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Hugh Leach OBE

Discussion in 'Roll of Honor & Memories - All Other Conflicts' started by GRW, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Hugh Leach, who has died aged 81, was a soldier, diplomat, Arabist, author, adventurer, circus impresario, and, as one writer observed, “the last of a dying breed: the great British eccentric”.
    His exploits included working for Army intelligence in Oman, accompanying Freya Stark to the backwaters of Yemen and a spell as a circus ringmaster in Egypt. Later he entertained Wilfred Thesiger at his Peckham cottage.
    In 1956 Leach, then a tall, fair-haired officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, was one of the first to land at Port Said, Egypt, during the Suez Crisis. It was the start of a lifetime of adventures in the area as, after retiring from the Army, he stayed on in the region, serving with the Foreign Office in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan. Some considered this to be a veiled MI6 assignment.
    While pursuing his diplomatic career Leach concurrently had a half-share in a circus, which performed alongside the Egyptian State Circus in Egypt. “We had belly dancing on stilts, tightrope-walking and a man who stood on one leg, blindfolded, and threw knives around a girl,” Leach recalled. “British Envoy Joins the Circus”, announced the Daily Express.
    Leach found the circus similar to the Army, he explained, because of the high degree of discipline that was needed: “If people muck about, someone will get killed.”
    Hugh Raymond Leach was born at Abingdon on May 5 1934. His father was a printer to the clergy; his mother died in childbirth while delivering him and his twin sister.
    Hugh attended Abingdon School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, being commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment in 1955. He was appointed assistant adjutant and after tours in Suez, Libya and Cyprus began studying at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, the FO school in Lebanon."

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