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Sir Harold Atcherley
Born (1918-08-30)30 August 1918
Died 29 January 2017(2017-01-29) (aged 98)
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman, public figure, arts administrator

Sir Harold Winter Atcherley (30 August 1918 – 29 January 2017) was a businessman, public figure and arts administrator in the United Kingdom.

Early lifeEdit

The son of L. W. Atcherley and his wife Maude Lester Nash, Atcherley was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Geneva University, and Heidelberg University.[1]


Atcherley joined Royal Dutch Shell in 1937. From 1939, he served through the Second World War in the Queen's Westminster Rifles (1939–1940) and the Intelligence Corps, 1940, then in the 18th Infantry Division in Singapore. After the fall of Singapore in 1942 he became a prisoner of war of the Japanese and worked on the Burma Railway until the war ended in 1945, then in 1946 he returned to Royal Dutch Shell. With that company he served in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, and Brazil until 1959 and was the RDS Group's Personnel co-ordinator from 1964 until 1970.[1][2]

He was Recruitment Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, 1970–1971, and Chairman of Tyzack & Partners, 1979–1985. He was also a director of British Home Stores, 1973–1987. In retirement, as of 2008 he lived in London.[3] Atcherley died on 29 January 2017, aged 98.




Atcherley married first, in 1946, Anita Helen Leslie. They had one son and two daughters and divorced in 1990. He married secondly, in 1990, Elke Jessett, the daughter of Carl Langbehn (she died in 2004). He married thirdly, in 2005, Sarah Mordant.[1]


  • War Diary: Singapore, Siam & Burma, 1941-1945, illustrated by Ronald Searle (London, Harold Atcherley, 2004)
  • Euro paean: In 1998, Atcherley wrote in The Independent in support of Britain joining the European single currency.[4]
  • In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, Atcherley, writing in The Independent, ascribed the fundamental causes of the disaster to the non-observation by the British government of the Balfour Declaration of 1917.[2] He wrote to The Times on 3 August 2006: "How can the Israelis, Bush and Blair think they can ever achieve lasting peace in the Middle East by allowing Israel to continue its futile attempt to 'defeat' Hezbollah? ...Unless military action is replaced by negotiation, I can only see disastrous consequences for our relations with the Muslim world."[5]
  • On 6 September 2001, a letter from Atcherley was published in London's The Independent newspaper, headed Reports of my death... and enquiring why for two years running the newspaper had failed to include his name in its Today's Birthdays column. He suggested:[6]
It occurs to me that it may be because I am dead without being aware of it. This is perhaps too fanciful, if only because, as far as I am aware, my name has not yet appeared in your Deaths section... My own hunch is that my supreme unimportance may have something to do with it.

His birthday, however, has continued to be reported in The Times.[7]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 ATCHERLEY, Sir Harold Winter[dead link] in Who Was Who online at (accessed 9 November 2007)
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Week That Shook The World: Letter: A lesson for the US in The Independent dated 15 September 2001, online
  3. SIR HAROLD WINTER ATCHERLEY at (accessed 8 June 2008)
  4. Euro paean in The Independent dated 9 November 1998
  5. Can the American vision of democracy help to find a lasting peace in the Middle East? from
  6. Reports of my death... in The Independent dated 6 September 2001
  7. Court and Social page in The Times online for 30 August 2006

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