Frederick Allan Rowley

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Frederick Allan Rowley was an MI6 officer.[1][2] He was the Director and Co-ordinator of Intelligence (Northern Ireland) (DCI) in 1972-3.[3]

Early Life

Rowley was born on 27 July 1922 in Rajputana, India, the son of the regimental quartermaster sergeant of the Worcestershire Regiment. He was educated at Haig School, Aldershot.[2]

Second World War

Rowley was a Territorial Army soldier at the outbreak of war in 1939, before training in India where he was commissioned into into the 10th Baluch Regiment in 1941. He won the Military Cross in 19th Indian Division's advance on Shwebo in Burma in February 1945, before being badly wounded two months later.[2]

In Cairo in 1945, he met the MI6 secretary Anne Cresswell, who he would later marry.[2]


Rowley joined the Foreign Office in 1948.[1] Rowley became vice-consul in Addis Ababa in 1949.[1] He returned to the Foreign Office in 1950.[1]


In 1953, he became second secretary in Rangoon.[1] According to the Times, he was head of the MI6 station and was involved in contacts with the local Communist Party and hill tribes opposed to the central government.[2]


In 1955 he joined the Office of the Commissioner-General for South East Asia, Sir Robert Heatlie Scott in Singapore.[1][2] He returned to the Foreign Office in 1957.[1] He was appointed OBE in 1959 for his work in Singapore.[2]


In 1960, he was seconded to the Australian Department of Defence in Melbourne,, acting as an adviser to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.[2][1] According to Bloch and Fitzgerald he 'resigned' from the Foreign Office in 1965 and 'rejoined' in 1967, the inverted commas presumably suggesting that he was working for MI6 under non-official cover during this period.[1] According to his Times obituary, Rowley had an unsuccessful spell as a businessman in Melbourne during this period.[2]


In 1967, Rowley became counsellor (Foreign Affairs) in Kuala Lumpur.[1] He was became close to ministers and senior officers of the Malaysian police and special branch, and was awarded the equivalent of a knighthood for his advice in the wake of riots in 1969.[2]

He Returned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1971.[1]

Northern Ireland

Rowley was seconded to the Northern Ireland Office in 1972.[1]

According to Christopher Andrew's authorised history of MI5, no sufficiently senior MI5 officer was willing to accept the post of Director and Co-ordinator of Intelligence when the post was created by Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw in 1972:

The first DCI, appointed on 31 October, thus came from outside MI5. His Security Service successor remembers him as 'the right man really to establish the post': 'He was there for a year and he did it in tremendous style. He lived like a king, he entertained like a king, he used to drink with Willie [Whitelaw] all night.'[4]

Rowley would seem to have been the first DCI referred to here. Andrew's account of the DCI's relationship with Whitelaw closely matches the account in Rowley's Times obituary.[2] His MI5 successor was probably Denis Payne.

On 25 April 1973, Rowley and British Ambassador Sir Arthur Galsworthy had a secret meeting in Glencairn, Galsworthy's Dublin residence, with Patrick Donegan, the Irish Minister for Defence, and his Departmental Secretary.[3]

According to the Times Rowley was seconded to the Northern Ireland Office until 1974, but other sources suggest he may have been replaced by Payne by mid-to-late 1973.[2]

Senior MI6 Officer

Bloch and Fitzgerald list Rowley as "Counsellor FCO Divisional Head, MI6" from 1973, and "Deputy Chief, MI6" from 1976.[1] According to the Times, Rowley's final MI6 post was Controller Far East. He was appointed CMG in 1978.[2]

He retired in 1979.[1] He died on July 28, 2014, aged 92.[2]

External resources


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Jonathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald, British Intelligence and Covert Action, Brandon/Junction, 1983, p.259.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 'Allan Rowley', The Times, 13 October 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ronan Fanning, Co-operating on the Border against a common enemy,, 4 January 2004.
  4. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.621.