David Hunt (diplomat)

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Sir David Hunt KCMG OBE (25 September 1913 – 30 July 1998) was a British diplomat, best remembered as winner of the BBC's Mastermind television quiz in 1977.

Hunt was born in Durham, and studied at Wadham College, Oxford. He served with distinction in World War II, and entered the diplomatic service in 1947. He served as Private Secretary to prime ministers Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill, and was knighted in 1963. From 1965 to 1967 he was the British High Commissioner to Cyprus.

From 1967 to 1969, he served as High Commissioner to Nigeria. Frederick Forsyth, then a journalist in Nigeria and later a successful novelist, described Hunt as "a snob and a racist" representing the diplomatic corps whose "blithering incompetence" failed to appreciate or deal with the tensions that erupted into the Nigerian Civil War.[1] Subsequently, Hunt was British Ambassador to Brazil, retiring in 1973.

Hunt won the Mastermind title in 1977 and was runner-up in the Mastermind International of 1979.

In 1982, a Champion of Champions tournament among the first ten Mastermind champions was televised. Sir David Hunt won the overall title.


Hunt had a number of books published:

  • A Don at War. London: F. Cass. 1990 [1966]. ISBN 978-0-7146-3383-1.
  • On the spot: an ambassador remembers. London: P. Davies. 1975. ISBN 978-0-432-06962-2.
  • Memoirs military and diplomatic (Revised ed.). London: Trigraph. 2006 [1998]. ISBN 978-0-947961-10-7. A revised edition of the two books A Don at war and On the spot: an ambassador remembers.
  • Footprints in Cyprus : an illustrated history. London: Trigraph. 1990 [1982]. ISBN 978-0-9508026-7-1.. Co-authored with J.N. Coldstream


  1. ^ Forsyth, Frederick (2015). The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue. NY, Putnams
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Anthony Montague Browne