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The Papers of John Antony Crawford Hugill

Reference Code: GBR/0014/HUGL

Scope and Contents

The collection includes Hugill's contemporary diaries of the Normandy landings and the liberation of France, photographs and a file relating to Operation Alacrity, an expedition to take over fuelling and other facilities in the Azores. It also includes his notebooks containing his manuscript draft for "The Hazard Mesh", his autobiographical account of his wartime exploits. Files 10 - 15 were deposited by Fanny Hugill and contain her papers regarding Admiral Bertram Ramsay.


  • Creation: 1943 - 2017

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

John Antony Crawford Hugill was born 15 January 1916, the son of Engineer Rear-Admiral R C Hugill. He was educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh (1923-7), Eastman's School, Southsea (1927-9), Oundle School, Northamptonshire (1929-34) then at Magdalen College Oxford where he obtained a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry. He married Fanny Gore Browne, with whom he had four children. He died in 1987.

During the Second World War, Hugill conducted what he described as "secret Government work on protection against War Gases" (1939-40) before joining the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1941 and serving with the Miscellaneous Weapons Division (Admiralty). From 1942-3, Hugill was Assistant Naval Attaché in Lisbon, Portugal. From 1943-5 he served with 30 Assault Unit which was led by Ian Fleming and described as Fleming's "Private Army". The Unit was a group of specially trained commandos who were sent on specific intelligence missions often targeting German specialist equipment. As part of 30 Assault Unit, Hugill landed in Normandy, France, during the D-Day landings. During the campaign, Hugill was awarded the Croix de Guerre, was mentioned in despatches, and won the Distinguished Service Cross for taking the surrender of 280 troops under a Luftwaffe officer at a radio station near Brest. From 1945-6, Hugill was in charge of the Forward Interrogation Unit in Hamburg, Germany.

After the Second World War, Hugill began a commercial career joining the sugar manufacturing company Tate and Lyle in 1946. He was a key figure in the creation of "Mr Cube", the cartoon face of a successful campaign to prevent the Labour government's attempt to nationalise the sugar industry. From 1954-66, Hugill was responsible for Tate and Lyle's West Indian subsidiaries rising to the position of Main Board Director with special responsibilities for European investment and research and development (1961-74). Hugill was Founder and Director General of the World Sugar Research Organisation (1978-84) before retiring in 1984. His publications include: "The Hazard Mesh" (1947), an account of his war service; "No Peace without Spain"; "Sugar and All That", an official history of Tate and Lyle; and "Quadruped Island" (1951) written under the pseudonym Antony Crawford.


1 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Antony Hugill in May 1976. Hugill kept few of his own papers. A small additional deposit was made by Fanny Hugill in June 2007. In April 2019, further Fanny Hugill papers were included within the collection.

Related Materials

See also the Ramsay Papers, GBR 0014/RMSY.

Related Materials

Hugill returned his notebooks and papers, mainly operation reports, to Tate and Lyle. Enquiries about the Tate and Lyle archive should be directed to the Business Archives Council via the National Register of Archives (Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1HP).


This catalogue was prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in May 2003. Biographical information was obtained from Hugill's curriculum vitae and from obituaries in The Times (17 February 1987) and The Daily Telegraph (3 February 1987). It was updated to include a small new accession in June 2007 by Allen Packwood. Files 10 - 15 were prepared by Thomas Wales April 2019. and contain Fanny Hugill's papers.

Date information

DateText: Most of the collection dates to 1943-1945.


Hugill, John Antony Crawford, 1916-1987, member of 30 Assault Unit

2003-05-08 08:56:18+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087