Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen

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Anthony Eden and Knatchbull-Hugessen

Sir Hughe Montgomery Knatchbull-Hugessen KCMG (26 March 1886 21 March 1971[1]) was a British diplomat, civil servant and author.

Background and education

He was the second son of Reverend Reginald Bridges Knatchbull-Hugessen, son of Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet, and his second wife Rachel Mary, daughter of Admiral Sir Alexander Montgomery, 3rd Baronet.[2] Knatchbull-Hugessen was educated at Eton College and then at Balliol College, Oxford, where he befriended Anthony Eden and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1907.[3] A year later, he joined the Foreign Office.[4]


He soon obtained the chance of the paid post of an attaché and in October 1909 he went to Constantinople.[3] Returned to England, he served in the contraband department during the First World War and after its end in 1918, when the Foreign Service and the Diplomatic Service merged, Knatchbull-Hugessen became eligible for other postings.[3] Promoted to first secretary, he was attached to the British Delegation at the Versailles Conference in January 1919,[4] for which he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1920 New Year Honours.[5]

After a stop in The Hague, followed by Paris, he became counsellor at the country's embassy in Brussel in 1926, an office he held until 1930.[1] In 1931 Knatchbull-Hugessen was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republics of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia until 1934; he was stationed at Riga, Latvia.[6] Then he transferred to Tehran as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Persia.[4] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 1936 New Year Honours[7] and was sent to China as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.[8] The following year, his car was machine-gunned by a Japanese fighter aircraft, and he was hit.[9] First hospitalised in Shanghai and then invalided home to Britain, he narrowly escaped paralysis.[3]

Having taken over a year to recover from his wound, Knatchbull-Hugessen was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Turkish Republic in 1939.[10] During his time in Ankara, his Albanian valet Elyesa Bazna, known as Cicero regularly opened his mail and safe, passing any useful information on to German High Command; one of the more damaging spying incidents of World War II.[11] In 1944, Knatchbull-Hugessen was nominated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belgium and additionally Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Luxembourg, retiring three years later.[12]


On 16 July 1912, he married Mary Gilmour (who died in 1978), daughter of Brigadier-General Sir Robert Gilmour, 1st Baronet and had by her three children, one son and two daughters.[13]



  1. 1 2 "Janus - The Papers of Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen". Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  2. Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1929). Armorial Families. vol. II. London: Hurst & Blackett. p. 1110.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Wires, Richard (1999). The Cicero spy affair: German access to British secrets in World War II. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-275-96456-6.
  4. 1 2 3 Who Is Who 1963. London: Adam & Charles Black. 1963. p. 1745.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31712. p. 5. 30 December 1919. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 33724. p. 3758. 9 June 1931. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34238. p. 6. 31 December 1935. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 34331. p. 6536. 13 October 1936. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  9. Lee, Bradford A. (1973). Britain and the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1939. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-8047-0799-5.
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34607. p. 1763. 14 March 1939. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  11. Sulzberger, Cyrus Leo (1985). World War II. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 142. ISBN 0-8281-0331-3.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 36811. p. 5393. 24 November 1944. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  13. "ThePeerage - Sir Hughe Montgomery Knatchbull-Hugessen". Retrieved 4 December 2006.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Joseph Addison
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to the Republics of Estonia, Lavia and Lithuania

Succeeded by
Edmund Monson
Preceded by
Sir Reginald Hoare
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to Persia

Succeeded by
Sir Horace Seymour
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Cadogan
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China
Succeeded by
Archibald Clark Kerr
Preceded by
Sir Percy Loraine, 12th Bt
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
to the Turkish Republic

Succeeded by
Sir Noel Charles
Preceded by
None due to World War II
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
to Belgium

Succeeded by
Sir George Rendel
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
to Luxembourg

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