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- Sir William Dobbie - Frank Adams - Trevor Huddleston -


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SIR WILLIAM GEORGE SHEDDON DOBBIE became well known as a public speaker during the 1940s and 1950s and lectured at venues throughout Europe and America. During a visit to Bedford, he preached at morning service in the chapel of Bedford School.

Dobbie was born in Madras, India in 1879. At Charterhouse in Englnd he became a top-ranking classical scholar and a keen student of ancient military campaigns. He later trained at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and served in South Africa in the Royal Engineers during the Boer War (1899–1902). In the First World War Dobbie served in France and Belgium becoming General Staff Officer No. 1 under Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. In this capacity had the distinction of composing, and issuing under his own signature, the "ceasefire" telegram of November 11, 1918: "Hostilities will cease at 11:00 hours today. Troops will stand fast at the line reached at that hour. There will be no fraternization with the enemy." When asked what he did in that war, Dobbie answered, 'I ended it!'

Maltaflag1943.jpg - 13293 BytesDobbie was Governor of Malta (1940–2) during its heroic resistance to German and Italian air attack. The island was subsequently awarded the George Cross.

In 1943, the Reverend Daniel A. Poling, after completing a survey of armed services chaplains, wrote of the high-ranking officers whom he had met, "Never before in any comparable area have I found so many ranking executives giving so much attention to religion. "Typical and outstanding among these "sword and Bible" generals of the Second World War is Sir William Dobbie, who was called from retirement to become the hero of Malta, one of the most heavily bombed spots in the world and the island which "conceivably . . . saved the war." Sir William died in 1964.

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The Malta flag from 1943 (left). The enlarged section (right) shows the George Cross awarded to the island that year.



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FRANK ADAMS was born in Woolwich on 5 November 1930. His family was evacuated from London in the early stages of World War II and Frank then attended Bedford School from 1940 until 1949. While at school he proved to be a brilliant student and was obviously destined for a great future in the field of science and mathematics. The photograph shows Adams in A.H.Cobby's class in 1944. For more details of A.H.Cobby and an earlier class in which Adams was present click here.
On leaving school he entered Trinity College, Cambridge and after taking his degree he started graduate work at Cambridge on geometric measure theory and later on algebraic topology.
AdamsFrank1.jpg - 29221 BytesHaving obtained his doctorate and after a year at Oxford he returned to Cambridge having won a Fellowship with his doctoral thesis on spectral sequences.

Frank Adams visited Chicago as a research associate, then he moved to Princeton before returning to the UK. In 1964 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1970 Adams became Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry at Cambridge. Adams received many awards for his research work. Among these was the Sylvester Medal of the Royal Society of London which was awarded to him in 1982, "... in recognition of his solution of several outstanding problems of algebraic topology and of the methods he invented for this purpose which have proved of prime importance in the theory of that subject." AdamsFrank.jpg - 5762 BytesFrank wrote a number of books of major importance including 'Lectures on Lie groups' (1969) and 'Infinite loop spaces' (1978). The authors of an article published in 1989 (see below) mention that Frank had apparently always had a 'reputation' as a car driver and according to a colleague: ‘He drove cars with remarkable skill but in a style that left a lasting impression on his passengers’ ! Despite feeling unwell Frank decided to go to London on 7 January 1989 to celebrate the retirement of a friend. Sadly, on the return journey, he died in an accident only a few miles from his home in Cambridge.

The above short biography of Frank Adams includes the use of information contained in an article written after his death by two of his former colleagues, J J O'Connor and E F Robertson and to whom due acknowledgement is given.


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TREVOR HUDDLESTON: The following has been compiled from a biographical statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, South Africa on 28 July 1998 and to which due acknowledgement is given. The full statement may found by clicking here.

Trevor Huddleston was born on 15 June 1913 in Bedford, England and was educated at Lancing College in Sussex, Christ Church in Oxford and Wells Theological College. He was ordained in 1937 and in 1939 joined the Community of the Resurrection a monastic order within the Church of England. He was sent by the Community to South Africa in 1943 and became Priest-in-Charge of the Sophiatown and Orlando Anglican Mission, in the diocese of Johannesburg.

Trevor Huddleston became active in the struggle against apartheid. The forced removal of the black community from Sophiatown after the passing of the Group Areas Act saw Father Huddleston come into conflict with the authorities. He also closed the Community’s St Peter's School rather than agree to hand it over to government control decreed in the Bantu Education Act.

In 1956 Father Huddleston returned to England and in the same year published "Naught For Your Comfort", a 'powerful indictment of apartheid and a stirring account of the struggle for freedom in South Africa'. On 26 June 1959, Father Huddleston addressed the founding meeting of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in London and pressed for a British boycott of South Africa.

In 1961 Bishop Huddleston was elected Vice-President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, a post held until April 1981, when he was elected President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. In 1960, Huddleston returned to Africa to serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Masasi in the south of Tanganiyka, where he worked until 1968. He returned to England that year to serve as Suffragan Bishop of Stepney. In 1978 he left the East End of London following his election as Bishop of Mauritius. Shortly afterwards he became Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean.

In 1983 Huddleston returned to London and engaged himself fully in the work of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He addressed many hundreds of meetings throughout Britain, including schools, church groups and trade union meetings and also travelled extensively internationally in support of the anti-apartheid cause.

Archbishop Huddleston received many awards, including honorary doctorates from Aberdeen University (1956), Lancaster University (1972), Warwick University (1988), Dennison University (USA) (1989), City University (London) (1987), the City of London Polytechnic (1989), Leeds University (1991), Exeter University (1992), Oxford University (1993) and Birmingham University (1993).

He was awarded the United Nations Gold Medal in recognition of his contribution to the international campaign against apartheid (1982); the highest award of the Zambian government, the Order of Freedom, 1st class (1984); the Dag Hammerskjold Award for Peace (1984); and Nigeria's highest award, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (1989); and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Prize (1995).

Archbishop Huddleston initiated major international anti-apartheid projects including, in 1982, the "International Declaration for the Release of Nelson Mandela and all Political Prisoners" He took part in the televised "International Tribute for a Free South Africa" which was held at Wembley Stadium, London on 16 April 1990 during which he introduced the address by Nelson Mandela.

The Archbishop entered South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London on April 26th, 1994, to vote in the first South African democratic election. He was also a guest at President Nelson Mandela's inauguration in Pretoria on May 10th, 1994.

He received the KCMG (Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George) in the 1998 New Year Honours list, for "Services to UK-South African Relations", and attended an Investiture at Buckingham Palace on March 24th, 1998, to receive this honour from the Queen. He chose the designation, "Bishop Trevor of Sophiatown".
Trevor Huddleston died in July 1998.

    (In 1956 Father Huddleston was present at a 'signing' of his book, "Naught for your Comfort" at F.R. Hockcliffe's bookshop in the High Street, Bedford. The following day he preached at a service in the chapel at Bedford School.)


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For more personalities of the 1940s including
Dwight D. Eisenhower and T. Howard Somervell please click here.