Basil Gerritsen Ivory

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Basil Gerritsen Ivory

Birth nameBasil Gerritsen Ivory
Born(1901-05-21)May 21, 1901
Edinburgh, Scotland
DiedJanuary 16, 1973(1973-01-16) (aged 71)
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1939-1945
Service number88561
  • Royal Field Artillery
  • Special Operations Executive
Commands held
  • 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery
  • 139th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery
Battles/warsWorld War II
  • Joan Mary White
  • Mary Margaret Elizabeth Cuerden
  • Neil Basil Ivory
  • James Angus Ivory

Basil Gerritsen Ivory TD JP (21 May 1901 – 16 January 1973) was a British soldier in Special Operations Executive (SOE) operating in India and Southeast Asia. He was Managing Director of British Assets Trust Limited.

Early life[edit]

Basil Gerritsen Ivory was born in Scotland, the son of James and Florence Ivory. James Ivory was a founding director of investment trust British Assets Trust and grandson of James Ivory, Lord Ivory. Basil was educated at Bedales School in Hampshire, England from 1912 to 1919.[1]. He then attended the University of Cambridge until graduating in 1923 with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry & History. While at university he was president of the Cambridge University Boat Club, crewing for them in 1922 and 1923[2].

Pre-war career[edit]

After leaving university Ivory entered his father's profession, becoming an apprentice chartered accountant[3]. He often accompanied his father overseas, making at least 25 transatlantic sea voyages in the 1920s and 1930s, primarily between Southampton and New York City.

British Assets Trust had substantial American holdings and, from 1936, had its US headquarters on Broadway, New York City. Upon his father's death in 1939 Ivory took his seat on the trusts's board, becoming managing director[4]. Fellow managers included Basil's brother Eric James Ivory.

Army and Special Operations Executive[edit]

Ivory was commissioned a Captain in the Royal Artillery, Army Reserve (United Kingdom) in June 1939[5] and was posted to various Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) Battery units, rising to the rank of Major. From December 1940 to April 1942 he was posted with the 5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry to Libya and the Middle East.

According to Ivory's SOE personnel file[1] he joined the SOE in April 1942 and travelled to India as the SOE India Mission's Chief of Administration and Finance, based in New Delhi. He was designated codename B/B.155 and then B/B.102. Ivory rose to the rank of Colonel in the SOE, and had administrative responsibility for the SOE's Force 136 branch in Southeast Asia. From March to August 1945 Ivory was SOE Commander, Rear Headquarters, Force 136 and director of finance. The personnel file describes him as "Slow but sure. An attractive personality which helps his sound handling of personnel matters. His financial background enables him to deal successfully with this side of our organisation."

Ivory returned to the UK on 5 August 1945 and left the SOE.

Personal life[edit]

Ivory was a Presbyterianism and a member of various private clubs, joining the New Club, Edinburgh in Edinburgh, the Leander Club in Henley and the Wheler Club in Meerut, India[1].

His first wife was Joan Mary White[6], who he married in 1928 and from whom he separated in 1950. They had two sons. Ivory's second wife was Mary Margaret Elizabeth Cuerden[7], former wife of Sir Leslie Fry, ambassador to Hungary, Indonesia and Brazil. Ivory died in Ocho Rios, Jamaica[8], where he owned land[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "National Archives file HS 9/781/6". 1939–1946.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  2. "Crew Lists and Results, Cambridge University Boat Club".
  3. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line], Year: 1925; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3625; Line: 6; Page Number: 2
  4. "The Economist". 1939-03-04.
  5. "Gazette, issue 34640, page 4361". 27 Jun 1939.
  6. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  8. "Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880-1999," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 August 2017), Basil Gerritsen Ivory, 16 Jan 1973, Death; citing Ocho Rios, Saint Ann, Jamaica, Registrar General's Department, Spanish Town; FHL microfilm 1,937,814
  9. "Land notices". The Daily Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 1971-07-06. p. 17. Retrieved 2018-10-31.

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