Jeannette Guyot

Jeannette Guyot (February 26, 1919 – April 10, 2016) was a French Resistance operative who went on to become one of the Second World War's most decorated women. She is one of only two women to hold the American Distinguished Service Cross obtained during the war. She participated in Pathfinder Mission of Operation Sussex.[note 1]

Jeannette Guyot
Jeannette Guyot.jpg
Jeannette Guyot's parachute wings are visible on her uniform.
Born(1919-02-26)February 26, 1919
DiedApril 10, 2016(2016-04-10) (aged 97)
Known forOperation Sussex, WWII
Spouse(s)Marcel Gaucher
Parent(s)Jean-Marie Guyot, Jeanne Guyot
AwardsLegion of Honour
Distinguished Service Cross
George Medal
Espionage activity
  • Free France Free France
  • United States United States
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom


Jeannette Guyot was born on February 26, 1919, in Chalon-sur-Saône. Her father was a wood merchant and mother a seamstress. In the 1940s her family joined the resistance but soon after both her parents were deported. While her father died in deportation, her mother was repatriated.[note 2][2][3] Jeannette Guyot's first involvement in a clandestine network involved exfiltrating agents and civilians to the free zone. Soon after, in 1941 she became a liaison officer for Gilbert Renault. In 1942 she was arrested and sent to prison for three months. The Germans could prove no charges against her and she was set free.[4]

Guyot carried on her work after release, but due to the Germans closing in, the RAF picked her up in a rescue mission. On reaching England, she officially enlisted in the Free French Forces under the name Jeannette Gauthier.[4] She was one of 120 volunteers to be trained in St Albans by the Secret Intelligence Service and Office of Strategic Services officers who would go on to be a part of Operation Sussex.[4][5] In 1944 she got her parachute wings. Her first mission was "Pathfinder" and as part of Operation Calanque, with three other French officers, she was parachuted into Europe and helped find many dropping zones and about a hundred safe houses for Operation Sussex agents.[1][6] She chose the Cafe du Reseau Sussex as one such safe house because the owner, Andree Goubillon, was a friend of hers whose husband had been taken prisoner.[7]

After France was freed from Nazi occupation, Guyot was given desk duties by the French Intelligence Service. Soon after, in June 1945 she retired. She married Marcel Gaucher, another Sussex agent. They had three children. She died on April 10, 2016.[4]



  United Kingdom

  United States of America


  1. ^ Operation Sussex's purpose was to gather intelligence on German troops formations.[1] Operation Sussex is also referred to as the Sussex Plan.
  2. ^ She was among a group of women the Gestapo sold to the Swiss Red Cross in early April 1945.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary – Jeannette Guyot". The Times. May 5, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Childs, Martin (May 6, 2016). "Obituary: Jeannette Guyot, French Resistance fighter". The Scotsman. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Translation by Bernard O'Connor, Jeannette Guyot’s Biography Le Plan Sussex, 1944.
  4. ^ a b c d "Jeannette Guyot, Free French agent – obituary". The Telegraph. April 26, 2016. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  5. ^ Reference List of Sussex Agents Retrieved on September 12, 2019.
  6. ^ "Pathfinder Mission". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  7. ^ Cleveland-Peck, Patricia (November 13, 1988). "Secret life of the Sussex". The Observer (10284). p. 36. Retrieved October 2, 2019.