.[2]

He was awarded Order of the Yugoslav Crown and other decorations.[3]



  1. ^ The Times, Obituary, 8 August 1961
  2. ^ "Sir David Petrie (1879–1961)". MI5. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  3. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 592.


  • R. Popplewell, Intelligence and imperial defence: British intelligence and the defence of the Indian empire, 1904–1924, 1995, ISBN 0-7146-4580-X
  • F. H. Hinsley and C. A. G. Simkins, British intelligence in the Second World War, 4: Security and counter-intelligence, 1990
  • D. Petrie, Communism in India, 1924–27, 1972
  • T. Bower, The perfect English spy: Sir Dick White and the secret war, 1935–90, 1995
Government offices
Preceded by
Jasper Harker
Director General of MI5
Succeeded by
Sir Percy Sillitoe