OBITUARY: Richard Frost

Of the many contexts in which Richard Frost will be remembered, the most important may be his leadership from 1947 of the British Council in East Africa, particularly his endeavours in "race relations", a difficult field in which he demonstrated great resourcefulness, imagination and moral courage.

Frost's Second World War service as an intelligence officer with the Royal Air Force, his pre-war experience in historical research on the Times, and his time in the Commonwealth section of the Royal Institute of International Affairs equipped him to deal effectively with the challenges of post-war Kenya and the adjoining British territories. Arthur Creech Jones, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and Sir Philip Mitchell, a pre-eminent colonial governor of the period, were rightly agreed that questions of human relations between the white "settler" populations, the Asians from the Indian subcontinent and the majority African peoples were of supreme significance for the future of British East Africa.

The different origins and roles of the several "races" or communities in the political, economic and social life of the region made urgent the development of closer understanding between them after their direct involvement in the war, and at a time when the colonial world was expectant of early change. The expectations of each group varied but coherence and stability, and a common loyalty, were required for peaceful constitutional advance.

It is a measure of Frost's personal success that after seven years serving the whole of East Africa and his return to Britain, first to Cambridge, and then Oxford, he was invited back to Kenya in 1963-65 to be once more their own British Council Representative.

The nature and range of Frost's initiatives are portrayed in his book Race Against Time: human relations and politics in Kenya before independence (1978). It was characteristic of him that he submitted himself to the discipline of postgraduate study for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the preparation of this valuable publication.

In a subsequent book, Enigmatic Proconsul: Sir Philip Mitchell and the twilight of empire (1992), based substantially on private papers, Frost sought to make known the achievements of Mitchell, whom he believed to have suffered unjust criticism over the advent of Mau Mau in Kenya. Certainly Mitchell's career was wide- ranging, not least during the war, when he established close rapport with American leaders - a fact commended by Frost, who himself, between the wars, had been a visiting Fellow at Harvard in 1928-29, an experience which facilitated his co-operation with US Air Force colleagues in 1939- 45. Frost, a fair-minded man, who knew at first hand the problems of real- life decision making, was a worthy champion of Mitchell.

Frost was born in 1905 and educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He was proud of the scholarly traditions of Westminster, and pleased to gain the Stanhope Prize at Oxford in 1927. His affection for Christ Church, cathedral as well as college, also persisted throughout his life. Besides writing an informative leaflet on Oxford he served in retirement as a voluntary guide to share the treasures of Christ Church with visitors. He was also a volunteer worker at Oxfam headquarters.

Dick Frost's regard for the individual was possibly his most important and endearing personal quality. It marked his work as an international commissioner of the Boy Scout movement with Baden-Powell, it is striking in his excellent red chalk drawings of some of his Royal Air Force comrades, now in the RAF Museum at Hendon, and it was a priceless attribute to the British Council. Africans of all political persuasions and interests responded to his direct, easy courtesy, and were grateful for his encouragement and help, as were Russian visitors who came to Oxford during the Cold War years. At his home, first in Appleton, then in north Oxford, he and his wife Tam, his partner in all endeavours, offered generous private as well as official hospitality.

Kenneth Kirkwood

Richard Aylmer Frost, public servant: born London 29 May 1905; married 1938 Alice ("Tam") Reichwald (two sons, two daughters); died Lugwardine, Herefordshire 5 March 1995.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game