Hugh Trevor-Roper

Lord Dacre of Glanton

Hugh Trevor Roper – 1975

I wonder if others, like me in their youth in the 1940-50’s, can remember the practice of Dr Trevor-Roper, on Bondgate Without, opposite the War Memorial. I believe it is nowadays a boutique Hotel.

The Doctor also had a practice in Glanton where his, later to become famous, son Hugh Trevor-Roper was born in Jan 1914.  Hugh did not mix with Alnwick boys and went at age 9 to school in Scotland before winning a scholarship to Charterhouse school near Guildford. From there he went up in 1932 to the Oxford University College of Christchurch where he later became Regius Professor of Modern History from 1957 to1980.

Hugh Trevor-Roper’s earlier fame arose from WWII when he worked as an intelligence officer and became an expert on German resistance plots and breaking cipher codes of the German secret service. From this position he was chosen by MI5 in late 1945 to investigate the disappearance of Hitler some four months before the end of the war. Trevor–Roper proved that Hitler finally killed himself in his bunker in Berlin and wrote the famous “Last Days of Hitler” published in 1947, which established his reputation. He was made a life peer in 1979 by Mrs Thatcher and took the title of Lord Dacre of Glanton, which reaffirms his association with Northumberland.

This was not however the last we were to hear of Trevor-Roper. In 1983 his reputation was damaged when he authenticated the Hitler Diaries shortly before they were shown to be forgeries. It is interesting how this occurred since he was impressed by the sheer volume of nearly 60 books said to have been recovered from an air crash in East Germany. They were bought for 9 million Deutsch marks by the Magazine Stern but turned out to be forgeries when the paper whitener and ink were found to date from no earlier than the 1950’s !  Extracts from the Diaries they were rushed to print by the Sunday Times. Meanwhile, Trevor-Roper had begun to express his doubts regarding their authenticity, just saving his position and the Sunday Times payment!. Trevor-Roper finished his career as Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge with several other publications. He died in January 2003 aged 89.

David Thwaites, Duke’s School 1950 to 1957, now in Perth, Australia