Guy Burgess at the BBC | The early career of the Cambridge spy

Memo from Burgess pursuing expenses claim

Burgess persists with his claim for first-class travel.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT
1943

[Page 1 of 1]

From: Mr. Guy Burgess 201 B.H.
10th November, 1943
Subject: EXPENSES

To: 1. A.D.T.
2. D.T.
3. C (H)
Copy to:- A.A. (Talks)

A.A. has rejected an expenses claim for a first class ticket to Cambridge to
represent the Corporation at John Hilton's funeral. I would wish to appeal
against this rejection. My reasons for this appeal (which I have told A.A.
I shall be submitting) are:-

(1) A.A's predecessor successfully supported a claim on my part in the
past to travel first class when travelling under wartime conditions doing
work on Corporation duty. A.A. has not been able to find these papers. (I saw
them at the time - it was over a visit to Sir Dennis Bray at Winchester).

(2) As far as I can remember my claim was supported as being reasonable by
the then A.A. on the grounds of war time travel conditions and that it was
an accident of age that put me into a different position from other talks
producers in higher salary grades, whose first class claim would be
allowed. This distinction neither he nor I were willing to accept as valid.


I regret the present A.A. does not find herself justified in extending
equal support and confines herself to saying that without the papers she
can do nothing.

I do not, however wish to base myself only on my recollection of A.A. files
that have been subsequently lost. Since, apart from the reasons quoted above,
which of course exist independent of the papers it should be pointed out:

(3) That on the occasion now under dispute I was representing the
Corporation officially at an official function. (Incidentally, I was
wearing my best clothes, which matter for such an occasion. Incidentally also,
I normally travel first class).

(4) I knew that representatives of the War Office were also travelling to
Cambridge for the Service. Though personally promising it could, I think,
have been not suitable from the Corporation's point of view to have got
involved in the possibility of class distinction between official
representatives and colleagues on such an occasion.

(5) I had taken work to do on the train. I am sorry to bother every
one with this controversy. It was not of my seeking nor need, nor should,
it, I think, have occurred.

[Signed]
Guy Burgess

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Document Type | Internal Memo

10 November 1943

Document version

Writtenin

1943

Synopsis

In this ardent defence of his decision to travel first class, Burgess itemises his justifications, stating that he is normally in the habit of travelling in this way and was wearing his best clothes.

Read the first document in this chain of correspondence.

Did you know?

John Hilton, the man whose funeral sparked the expenses row, was a social scientist and broadcaster who was also a pioneer in addressing and advising on consumer-affairs issues for the poor. From a working-class background himself, he dedicated his life to understanding the plight of the poor and offering practical advice on ways out of poverty.

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