Parish of Leatherhead - Jack Stuttard 1916-2005

from the February 2005 magazine
Jack Stuttard
Just a day after
Sid Brown's death we lost another "old faithful" member of our church - Jack Stuttard. Jack's health had not been good in recent months, but he did not look his 88 years and kept going right up to the end. He had attended a Local History Society Committee meeting a week or so before his death and had just completed editing the annual Proceedings of the Society. He was an excellent editor - he had held this post since 1990 and the current edition of the Proceedings is perhaps the best of all.

Like Sid, he was a real gentleman of the old school - courteous to everyone, and he never complained about his health, or indeed, anything else. Again like Sid, he was a very modest man. He had held an extremely senior position for many years with the Ministry of Defence, but he never talked about it and one would never have guessed this from his conversation.

In 1981 Jack retired from the MoD and soon after this he was invited by St. John's School to become their Librarian and also their Archivist. He published a booklet on A Short History of Leatherhead in 1986 and St. John's School Leatherhead - a Short History, in 1998.

Two of the great loves of Jack's life were mountains (he loved Switzerland) and music. He and Eleanor and their children moved to Leatherhead in 1965 and have both been part of the community ever since. Again, like Sid and Joyce, they were in many ways inseparable. They had many separate interests but did many things together, not least being very faithful churchwatch stewards. He will be greatly missed in many quarters. Linda Heath

Geoffrey Stuttard's tribute to his brother John, given at Jack's funeral on Monday, February 7th, 2005, Leatherhead.

My elder brother John - John Corrie Stuttard - Corrie was our mother's maiden name - had a full, fruitful and interesting life. He was born - one of three brothers - Jim is no longer with us - in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, of a Yorkshire father, a Lancashire mother and Scottish grandparents, a valuable mixture for all of us.

Our father was in insurance and so we moved about a lot in Yorkshire, and schools in Dewsbury, Northallerton, and Huddersfield were of mixed educational worth, but luckily, we moved to Hull, and the Boulevard School there - Amy Johnson's school - transformed all our lives, and John went on to the Senior Ferens Scholarship to Hull University. There he gained such a good degree in Geography that he was recommended to move on to research in Cambridge.

We were also lucky, from an early age, to have an uncle, the Reverend Herbert Edwards - Uncle Teds - and his charming wife, Aunt Muriel - Auntie Mu - vicar of Stainforth and Langliffe in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed with them two or three times a year, and from then on we assumed that anyone in his senses would spend as much time as possible wandering amongst and climbing mountains. This we continued with great pleasure all our lives, with Jim in the Himalayas, and John mainly in Europe, often with his great friend, Donald Chamberlain.

In 1939, John joined me in Cambridge, and at Emmanuel College started and completed his research thesis an the Historical Geography of the Forest of Dean, reinforcing his continuing interest in local history. I remember him, when he was quite young, asking for The Pastern Letters as a Christmas present! And at Cambridge, his close friend was Brian Roberts of the Scott Polar Institute and through him he was drawn into the war effort. From then on, he became a member of the Government's Naval Intelligence Group and of the Joint Intelligence Branch, the JIB, until his retirement.

Whilst there, after the War, he was for a time one of the bright young bachelors who lived in a flat above Whitehall, and whose job it was to take all the overnight phone calls to the Cabinet, and decide whether they merited waking up the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary.

After the War, through his membership of the English Speaking Union, he met the love of his life, Eleanor - the start of a long and happy marriage. They lived in London for a time and then moved to Leatherhead with their growing family, where they continued over the years to provide a sure home, still important, though the sons and daughters now have their own lives. On his retirement from the Civil Service, he continued his love of and interest in local history, editing and adding to books on Leatherhead and local villages, and his love of books, by becoming librarian of St. John's School.

He was never happier than when browsing in London bookshops for additions to St.John's library. His love of mountains continued too - particularly of the Italian, Austrian and Swiss Alps. And it was in Switzerland, some years ago, at Pantresina, that he found climbing over ten thousand feet was making him breathless, and his eventual heart trouble had to be dealt with by a by-pass operation which was successful. He still continued over the years to be bright and active to the end and never complained - perhaps it was his Yorkshire background? But some days ago, he had a major heart attack and died on the way to hospital.

He had had a long and valuable life. We shall all miss him greatly. He was a good man.

Goodbye John!

Donald Chamberlain's Address at Jack Stuttard's funeral: Donald was a colleague and old friend from Jack's Intelligence days

JACK STUTTARD 1916 - 2005

I first met Jack when I joined the old Joint Intelligence Bureau London in May 1950. He was a founder member of the JIB and had a distinguished background. He had taken an MSc at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was a geographer and during the war served in Naval Intelligence Division 5, centred in two teams in Oxford and Cambridge. This Division was responsible for the production of the NID Handbooks, comprising 58 volumes on 31 countries. These were to provide information about countries which naval forces might be called upon to visit in peace or in war and they were military in the broadest sense including details of peoples, religion, history and cultures, coasts, climate, economic and transport geography and so on. They were works of great distinction and Jack's two volumes on the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) were commonly accepted as one of the finest of the Handbooks. This tradition of in-depth analysis was to inform the JIB yet the largest programme of regional geographical writing ever attempted in the world never received a mention in the Official History of Intelligence in World War 2. They are collectors' pieces now. There was one on Iraq; its economics may be out of date but it should have been compulsory reading for our senior policy civil servants and ministers.

So this was the man, in his early 30s, who was to be one of the greatest influences on my life. Sir Percy Cradock in his book Know Your Enemy has described the JIB under General Sir Kenneth Strong (Eisenhower's Chief of Intelligence) as a high powered research unit, not loved by the armed services - and I would add the Civil Servants - who disliked the mingling of the three services and uniformed and civilian experts. It was the brainchild of Mountbatten and was in truth a clever elite with high entry criteria. At this time, Jack was doing work for which he was completely suited, in depth research but also editorial. He was a superb and discerning editor and was also a professional indexer; I often think of him when I am struggling with the modern indexes.

In September 1950 I joined Jack and Ken Brooke in the Resident Clerks' Flat in the old Ministry of Defence (the building of Churchill's War Rooms). It was a curious Victorian institution, still going strong, which provided 24 hour cover for certain Ministries at a minimal cost. We did our normal work but then had to cover the Ministry out of working hours. We were given a magnificent flat with a housekeeper, Miss Watkins, tea and a biscuit at 8am, our shoes polished and our beds made. The Head of the Civil Service Sir Edward Bridges had a bedroom there and we saw him frequently.

Jack was the senior resident clerk in this officers mess type life, allocating duties, and he was very kind to this raw young man just out of the RAF. He introduced me to Wagner, to film as an art form, and I had the run of his private library housed in our huge sitting room, reading authors such as Henry James and Charles Morgan for the first time and the New England satirist John Marquand who in turn I was to introduce to my daughter. Three Sleeping Beauties in one week with Jack at Covent Garden, Fonteyn, Moira Shearer, and the beautiful, tragic, Svetlana Beriosova. Innumerable concerts together and the Festival of Britain in 1951. We had complete compatibility of interests and I was lucky in having an older, better educated and erudite man moulding my tastes and opinion. And of course, the social life. Jack threw wonderful parties, pretty girls galore, and I remember his wine cellar because he taught me to appreciate good wines.

One recollection among so many. Miss Watkins cooking Sunday lunch, throwing open the hatch and saying, 'Gentlemen, lunch is ready' very formal, almost always guests, Jack carving the Sunday joint, the junior clerk, myself, decanting the wine. A wonderful two years for me but tinged with tragedy for Jack.

In mid 1952 Jack was offered and accepted on promotion the head of the JIB Middle East, formerly centred on Cairo but latterly located at the Joint HQ at Fayid in the Canal Zone. There was a vacancy at desk level, Jack invited me to join him, and in September1952 I landed at Port Said. It was not an easy life; living in tents or stone quarters, terrible temperatures in July and August, no air conditioning, just fans, office in a Nissen hut, and shot at by Egyptians wanting us out of Egypt - with some justice if I may say so. It was essentially a field intelligence office, quite small comprising about 9 or 10 people including a Registry and of course mixed civilian /military. Both of us with diplomatic cover were able to travel in Egypt but not without risk. Of course, Jack's influence was not always benign. 1953 saw us in Alexandria and Jack got fed up with my energy and persuaded me to smoke a pipe in order to calm down. He was to give his pipe up years before I did, but then, he was very self-disciplined. We returned to London in 1954, both of us got married and both of us had children.

The JIB eventually became the Defence Intelligence Staff in 1963 and although nothing seemed to change initially, over the years the traditions of in-depth intelligence analysis and keeping a certain independence from political pressures were eroded and the talents of officers such as Jack were no longer fully utilized. Shallow, quick, journalistic assessments crept in - Jack and I often derided them - and this reached its nadir with a certain intelligence dossier recently. But Jack had several interesting jobs including one involving a certain amount of foreign travel which he liked and the job was in fact quite important. Before he retired, he was pictured in the Evening Standard wearing his bowler hat, as one of the last in Whitehall to do so. It was with retirement however that the wheel of life turned full circle.

His work as librarian with St. John's School enabled him to indulge one of his favourite pastimes - collecting books, preferably on history. I accompanied him on one foray to Ross-on-Wye and Hay festival and observed his antics with some amusement as he bargained away. He seemed to me to be buying mainly history books and I remember teasing him 'What about the Science sixth, Jack?' His work with the Leatherhead Historical Society however took him back to in-depth research and editorial and secretariat work and when I last saw him on October 19th 2004 he seemed to me to be mentally a very happy man, despite his physical frailty.

Most years we would take a week off to walk and climb together in the Lake District or the Swiss Alps. Jack and his brothers were great lovers of mountains and he encouraged me to climb in the Alps as early as 1951 and supervised the purchase of my first climbing boots from Robert Lawry in London - nailed boots. He took me to Taw House in Eskdale in the Lake District and over the years observed three generations of the Ellwood family. I remember gigantic, beautifully cooked four course dinners with good wines, and talking in the sitting room over coal fires with other climbers. Our last visit to Switzerland was sad - I had a serious foot problem, and Jack could not get above 10,000 ft. His heart by-pass put an end to our walking holidays but Jack and Eleanor would return together to his beloved Switzerland.

Jack was blessed with a happy marriage. He became very dependent on Eleanor and although this is quite understandable in his late years, in fact it went back a long time. Sometimes at Taw House when the weather closed in, I would come down to breakfast to find Jack up before me, very rare. 'Donald, I have decided to return home, the weather is unlikely to get better, and I should be grateful if you would take me to Ravensglass'. Of course I knew what it was all about and so did the young Mrs. Ellwood. She would say that evening 'Mr. Stuttard was missing his wife, you know Mr. Chamberlain, its been five days.'

It has often been observed that grief has a selfish element. Jack had such an influence on my life, entirely kindly, that it is quite impossible for me to imagine its permanent absence. He rarely displayed emotion, and expressed disapproval of any action of mine in studied terms, but I always knew when he disapproved and that he was usually right. He was deeply respected among the old hands of the Defence Intelligence Staff. I attended a reunion of some last Tuesday, and they asked me express their sympathy for Jack's family. The five of us of varying former ranks talked about Jack and then they asked me how I was going to end my remarks about him. Jack had been an outstanding intelligence officer of the old type, he was a man of integrity and honour and a gentleman of the old school. But of course, for me, he was much more.

Appreciation of Jack from the February 2005 Newsletter of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society

If you have any memories of Molly or Alec please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.

last updated 29 Sep 2005

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