Antony Duff

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The Right Honourable
Sir Antony Duff
Allegiance United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Service MI5
Active 1985–1988
Rank Director-General of MI5
Award(s) Privy Councillor
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Cross
Mentioned in Despatches

Born (1920-02-25)25 February 1920
Died 13 August 2000(2000-08-13) (aged 80)
Nationality British
Spouse Pauline Sword
Occupation Intelligence officer, Civil servant

Sir Arthur Antony Duff, GCMG, CVO, DSO, DSC (25 February 1920 – 13 August 2000) was Director General (DG) of MI5, the United Kingdom's internal security service, from 1985 to 1988.


Educated at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Duff started his career in the Royal Navy where he was a submarine commander during World War II: he briefly commanded HMS Otway and HMS L23 in 1942 before commanding HMS Stubborn from December 1942 to July 1944.[1]

After the war Duff joined the Diplomatic Service in 1946 and served in several postings including British Ambassador to Nepal 1964–65 and High Commissioner to Kenya 1972–75. Having led the British official delegation to the Lancaster House talks, he became Deputy Governor of Southern Rhodesia (under Lord Soames as Governor) in 1979–80, after which appointment he was sworn of the Privy Council, the first diplomat to be so honoured since Sir Alexander Cadogan in 1940.

Duff was Deputy Secretary at the Cabinet Office with responsibility for security matters in 1980–84, and then Director General of the Security Service (MI5) from 1985 to 1988.

After his retirement Duff worked as a volunteer in a centre for the homeless and was a board member of Homeless Network in London.[2]


  1. ^ Lt. Arthur Anthony Duff DSO, DSC,
  2. ^ Obituary: Sir Antony Duff, The Guardian, 18 August 2000
  • Andrew, Christopher (2010). Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-102330-4. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Guy Clarke
Ambassador to Nepal
Succeeded by
Arthur Kellas
Preceded by
Sir Eric Norris
High Commissioner to Kenya
Succeeded by
Sir Stanley Fingland
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Jones
Director General of MI5
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Walker