H. Montgomery Hyde
| H. Montgomery Hyde |
(spook, lawyer, politician, author)
|Born||14 August 1907|
|Died||10 August 1989 (Age 81)|
|Alma mater||Sedbergh School, Queen's University Belfast, Magdalen College Oxford|
|Party||Ulster Unionist Party|
Harford Montgomery Hyde, born in Belfast, Ireland, was a barrister, politician (Ulster Unionist MP for Belfast North), prolific author and biographer. He was deselected by his party in 1959, losing his seat in the House of Commons, as a result of campaigning in favour of homosexual law reform.
Hyde was called to the Bar in 1934, working briefly in London and on the North East circuit. His first salaried employment was with the 7th Marquess of Londonderry whose wife Edith was a London political hostess, and whose influence on prominent Labour Party politician Ramsay MacDonald (who became prime minister) was held by some to be suspect. From 1935 until 1939, Hyde was librarian and private secretary to the marquess in his "appeasement" period, hired specifically to research the family papers and write its history. His works on the family included Londonderry House and its Pictures (1937), The Rise of Lord Castlereagh (1933), a book which remains very highly regarded, and The Londonderrys: A Family Portrait.
Secret intelligence agent
He joined the British Army Intelligence Corps in 1939, serving as an Assistant Censor in Gibraltar in 1940. He was then commissioned in the intelligence corps (MI6) and engaged in counter-espionage work in the United States under Sir William Stephenson, the Director of British Security Coordination in the Western Hemisphere. Hyde was also Military Liaison and Security Officer, Bermuda, from 1940 to 1941 and Assistant Passport Control Officer in New York from 1941 to 1942. He was with British Army Staff, USA from 1942 to 1944, attached to the Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944, and then seconded to the Allied Control Commission for Austria until 1945 as a legal officer.
Postwar work and writing
He continued writing and publishing during the war, and would be addressed as "Lt. Col. Hyde" throughout most of his parliamentary career. He would continue to cover the topic of espionage in his writings. He wrote Secret Intelligence Agent (1982, describing his war experiences).
After the war, he became assistant editor of the Law Reports until 1947, and was legal adviser to the British Lion Film Corporation, then managed by Alexander Korda, up to 1949. In 1948 he published The Trials of Oscar Wilde, a precursor of three further books about Wilde.
Hyde had planned a parliamentary career since the 1930s, and actively scouted for seats until the war intervened, postponing an election until 1945. He then applied for the South Belfast Unionist candidature, and was unfortunate enough to miss the nomination by only a single vote. Five years later, North Belfast was to select him. He could have expected to hold his seat for a quarter of a century or more. In the event, he represented the constituency for just nine years. His maiden speech was on the contentious subject of the difficulty of enforcement of Northern Ireland maintenance orders in Great Britain, and the consequent problem of border-hopping husbands.
He was a UK delegate to the Council of Europe Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg from 1952 to 1955, majoring on simplifying European visa and border controls. He was also an incessant traveller; a visit in 1958 to East Germany and Czechoslovakia got him into difficulty with political exiles, despite his obvious intelligence work there.
He was deselected by his party in 1959, after arguing in favour of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in a debate about implementing the Wolfenden report on 26 November 1958, a debate he had been most prominent in seeking. Indeed, Hyde was the most vocal of any MP in the 1950s about homosexual law reform.
He also wrote a number of biographies of legal and political figures and books on spying, notably Room 3603 (1962) about Sir William Stephenson and the wartime efforts of British Security Coordination. He also wrote a biography of the Allied wartime spy Betty Thorpe with the British Security Coordination code name "Cynthia". Hyde also wrote extensively about the Oscar Wilde trials and Wilde's immediate circle, the trial of Sir Roger Casement, and about T. E. Lawrence.
Events Participated in
|Bilderberg/1954||29 May 1954||31 May 1954||Netherlands|
|The first Bilderberg meeting, attended by 68 men from Europe and the US, including 20 businessmen, 25 politicians, 5 financiers & 4 academics.|
|Bilderberg/1956||11 May 1956||13 May 1956||Denmark|
|The 4th Bilderberg meeting, with 147 guests, in contrast to the generally smaller meetings of the 1950s. Has two Bilderberg meetings in the years before and after|