Deakin, (Sir) (Frederick) William (Dampier) 1913-2005

views updated

DEAKIN, (Sir) (Frederick) William (Dampier) 1913-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born July 3, 1913, in London, England; died January 22, 2005, in Var (some sources say Le Castellet), France. Historian, college administrator, educator, and author. Deakin was founding warden of St. Antony's College, Oxford, and published several highly regarded histories. Completing his master's degree at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1934, he was subsequently hired by Wadham College, Oxford, as a tutor. He joined the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in the late 1930s, and when England entered World War II he was transferred to Special Operations Executive. Assigned to Cairo, Egypt, Deakin, by then a captain, was sent on a dangerous assignment to Yugoslavia in 1943. Here, in the midst of active fighting against the German army, he befriended Marshal Tito, who later became the Communist dictator of Yugoslavia. Impressed with Tito's partisans, he recommended the British support their efforts against the Germans instead of the Cetniks. After leaving that country, Deakin continued to work in support of that country, and he became the first secretary of the British Embassy there; he also received the Yugoslav Partisan Star First Class in 1969 for his support of Yugoslavia. Deakin's wartime experiences in Eastern Europe left a profound impression on him, and he would be interested in the history of that region long afterwards. However, research on that topic was delayed by another important project for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Deakin had worked for Churchill before the war; now, with the war over, he returned to that job, helping Churchill write his memoirs. At the same time, he resumed his teaching duties at Wadham. When a benefactor granted Oxford University a large financial gift to found a new college, Deakin was selected to help create St. Antony's College and to serve as its warden. He has since been credited with being key to creating a respected learning institution known particularly for its political studies and history programs. Deakin served as warden from 1950 until 1968; after retiring from that post—he remained an honorary fellow of the college until his death—he focused on his own research and writing interests. Among his published works are The Brutal Friendship: Hitler, Mussolini, and the Fall of Italian Fascism, 1942-1945 (1962), The Embattled Mountain (1971), and the coedited British Political and Military Strategy in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe in 1944 (1988). Knighted for his service to his country in 1975, Deakin was also named a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, a fellow of the British Academy, and recipient of the Russian Order of Valor, among other honors.



Independent (London, England), January 27, 2005, p. 40.

Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2005, p. B9.

Times (London, England), January 25, 2005, p. 56.

Washington Post, January 31, 2005, p. B7.

About this article

Deakin, (Sir) (Frederick) William (Dampier) 1913-2005

Updated About content Print Article