Esler Dening

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Sir Esler Dening
Esler Maberley Dening.jpg
British Ambassador to Japan
(Political Representative, 1951–1952)
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Preceded bySir Alvary Gascoigne
Succeeded bySir Daniel Lascelles
Personal details
Born(1897-04-21)21 April 1897
Died29 January 1977(1977-01-29) (aged 79)

Sir Esler Maberley Dening GCMG OBE (21 April 1897 – 29 January 1977) was a British diplomat. He was the first British Ambassador to Japan after the end of the Second World War.[1]


Dening was a career foreign service officer; and he was promoted regularly across the span of years.

During the First World War Dening served with the Australian Imperial Force (service record). While serving with 31 Battalion AIF he was wounded in the Attack at Fromelles on 19 July 1916 and evacuated to England with shell shock. He later rejoined the 2nd Division as intelligence officer and was awarded an MBE in 1919.[2]

Dening was consular officer in 1938, when he was awarded an OBE. [3] During the Second World War, he served on the staff of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. He had become the Chief Political Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia Command when he was made a member or Companion in the Order of St Michael and St George in 1945.[4] In an unusual move Dening became a whistle blower in a dispatch to the Foreign Office, London; stating that Mountbatten constantly ignored the advice of those he commanded and described him as a ‘obsequious sycophant desperate that British-Indian operations in southern French Indo-China would not tarnish his professional reputation or SEAC legacy’(Pg.56).[5]

In 1950, Dening was an Assistant Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign Office when the King promoted him to be a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.[6] He was the British Political Representative in Tokyo in 1950-1951 and when full diplomatic relations were re-established,[7] his role was an essential element of the transition.[8]

Sir Esler appointed to be Her Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Tokyo on 6 May 1952.[9] He was the Ambassador from 1952 through 1957.[7]

Ambassador Dening laying a wreath in the Yokohama War Cemetery on Remembrance Day — November 1955

In 1955, Sir Esler promoted to be a Member of the First Class, or Knight Grand Cross, of the Order of St Michael and St George.[10]

Later years[edit]

In 1977, the London Gazette published a notice of Sir Esler's death.[11]


Selected works[edit]

In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Maberley Esler Dening, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 7 works in 19 publications in 2 languages and 800+ library holdings .[12]

  • Japan (1960)
  • The Life of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1971)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ian Nish. (2004). British Envoys in Japan 1859-1972, pp. 173-178.
  2. ^ "VETERAN OF THE NAVY". West Australian. 5 January 1951. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "No. 34585". The London Gazette. 30 December 1938. p. 14.
  4. ^ a b "No. 37119". The London Gazette. 8 June 1945. p. 2938.
  5. ^ Vietnam and the Unravelling of Empire General Gracey in Asia 1942-1951 by Terence Smith
  6. ^ a b "No. 39092". The London Gazette. 15 December 1950. p. 6269.
  7. ^ a b Hoare, James. (1999). Embassies in the East: the Story of the British Embassies in Japan, China, and Korea from 1859 to the Present, p. 214., p. 214, at Google Books
  8. ^ The first British Ambassador to Japan was appointed in 1905. Before 1905, the senior British diplomat had different titles: (a) Consul-General and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, which is a rank just below Ambassador.
  9. ^ "No. 39569". The London Gazette. 10 June 1952. p. 3185.
  10. ^ a b "No. 40497". The London Gazette. 3 June 1955. p. 3261.
  11. ^ "No. 47147". The London Gazette. 11 February 1977. p. 2079.
  12. ^ WorldCat Identities Archived 30 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine: Cortazzi, Hugh


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by British Political Representative to Japan
Succeeded by
Himself (as Ambassador)
Preceded by
Himself (as Political Representative)
British Ambassador to Japan
Succeeded by