SIr Timothy Bligh
|Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister|
|Prime Minister|| Harold Macmillan |
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
|Preceded by||Frederick Bishop|
|Succeeded by||Derek Mitchell|
Timothy James Bligh
2 September 1918
|Died||12 March 1969 50) (aged|
Ruth Pamela Robertson
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
|Civilian awards|| OBE |
|Years of service||1940–1945|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Military awards|| DSC and bar |
Sir Timothy James Bligh, KBE, DSO, DSC* (2 September 1918 – 12 March 1969) was a British Royal Navy officer, civil servant and business executive, who served as Principal Private Secretary to two successive prime ministers; Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
Bligh was born on 2 September 1918,the only surviving son of Edward Clare Bligh (1887–1976), who was Chief Officer of Welfare Department, London County Council, 1932–1951. Bligh was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1940.
During the Second World War, Bligh served in the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic, the English Channel and the Mediterranean, and was twice wounded. He was awarded the DSC and bar and the DSO, and was appointed an OBE. Bligh joined the Civil Service in 1946 as an assistant principal in the Treasury, and was rapidly promoted, reaching the rank of under-secretary in 1959. That year he was appointed principal private secretary to the prime minister, Harold Macmillan, whom he served until the latter's resignation in October 1963. Bligh then served Macmillan's successor, Sir Alec Douglas-Home in the same capacity, until Douglas-Home's defeat in the 1964 British general election.
In 1964 Bligh left the government's service to become a director of the media chain the Thomson Organisation, and became its assistant managing director in 1966. He was briefly active in Conservative politics, as an alderman on the Greater London Council from 1967.
As the prime minister's principal private secretary, Bligh was peripherally involved in the Profumo affair of 1963, a scandal which brought about the resignation of John Profumo as Secretary of State for War and destabilised the government. Before the affair broke, Bligh had been advised of the possibility that Profumo had compromised national security through a sexual affair with a 19-year-old showgirl, Christine Keeler, who was a known associate of the society osteopath Stephen Ward, a suspected Soviet sympathiser. Bligh interviewed Profumo, who denied any wrongdoing but asked if he should resign to avoid embarrassing the government. He was advised that he should not.Later, when the affair was unravelling, Bligh met Ward, who by then, at the Home Office's instigation, was under police investigation regarding possible vice charges. Ward asked Bligh if there was anything that could be done to halt the investigation, which was proving ruinous to his practice. Bligh took no action. In June 1963 when the scandal reached its climax, Macmillan being absent in Scotland it was to Bligh that Profumo first confessed his guilt, and it was Bligh who transmitted the contents of Profumo's resignation letter to the prime minister.
Bligh married Ruth Pamela Robertson in 1945; there were two sons and one daughter from the marriage. In the 1963 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.Bligh died at his home in Kent on 12 March 1969, after a long illness.
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, was a British statesman and Conservative politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. Nicknamed "Supermac", he was known for his pragmatism, wit, and unflappability.
The Profumo affair was a major scandal in twentieth-century British politics. John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government, had an extramarital affair with the 19-year-old model Christine Keeler beginning in 1961. Profumo denied the affair in a statement to the House of Commons in 1963, but weeks later a police investigation proved that he had lied. The scandal severely damaged the credibility of Macmillan's government, and Macmillan resigned as Prime Minister in October 1963, citing ill health. The fallout contributed to the Conservative government's defeat by the Labour Party in the 1964 general election.
John Dennis Profumo was a British politician whose career ended in 1963 after a sexual relationship with the 19-year-old model Christine Keeler in 1961. The scandal, which became known as the Profumo affair, led to his resignation from the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan.
Christine Margaret Keeler was an English model and showgirl. Her meeting at a dance club with society osteopath Stephen Ward drew her into fashionable circles. At the height of the Cold War, she became sexually involved with a married Cabinet minister, John Profumo, as well as with a Soviet naval attaché, Yevgeny Ivanov. A shooting incident involving a third lover caused the press to investigate her, revealing that her affairs could be threatening national security. In the House of Commons, Profumo denied any improper conduct but later admitted that he had lied.
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Stephen Thomas Ward was an English osteopath and artist who was one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair, a British political scandal which brought about the resignation of John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, and contributed to the defeat of the Conservative government a year later.
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Captain Yevgeny Mikhailovich Ivanov, also known as Eugene Ivanov, was a naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy in London during the early 1960s, and was also engaged in espionage. His affair with Christine Keeler resulted in another of her lovers, John Profumo, resigning from the United Kingdom government, in what became known as the Profumo affair.
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