Frank Adcock

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Sir Frank Ezra Adcock, OBE, FBA (15 April 1886 – 22 February 1968) was a British classical historian who was Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge between 1925 and 1951. In addition to his academic work, he also served as a cryptographer in both World War I and World War II.

Early life[edit]

Adcock was born in Desford, Leicester, Leicestershire, on 15 April 1886. He was the son of Thomas Draper Adcock, the head of Desford Industrial School, and Mary Esther Adcock (née Coltman).[1] He was educated at Wyggeston School, a grammar school in Leicester. He went on to study classics at King’s College, University of Cambridge.[2]


He became a fellow and lecturer there in 1911, and held the Chair of Ancient History at Cambridge from 1925 to 1951 when he retired. With J. B. Bury and S. A. Cook he edited the Cambridge Ancient History, which was published from 1923 to 1939, and also wrote ten chapters of it.

He was involved in cryptography in Room 40 in World War I, and at Bletchley Park from 1939 to 1943.


In the 1918 King's Birthday Honours, Adcock was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 'for services in connection with the War'.[3] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) in 1936.[4] In the 1954 New Year Honours, it was announced that he would be made a Knight Bachelor.[5] On 16 February 1954, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother at Buckingham Palace.[6]

Later life[edit]

He died in Cambridge.


  1. ^ J. A. Crook (2004). "Adcock, Sir Frank Ezra (1886–1968)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "ADCOCK, Sir Frank (Ezra)". Who Was Who. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30730. pp. 6685–6694. 4 June 1918. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  4. ^ "British Academy Fellows". Deceased Fellows. The British Academy. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40053. p. 2. 29 December 1953. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 40105. p. 1077. 19 February 1954. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography