Nevile Bland

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Sir Nevile Bland with Lady Bland in 1946

Sir George Nevile Maltby Bland KCMG KCVO (6 December 1886 – 19 August 1972)[1] was a British diplomat who served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands from 1938 through the war years until 1948. He also authored or edited several legal books and articles.

Early life[edit]

Bland was born the youngest son of Francis Maltby Bland, DL, JP, and his wife Edith Richenda Bland (née Barclay). His maternal uncle Sir George Barclay had been the British Minister in Bucharest during the First World War. His siblings included brothers Hugh Michael and Francis Lawrence Bland, and sisters Edith Richenda ("Chenda") and Esther. Bland was educated at Eton, and then at King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA degree in 1908, upgraded to MA in 1912.[2] He entered the Diplomatic Service in 1911.[3]


After a long spell serving as Private Secretary to various senior diplomats and then as Counsellor, Nevile Bland was knighted KCVO in the 1937 Coronation Honours.[4] He was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands in 1938,[5] and narrowly escaped internment by the Nazis by escaping in 1940. On his return to England, he was instrumental in creating at atmosphere of hostility toward anti-Nazi Germans who had fled Hitler through the 1930s, identifying them as dangerous “Fifth Columnists”, leading directly to their mass round-up, internment and deportation to the Dominions. [6]

He remained with the Netherlands government in exile in England during the war, and then again in The Hague until March 1948 (his post was upgraded to Ambassador in 1942[7]).[8] From 1952 to 1961 he was King of Arms of the Order of St Michael and St George.[9]



In 1919, Nevile Bland became engaged and then married Portia Ottley. They had at least three children, of whom a baby daughter Corinna died in late 1924, and a son David was killed in action in Tunisia in 1943. Another son, Simon, survived the Second World War and a spell of duty in British Malaya to marry and father children; he became private secretary, then equerry, to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.

See also[edit]

Works edited[edit]

  • A guide to diplomatic practice, edited by Nevile Bland

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Collection: The Papers of Sir (George) Nevile (Maltby) Bland". Churchill Archives Centre, ArchiveSearch. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  2. ^ Bland papers, op.cit.
  3. ^ "No. 28547". The London Gazette. 3 November 1911. p. 7964.
  4. ^ "No. 34396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1937. p. 3084.
  5. ^ "No. 34576". The London Gazette. 2 December 1938. p. 7603.
  6. ^ Ernest Robert Zimmermann, The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior, (Edmonton, University of Alberta Press, 2015), pages 26-27
  7. ^ "No. 35673". The London Gazette. 18 August 1942. p. 3613.
  8. ^ "Dutch orders" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  9. ^ "No. 39634". The London Gazette. 29 September 1952. p. 4587.
  10. ^ "No. 37835". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1946. p. 6.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands

Succeeded by
Heraldic offices
Preceded by
King of Arms of the Order of St Michael and St George
Succeeded by