Airey Neave

Airey Neave

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Airey Neave was born in 1916. Educated at Eton and Merton College, Oxford, he achieved a law degree and embarked in a career at the Bar.

Neave joined the British Army on the outbreak of the Second World War. Sent to France he was wounded at Calais in 1940 and taken prisoner by the German Army. After escaping from his first POW camp he was sent to the maximum security prison at Colditz Castle.

In January 1942 Neave became the first British officer to escape from Colditz. On his return to England he helped to train air crews in the means of escape in occupied territory. He was also recruited into M19, a branch of M16 responsible for the support of the French Resistance. As a result of his war service Neave was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

In 1946 Neave was a member of the Nuremberg war crimes team. He joined the Conservative Party and in the 1951 General Election was elected to the House of Commons. Neave held several junior government posts before suffering a heart attack in 1959.

Neave wrote several books about his war experiences including They Have Their Exits (1953), Saturday at M19 (1969) and The Flames of Calais (1976) and Nuremburg (1978). Neave remained a backbencher in Parliament until helping Margaret Thatcher to depose Edward Heath as party leader in 1975. Neave was rewarded by being appointed as head of Thatcher's private office.

When the Conservative Party came to power in 1979 Neave was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Airey Neave was killed by an INLA car bomb outside the House of Commons on 30th March 1979.

After the war, his interest increasingly focused on politics. Thus developed the Airey Neave who became my political neighbour in Oxfordshire, the soft-voiced MP for Abingdon, helpful and pleasant in manner, but always keeping his inner thoughts in reserve. By the time I knew him he had lived through a modest but competent ministerial career, cut short by a heart attack in 1959. A strange story surrounds this setback. It was said that when Airey Neave told the chief whip that his doctor had said he must resign, Ted Heath said curtly, "Well, that's the end of your career". This curt rebuff is said to explain Neave's deep hostility to Heath in later years.

The story does neither man credit. After examining the evidence, Routledge rightly rejects it. But for whatever reason, when it came to the point in 1975, Neave was convinced that Ted Heath must go. Margaret Thatcher shrewdly made him her campaign manager. Most managers cry up the chances of their candidate in order to create a bandwagon of support. Airey Neave, reading the mood of the parliamentary party, persuaded a good many MPs to vote for Thatcher not in order to elect her but to give Heath a sharp warning that he must change his ways.

Airey Neave told me that he believed the time had come for me to resign. He informed me that he was in a position to guarantee that I would be given a top job in the Shadow Cabinet or in any Conservative government which should follow it. I thanked him, but replied that I was not proposing to resign and, in any case, would not be prepared to accept covert deals of this kind from him or anybody else. Neave was a shrewd tactician. I am convinced that I would have won the first ballot if he had not taken charge of the Thatcher campaign. On polling day and, indeed, during the whole campaign, he told colleagues that he was not expecting Mrs Thatcher to win in the first round, but hoped specific individuals would vote for her in order to prevent my majority from becoming too great. I was told afterwards of the Conservative Members who fell for this cunning manoeuvre.

At Oxford, Neave was more occupied by traditional student activities such as partying than by politics or studies, but with a frantic last-minute struggle, he achieved a law degree and then embarked on a career at the Bar. He had joined the Territorial Army at Oxford, convinced that he at least should fight for King and Country, and he enlisted with a searchlight regiment just days before Chamberlain's ultimatum to Hitler precipitated the declaration of war. Posted to France, he was soon parted from his searchlights and took command of an ill-assorted and randomly equipped troop of soldiers in the battle of Calais, with the aim of delaying the German assault on the beaches at Dunkirk. It all but cost him his life and, seriously wounded, he was captured.

From the first, his thoughts were of escape, and his failed attempts led to incarceration in the "escape-proof" prison at Colditz. There is no black-and-white account of fearless British officers and dunderheaded black-hearted German jailers, and the Germans mostly emerge as decent men, frequently resisting extreme provocation by their British and Allied prisoners, although some recaptured escapees were unforgivably executed.

Colditz, the prison for bad boys, became an academy and virtual hothouse for recidivist escapees. Accompanied by a Dutch prisoner, Neave made a "home run" on his second attempt to break out. Escaping from Germany into the safety of Switzerland, he made the dangerous run across France, over the Pyrenees into Spain, and the far from entirely safe journey from Gibraltar back home. He was soon recruited into MI9, a branch of MI6 responsible for the support of the mainly French and Dutch Resistance fighters operating the escape lines for POWs and aircrew evading capture after being shot down. As the war ended, Neave joined the Nuremberg war crimes team and served the indictments on the Nazi leaders.

The Beatles, Bank Heists and Baker Street – A Short history of Marylebone

Marylebone is one of those London places, and to be fair there are more than a few, that has a name seemingly designed to trick unsuspecting tourists into mispronouncing it.

Marylebone is one of those London places, and to be fair there are more than a few, that has a name seemingly designed to trick unsuspecting tourists into mispronouncing it. Even Londoners struggle to agree on the correct way to say it – usually ranging from Marleyb’n to Marryleb’n. Some of an older vintage still say it as Marrowbone which is exactly how Pepys spelled it, and presumably pronounced it, when he described it as ‘a pretty place’ in his diary. Marylebone at the time was a small semi-rural village of about seventy houses the main road of which was roughly where Marylebone High Street is now.

Pepys first visited in 1667 and exactly three hundred years later another diarist, Kenneth Williams, at the time increasingly prone to misanthropy, wrote: ‘There really is no point in my existence at all…the nits crowding round outside the waxworks. How I loathe them and Madame Tussaud’.

Kenneth Williams in his Marylebone flat

Kenneth Williams’ flat was on the ninth and top floor of Farley Court that overlooked the famous waxwork museum that had made its home in Marylebone in 1835. Initially the actual Madame Tussaud lived and exhibited her wax models in Baker Street but due to her museum’s popularity it moved to its present location on the Marylebone Road in 1884. It’s been attracting an extraordinary amount of tourists ever since.

On Valentine’s day in February 1933, Madame Tussaud’s [] began to advertise, rather proudly, their latest model – a wax effigy of ‘Herr

giving a Nazi salute. After all, he had recently just been made the Chancellor of Germany. Three months later, in May 1933, three men sneaked over a rope and poured red paint over the wax Nazi leader and then placed a prescient placard round the neck which read, ‘HITLER THE MASS MURDERER.’ The vandals soon gave themselves up and the next day appeared at Marylebone Police Court. When asked by the magistrate if they had anything to say they started yelling: ‘Down with Hitler! Down with Fascism!’ at which point supporters in the gallery joined in. After a big struggle with the police everyone was removed from the court. Hitler’s effigy was replaced three years later and was only permanently removed from the museum in 2016.

13th May 1933: The wax model of Hitler exhibited in Madame Tussaud’s in London being taken to Marylebone Police court as evidence used towards the conviction of three men and a girl after they attacked it as a protest. (Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Airey Neave in fake German uniform, taken after he was initially captured at Colditz

In 1942, a man who had much to complain about Hitler, walked into what was once the Grand Central Hotel (it’s now the Landmark London Hotel []), just west of Madame Tussauds at 222 Marylebone Road. After being requisitioned by the War Office the hotel was being used to debrief Allied military personnel returning from occupied Europe. Airey Neave (the future Tory MP and who was assassinated by the IRA in March 1979) had done just that by being the first British man to escape Colditz Castle. Returning to London via Scotland and dressed in an off-the-peg battledress with no insignia, Military Police were convinced he was a spy and continually asked him for his papers.

Neave had actually known the hotel before the war and had been attracted to “the brass bedsteads, the marble figures on the stairs and the massive afternoon tea.” At the reception where a “magnificent blonde” had once sat there was now a soldier. Neave later wrote of the encounter:

‘What is this place, Sergeant?’

‘The London Transit Camp, Sir.’ He studied me politely.

‘Quite so sir. Then it will be MI9 you want. They are on the second floor.’

At the time two actual spies, Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess, both already working for the Soviet Union, were sharing a Marylebone flat owned by Victor Rothschild and round the corner from the Grand Central Hotel at 5 Bentinck Street. This arrangement upset their Soviet control officers for permanently breaking the rule that agents should not be seen together.

Meanwhile Airey Neave, after his debriefing, went on to work at MI9, a unit dedicated to supporting resistance movements and helping prisoners escape. He became the immediate superior to Michael Bentine. The Peruvian-born comedian had recently left RAF training after he was accidentally injected with a pure culture of typhoid instead of the intended typhoid vaccine. Bentine fell into an immediate six week coma and woke with ruined eyesight.

Some twenty years later in December 1963 Paul McCartney moved into 57 Wimpole Street – his girlfriend Jane Asher’s large family home. It was in the basement of this large Marylebone house that he and John Lennon wrote the Beatles first US number one I Want to Hold Your Hand and where he woke up with the tune of Yesterday in his head. Not half a mile away stands Marylebone Station which featured as a location in the Beatles’ movie Hard Day’s Night.

Ringo Starr (left) and John Lennon nip smartly into London’s Marylebone Station, just in front of a horde of fans closing in on them rapidly.

Ringo Starr just makes the doorway in front of racing fans.

Exactly a year before McCartney moved to Wimpole Street, on 14 December 1962 and a few weeks after the release of The Beatles first single Love Me Do, a man called Johnny Edgecombe took a taxi from Notting Hill to nearby 17 Wimpole Mews where his ex-girlfriend Christine Keeler was living. After she refused to come out to see him Edgecombe took out a gun and fired several shots at the door and window.

Stephen Ward at his home in Wimpole Mews in 1963.

The Wimpole Mews house was actually the home of the society osteopath Stephen Ward whose practice was located nearby just off Harley Street. At the time two unknown actors called Terence Stamp and Michael Caine were sharing a flat at number 64 Harley Street in a house where the painter JMW Turner once lived. “Let’s share,” said an unemployed Caine, “one of us is pretty sure to be working. The one who is earning can pay the rent.” Stamp immediately agreed and then landed the lead role in the movie Billy Budd and ended up paying the rent for months. “Both of us were dab hands in the kitchen,” Caine once wrote, “Terry’s speciality was a pudding made of glucose powder, eggs and sterilised milk. ‘It’s very cheap and you can last a whole day on it, with a mug of tea to wash it down.”

Meanwhile Edgecombe’s arrest outside Stephen Ward’s mews house began the slow unfurling of the Profumo Affair which rather belatedly brought the name Rachman to the British public’s notice. Rachman had actually died the year before but his name, still synonymous with exploitative and unscrupulous private landlords, was mentioned in court as someone who had kept both Keeler and Rice-Davies as mistresses. The affair with Keeler was short-lived (“sex to Rachman was like cleaning his teeth and I was his toothbrush”) and they ended up hating each other but a sixteen year old Mandy was moved into his Marylebone flat at 1 Bryanston Mews in 1961 and lived there for over a year. She later described the flat:

Rachman and wife in 1961, around the time he was having an affair with a 16 year old Mandy Rice Davies

“It was the perfect bachelor-girl apartment, close carpeted soft green with a well-fitted kitchen and luxurious bathroom…there was a huge mirror in the sitting-room which gave a view of the bedroom next door. A two-way mirror, Peter explained, installed by a former tenant, Dennis Hamilton, just like the one he and his ex-wife Diana Dors had had their home in Maidenhead.”

Rachman died in November 1962 and Rice-Davies had already moved out of his Bryanston Mews flat when she heard the news. Immediately fainting, her first words when she came round were ‘Did he leave a will?”

221B Baker Street is still known throughout the world as the fictional Marylebone address of Sherlock Holmes and although numerically it’s not quite in the right place the address has now been taken over by the Sherlock Holmes Museum []. The Holmes short story ’The Red-Headed League’ published in 1891 featured a daring bank raid that involved a tunnel from a nearby shop. The robbery was foiled when the dusty robbers emerged into the vault straight into the arms of Sherlock Holmes and the police. Incredibly exactly eighty years after he wrote it Conan Doyle’s fictional robbery inspired something very similar actually in Baker Street.

Baker Street Bank Heist 1971

Over a September weekend in 1971, a gang of thieves tunnelled underneath a Chicken Inn restaurant into the vault of Lloyds Bank at 185 Baker Street. A few hundred metres away in a flat on Wimpole Street a radio ‘ham’ called Robert Rowlands started picking up their walkie-talkie conversations. He called the police who initially dismissed his concerns but eventually started checking all the banks in the near vicinity. At one point they actually visited the Lloyd’s bank being raided but seeing that the bank vault’s door was locked closed they didn’t bother to investigate further. The gang went on to ransack the safety deposit boxes one of which contained, it was rumoured, compromising photographs of Princess Margaret. In the end the thieves made off with a haul in excess of £3million which in 1971 made it the largest ever bank robbery in Britain. Before they left the vault one man stopped to scrawl the words: “Let Sherlock Holmes try to solve this!”. Even if the great detective did exist he wasn’t needed and the four men responsible for the bank heist were gaoled in 1973.

Inside the Apple Boutique in 1968 Baker Street.

Ringo Starr just makes the doorway in front of racing fans.

Another famous address in Baker Street, albeit for a short while, was at number 94. The Apple Boutique opened on 7 December 1967 and was notable for being covered by a striking psychedelic mural by the Dutch design group The Fool. The Beatles asked a man called Alexis Mardis, known to their entourage as ‘Magic Alex’, to design the lighting for the shop. Magic Alex, who lived round the corner with Marianne Faithful’s husband John Dunbar at 11 Bentinck Street (five doors up from Blunt and Burgess’s old flat) promised an artificial ‘sun’ that would use laser beams to light up the sky. Unfortunately, and to little surprise of many, the artificial Sun did not materialise. It wasn’t until a year later that the Beatles realised that practically anything Magic Alex promised to invent failed to get past the drawing board or indeed even get on to a drawing board. After promising but failing to design and produce a 72 track tape recorder for their next album Alex was largely dismissed from the Beatles’ circle and disappeared into relative obscurity.

Three months after the Fool mural was removed at the insistence of Westminster Council the Apple Boutique closed for good at the end of July 1968. Shoplifting had become rife partly because in the era of ‘love and peace’ accusing anybody of stealing was difficult and rather uncool.

Kenneth Williams wasn’t always so down about Marylebone and was in a much happier mood when he wrote in 1963: “The trees are turning now and the sight is beautiful. I can see all the traffic twinkling down the Marylebone Rd … It’s all so marvellous, I could cry.” Which ever way you pronounce it, nowadays Marylebone is one of the most fashionable parts of London. It may be only a few minutes walk away from a crowded and noisy Oxford Street but the quiet and dignified Marylebone with its leafy streets lined with Georgian houses and sophisticated independent shops and restaurants seems almost a million miles away.

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March 30: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks)

1880: Birth of Irish playwright Seán O’Casey, born John Casey or John Cassidy. A 1965 film titled Young Cassidy, starring Rod Taylor is a bBiographical drama based on the early years of his life depicting his early life of Dublin poverty to the celebrated openings of his early plays.

O’Casey was a committed socialist who was involved in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union which had been founded by famed Irish labor leader “Big Jim” Larkin.

O’Casey’s plays dealt primarily with the challenges of republican and poverty stricken Ireland. His works, which stand the test of time well include, The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars.

Above: Barry Fitzgerald and Sean O’Casey c 1959. They were room mates in 1920 Dublin. Below Fitzgerald in John Ford’s 1936 film of O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars.

1979: Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary Airey Neave is killed by a car bomb as he leaves the House of Commons car park. The well planned operation was carried out by the INLA, (Irish National Liberation Army) who attached a bomb by magnet to the car and started the timer by a wrist watch. A tilt switch activated the bomb when the car started.

Neave had an adventurous life including being the first British officer to escape from Colditz prison. He was an ardent supporter of Margaret Thatcher. Some observers speculate that the Iron Lady’s hard line views and policy re Northern Ireland were shaped by the assassination of her close adviser.

Airey Neave car following car bomb

2006: Death of Irish author John McGahern (b. . Although maybe not as well known as other Irish authors, the Guardian newspaper suggested in his obituary that McGahern was arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett. McGahern received an accolade that publicists of authors can only dream about! His most famous novel The Dark (1965) was banned for a period of time by Irish censorship authorities. It also cost McGahern his job as a school teacher employed by the Irish state.

McGaherns other novels include: The Barracks (1963), The Leavetaking (1974), The Pornographer (1979), Amongst Women (1990)

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

For the Love of Being Irish written by Chicago based Corkman Conor Cunneen and illustrated by Mark Anderson which is an A-Z of all things Irish. This is a book that contains History, Horror, Humor, Passion, Pathos and Lyrical Limericks that will have you giving thanks (or wishing you were) For the Love of Being Irish

Watch For the Love of Being Irish author Conor Cunneen – IrishmanSpeaks on his Youtube channel IrishmanSpeaks. Laugh and Learn.

This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaksto Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History

Wartime service [ edit | edit source ]

Neave joined the Territorial Army and became an officer of the Royal Artillery in the regular British Army at the beginning of World War II. He was sent to France in February 1940 as part of a searchlight regiment. He was wounded and captured by the Germans at Calais on 23 May 1940. He was imprisoned at Oflag IX-A/H near Spangenberg and in February 1941 moved to Stalag XX-A near Thorn in German-occupied western Poland. In April 1941 he escaped from Thorn with Norman Forbes. They were captured near Itow while trying to enter Soviet-controlled Poland and were briefly in the hands of the Gestapo. ΐ] In May, they were both sent to Oflag IV-C (often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location). Α]

Neave made his first attempt to escape from Colditz on 28 August 1941 disguised as a German N.C.O. He did not get out of the castle as his hastily contrived German uniform (made from a Polish army tunic and cap painted with scenery paint) was rendered bright green under the prison searchlights. Β] Together with Dutch officer Anthony Luteyn he had a second attempt on 5 January 1942, again in disguise. Better uniforms and escape route (they made a quick exit from a theatrical production using the trap door beneath the stage) got them out of the prison and by train and on foot they travelled to Leipzig and Ulm and finally reached the border to Switzerland near Singen. Via France, Spain and Gibraltar Neave returned to England in April 1942. Neave was the first British officer escaping from Colditz Castle. Γ]

He was later recruited as an intelligence agent for MI9. While at MI9, he was the immediate superior of Michael Bentine. He also served with the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, investigating Krupp. As a well-known war hero – as well as a qualified lawyer who spoke fluent German – he was honoured with the role of reading the indictments to the Nazi leaders on trial. He wrote several books about his war experiences including an account of the Nuremberg Trial. Δ]

Airey Neave

Between his boyhood days in Beaconsfield at Bishops House, which has been retained as the name for flats on what was probably its site in Reynolds Road, and his assassination by the Irish National Liberation Army, Airey Neave led a remarkable life as a soldier, intelligence agent, barrister, Member of Parliament and Shadow Secretary of State.

War service and escape from Colditz

As a schoolboy he visited Germany in the 1930s. What he saw convinced him that Hitler’s rise would lead to war and he joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a territorial unit. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War he was sent to France where he was wounded and captured. He escaped but was recaptured and sent to Colditz Castle, the maximum security German prisoner of war camp for escape-prone Allied officers.

Neave’s first attempt to escape from Colditz disguised as a German NCO failed. His second dressed in a better German Army uniform was made through the trap door under the stage during a theatrical production by his fellow prisoners. It was successful and he became the first British officer to make the ‘home run’ from Colditz back to England where he was recruited by M19 which assisted escapes by British prisoners of war. One of his colleagues was Michael Bentine, who later became a founder of the Goons.

Post War Career

Neave ended the war decorated with the Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order. As a barrister who spoke fluent German he served with the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders. In 1953 he was elected Member of Parliament for Abingdon. When Margaret Thatcher made her successful attempt to become leader of the Conservative Party he served as her campaign manager. She appointed him Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

His Death

In 1979 he was assassinated by a bomb placed under his car which exploded as he left Parliament. Although the Irish National Liberation Army, an Irish republican paramilitary group, claimed responsibility various conspiracy theories were put forward by public figures including Enoch Powell. These included assassination by MI5 because Neave was seeking to prosecute members of the intelligence services for corruption. Another was that the American CIA was attempting to influence British policy in respect of Northern Ireland. In turn, Tony Benn had been told Neave planned to have him killed if he succeeded James Callaghan as leader of the Labour Party – a story Benn soundly discounted.


Airey Neave was born on 23 January 1916 in Knightsbridge, London, England. Neave went to Oxford University before joining the British Army, and he served in the Royal Engineers during World War II on 23 May 1940 he was captured at Calais by the Wehrmacht and was imprisoned at the Stalag XX-A POW camp near Thorn, Nazi Germany, but in April 1941 Neave and Norman Forbes both escaped, but the two of them were recaptured by the Gestapo and sent to Colditz Castle. On 5 January 1942, he escaped from Colditz by using a ramp under a stage during a theatrical production, the first British soldier to escape from Colditz Castle. Neave was promoted to Captain on 11 April 1945, and he contributed to the Nuremberg Trials. He was elected as a member of parliament for Abingdon-on-Thames by the UK Conservative Party, and he was a friend of Margaret Thatcher while in politics.


On 4 March 1974, Neave became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and he supported the replacement of British Army troops in Ulster with local constabulary forces. On 30 March 1979, he was killed by a magnetic car bomb under his Mark I Cavalier coupe after driving out of the Westminster Palace car park, with the Irish National Liberation Army claiming responsibility for his assassination. His murder led to the INLA being banned across the UK, and Thatcher tearfully stated that he was an "incalculable loss". The INLA released a statement about how they "blew him to bits inside the 'impregnable' Palace of Westminster" and agreed that he was an "incalculable loss", but to the British ruling class.

German pilot Erich Hartmann scored numerous aerial victories and was considered to be one of the best flying aces of the war. He was just 18 when he started his military training in October 1940. He was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 52 in 1942 and fought on the Eastern front. When his unit was surrounded by American and Soviet forces at the end of the war, he commanded his unit to surrender.

They were sent to an open-air compound to await transfer to the Soviet Union. The conditions at the camp gradually deteriorated as the number of prisoners grew to surpass 50,000. It was so bad that American guards would turn a blind eye to prisoner escapes. In some cases, the Americans would even provide maps or supplies to escaping prisoners.

After the open air camp, he was transferred to a POW prison where the Soviets realized that Hartmann could be of use to them. His success as a pilot had made him something of a hero in Germany and the Soviets wanted him to as a spy and to spread propaganda in East Germany. Hartmann refused. As punishment, he was placed in 10 days confinement in a 4-by-9-by-6-foot chamber. The Soviets realized that there was little they could do to Hartmann to cause him to betray his men, so they threatened to kidnap and kill his wife. He still refused to convert to communism, and he went on a hunger strike. After four days, the Soviets began force-feeding him.

On December 24, 1949, he was officially arrested and three days later sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was charged with a number of false war crimes as the Soviets continued to try and break him. He refused to confess to any crimes, and his sentence was increased to 25 years hard labor. He refused to work and was placed in solitary confinement. The other prisoners revolted at Hartmann&rsquos treatment and he was transferred to another camp where he spent 5 years in solitary confinement. In 1955, after more than 10 years in Soviet prison camps, a trade agreement between West Germany and the Soviet Union was reached which secured the release of 16,000 German military personnel including Erich Hartmann. He died in 1993 at the age of 71.

Early life

Neave was the son of Sheffield Airey Neave CMG, OBE (1879–1961), a well-known entomologist , and his wife Dorothy (d. 1943), the daughter of Arthur Thomson Middleton. His father was the grandson of Sheffield Neave, the third son of Sir Thomas Neave, 2nd Baronet (see Neave Baronets ). Neave spent his early years in Knightsbridge in London, before he moved to Beaconsfield . Neave was sent to St. Ronan’s School , Worthing , and from there, in 1929, he went to Eton College .

He went on to study jurisprudence at Merton College, Oxford . While at Eton, Neave composed a prize-winning essay in 1933 that examined the likely consequences of Adolf Hitler ‘s rise to supreme power in Germany , and Neave predicted then that another widespread war would break out in Europe in the near future. Neave had earlier been on a visit to Germany, and he witnessed the Nazi German methods of grasping political and military power in their hands.

At Eton, Neave served in the school cadet corps as a cadet lance corporal , and received a territorial commission as a second lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 11 December 1935. ]

When Neave went to Oxford University , he purchased and read the entire written works of the writer Carl von Clausewitz . When Neave was asked why, he answered:

“since war [is] coming, it [is] only sensible to learn as much as possible about the art of waging it”.

During 1938, Neave completed his third-class degree in the study of jurisprudence . By his own admission, while at Oxford University, Neave did only the minimal amount of academic work that was required of him by his tutors.

Welcome to the Airey Neave Trust

Airey Neave, war hero and the first Englishman to escape from Colditz, barrister, poilitician and shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was assassinated by the the INLA in March 1979, in the car park of the House of Commons. He had led the campaign which brought Margaret Thatcher to the leadership of the Conservative party, and his death came a month before the General Election following which she became Prime Minister.

In the wake of the killing of Airey Neave by Irish terrorists in 1979, the Airey Neave Trust was established through public subscription, to further research and understanding in relation to Freedom under the Law, and especially about issues regarding the analysis of and the best response to terrorist violence.
Over the years since its foundation, the Trust has enabled people to produce work of a high calibre and of enduring significance in this field – examples include books by Dr John Horgan - Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements, James Harkin - Hunting Season and James Fergusson - The World’s Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia and Al-Britannia, My Country. The Trust has also funded events which have furthered discussion and debate and appropriate response - including a consultation at St George’s House on Countering Violent Extremism Post Arab Spring and a National Security Fellowship Scheme on Countering IEDs and Detecting Home-made Explosives.


The Trust is delighted to announce that the winner of the Neave Book Prize 2020 is Audrey Kurth Cronin for her book - Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists

Please see our NEWS section for further information.

The new biography of Airey Neave - The Man who was Saturday - by Patrick Bishop was published on March 7th 2019. The Trust held a launch party in London on March 14th attended by many members of the Neave family, policitians and journalists. The Prime Minister was unable to attend but sent the following tribute:

I am delighted to send my best wishes to you as you celebrate the launch of this new biography of Airey Neave.
In the year in which we mark the 40th anniversary of Airey Neave's assassination, it is important not only to commemorate his tragic death but also to celebrate his remarkable life. From his extraordinary service during the Second World War to his work as a Member of Parliament, he was a dedicated public servant. Through his work with Margaret Thatcher he played a key role in the leadership of the Conservative Party at a crucial time in British politics, and in doing so helped to lay the foundations of the United Kingdom's revival under Mrs Thatcher's leadership.
The work of the Airey Neave Trust keeps his legacy alive and reminds up of the need to tackle terrorism and extremism in our own age. I hope that this biography by Patrick Bishop will bring Airey Neave's story to a new generation, and will remind us all of the patriotism and courage he demonstrated throughout his life.


The winner of the Neave Book Prize 2018 is The Secret World: A History of Intelligence, written by Professor Christopher Andrew,


On 30th March 1979 Neave was injured in Whitehall by a car bomb. "He was quickly taken to Westminster Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. But it was too late and he died on the operating table." ΐ] Β]


The Provisional Irish Republican Army reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing, ΐ] though it was later attributed to the INLA. Others have suggested that it was an attack by the UK deep state who were concerned about by his plans to restructure MI5 and MI6. He is reputed to have remarked that "There has been serious corruption" and that "there is going to be cleaning of the stables". [ citation needed ]

The commercially-controlled media condemned a drama Utopia which suggested that he was not killed by the INLA as the official narrative states. Γ]

Watch the video: Airey Neave