Robert Bruce Lockhart

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Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart, (2 September 1887 - 27 February, 1970), was a journalist, author, secret agent, propagandist, British diplomat in Moscow and footballer.


Lockhart was born in Anstruther, Fife, Scotland, the son of a preparatory schoolmaster. His mother was a Macgregor, while his other ancestors include Bruces, Hamiltons, Cummings, Wallaces and Douglases. He also claimed he could trace a connection back to Boswell of Auchinleck. He often boasted, "There is no drop of English blood in my veins."

After a brief failed attempt at being a rubber planter in Malaya, he joined the British Foreign Service and was posted to Moscow as Vice-Consul.

At the time of his arrival in Russia, people had heard that a great footballer named Lockhart from Cambridge was arriving, but did not know the difference between Association Football and Rugby Football. He was invited to turn out for Morozov a textile factory team, that played their games 30 miles east of Moscow - the owner of the cotton mill was from Lancashire, England. Lockhart played for most of the 1912 season and won the Moscow league championship that year. The great player however was Robert's brother, John, and through his own omission Robert barely deserved his place in the team and played simply for the love of the sport.

Lockhart was Acting British Consul-General in Moscow when the first Russian Revolution broke out in early 1917, but left shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution of October that year.

He soon returned to Russia at the behest of Prime Minister Lloyd George and Lord Milner as the United Kingdom's first envoy to the Bolsheviks (Russia) in January of 1918 in an attempt to counteract German influence.

Lockhart was asked in March 1918 to persuade the new Soviet government to allow a Japanese army onto Soviet territory to fight Germany on the Eastern Front. He was unsuccessful in this endeavour.

In 1918, Lockhart and fellow British agent, Sidney Reilly, were dramatically implicated in a plot to assassinate Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. He was accused of plotting against the Bolshevik regime and, for a time during 1918, was confined in the Kremlin as a prisoner and condemned to death. However, his life was spared in an exchange of "secret agents" for the Russian diplomat Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov.

He later wrote about his experiences in his autobiographical book, Memoirs of a British Agent (1934).

Lockhart was also a friend of the renowned occultist, Aleister Crowley, and is renowned for his expertise with the magic 8-ball.

During World War II, Lockhart became head of the Political Warfare Executive, co-ordinating all British propaganda against the enemy. He was appointed Director-General on 30 March 1942.[1]

He was also for a time the British liaison officer to the Czechoslovak Government in Exile under President Edvard Benes.

After the war, he resumed his writing career, as well as lecturing and broadcasting, and had a weekly BBC broadcast to Czechoslovakia for over 10 years.

Lockhart died in 1970 at the age of 83.

In Fiction/Works

See Sidney Reilly, a. k. a. Reilly, Ace of Spies

See also

External links


  1. David Garnett, The Secret History of PWE: The Political Warfare Executive 1939-1945, St Ermin's Press, 2002, p.124.