Bill Gilbert (intelligence service director)

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William Herbert Ellery "Bill" Gilbert KBE DSO (20 July 1916 – 26 September 1987), born Herbert Ellery Gilbert, was a New Zealand military leader and intelligence service director.

He was born in Wanganui on 20 July 1916.[1] In 1956, he was tasked by Jack Marshall, then Minister of Justice, with setting up the New Zealand Security Service. Over 19 years, he served under seven Prime Ministers.[1] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1976 Birthday Honours,[2] just one month prior to his retirement.[1]

He was born as Herbert Ellery Gilbert. At the Australian Royal Military College in Duntroon he was nicknamed Bill, and the name stuck. After his retirement, he changed his name by deed poll to William Herbert Ellery Gilbert.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d McLean, Denis. "William Herbert Ellery Gilbert". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46921. p. 8055. 4 June 1976. Retrieved 3 January 2015.