Sandbach, Francis Henry, 1903-1991

by E J Kenney

17 Apr 2016
0-19-726149-3 hbk
Number of pages

Extract relating to military intelligence work:

As for countless others, this peaceful routine was abruptly shattered in September 1939. There began a series of disruptions, as first Mary and then Harry himself were called away to war work. It was during these upheavals that the two children in whom they took so much pleasure were born, Catherine in 1940, Martin in 1943. The early years of the war Harry spent holding the fort in Cambridge, as classical supervisor, jointly with A. S. F. Gow,[8] for five colleges, as Air Raid Warden and Home Guard, and as Proctor. In this last capacity he became embroiled in a political row about the right of free speech, in which he seems to have behaved with characteristic firmness and equanimity. In 1943 he was accepted to do topographical work for the Admiralty, where he ended up in the Economics section of his department, which was located in Oxford. Reading between the lines of his understated account one catches echoes of Evelyn Waugh. All that Harry himself says is: ‘The planners improbably assured us that our work was useful’.

8. Gow’s Letters from Cambridge (1945) is a unique evocation of the peculiar flavour of those wartime years in Cambridge.

(See: List of humanities scholars who worked in military intelligence in the Second World War)

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