Obituary: Peregrine Fellowes

PEREGRINE FELLOWES'S first job, after graduating from University College London as a civil engineer, was supervising bridge construction in the Sudan. Thus began a long relationship with Africa.

In the Second World War, from 1939 to 1942, he was involved in the Ethiopian campaign, including a secret mission to re-instate the Emperor Haile Selassie. He was responsible for the mobile Propaganda Unit, a printing press carried by two camels. Persuasive leaflets to Italians were pushed over barbed wire with bayonets. In 1943, he had his first bout of TB and spent a year in a clinic in Africa. His intrepid wife, Olwen, who had spent some of the war in South America, arrived to rescue him.

After the war, Fellowes was recruited as a diplomat and became a friend and colleague of Kim Philby. He served in the Foreign Office News Department under the legendary Sir William Ridsdale. He gained a reputation for being extremely well-informed and unusually outspoken for a diplomat. In 1948 he was posted to Cairo with Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. Having worked unwittingly with all three spies, and finding Burgess hilariously funny, he was then horrified by their treachery. He always assumed that he must have been investigated as a possible "fourth man".

Another bout of TB finished his career in the Foreign Office and in the mid-1950s he joined Shell. In 1960 he returned to Africa as head of Shell in Nigeria. In that era of Nigerian independence, he and his wife made many friends and were dismayed by the subsequent civil war. In the 1960s, African friends would visit their house in East Sussex, and be baffled by such appurtenances as the Gun Room.

Back in London, Fellowes was appointed Controller of Government and Trade Relations for Shell International. The knowledge he acquired on his travels for Shell in the Middle East he used later in his work for peace. He held two passports, Arab and Israeli.

He was one of the first to grasp the necessity of a global energy policy, as he demonstrated in his pamphlet "The Energy Equation", written for the Conservative Political Centre during the energy crisis of 1973 after the oil-producing Arab countries had upped their oil prices.

His father had been killed in the First World War when Peregrine was three. The subsequent eight years with his widowed mother gave him a lasting respect for women. In 1923 his mother remarried, to Arthur Byrne, brother of a later Abbot of Ampleforth.

The young Peregrine converted to Catholicism and was educated at Ampleforth. When he married Olwen Stuart-Jones in 1935, she took Catholic instruction. An independent-minded woman, Olwen had difficulty with the idea of Hell. A compromise was reached. If she could agree to Hell, said the Catholic bishop, she did not need to believe that there was anyone in it.

After leaving Shell Fellowes worked for the Ford Foundation, Chatham House, the Council of Churches and the Centre for Policy Studies. He also produced The New Middle East, a magazine designed to promote understanding between Arabs and Israelis. When Olwen died in 1980 of cancer, he was unable to look after himself. Luckily in 1982 he married Lady Maureen Dormer. Although domestically unskilled, she shared his love of music and social life - "they would cross England for a sandwich" said his stepdaughter.

Two nights before he died, Peregrine Fellowes went to Evening Mass in Chipping Campden, his marital home. He appeared to sleep throughout but afterwards buttonholed the priest, to protest at the sloppy translation of the Gospel. He will be much missed bowling through the town in his electric chair.

Peregrine Edward Launcelot Fellowes, diplomat and businessman: born Calgary, Canada 8 July 1912; married 1935 Olwen Stuart-Jones (died 1980; four sons), 1982 Lady Maureen Dormer (nee Noel; two stepdaughters); died Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire 15 February 1999.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering