Sandy Glen

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Sir Alexander "Sandy" Richard Glen KBE DSC (18 April 1912 – 6 March 2004) was a Scottish explorer of the Arctic, and wartime intelligence officer. He later invested in the shipping industry, employed Tom Gullick who was a pioneer of package holidays, and became chairman of the British Tourist Authority.

He was appointed CBE in 1964 and KBE in 1967.

Early life[edit]

Born in Glasgow,[1] Glen was the son of a Glasgow shipowner and educated at Fettes College and Balliol College, Oxford.Married Nina Gladys Nixon,daughter of Brinsley Hampton Nixon, in Chelsea 1937; they had one son -Adrian Martin de Courcy Gleen 1939-1983.

Arctic exploration[edit]

Glen first travelled to the Arctic as crew on a fishing boat owned by a Cambridge law don, and spent two months surveying in the mountains.

The next year, he led his own 16-man Oxford University summer expedition which included Hugh Lygon who also invited Evelyn Waugh(who nearly drowned when a glacier thawed), and in the winter spent some months with the Lapps of northern Sweden, then in the following summer, returned to Spitsbergen for a few weeks.

In 1935 the 23-year-old Glen led an Oxford University expedition which established a station on the icecap of North East Land and carried out research in glaciology, geology and radio propagation in high latitudes. He wrote Under the Pole Star in 1937.

War service[edit]

In January 1940 Glen was posted to Belgrade as assistant naval attache at the British legation, but when in March, 1941 the 17-year-old Peter II of Yugoslavia participated in a British-supported coup d'état opposing the Tripartite Pact German retribution was swift, and Belgrade was bombed within three days. The British legation left and made their way home via Albania, Italy, unoccupied France and Spain.

He later served with distinction in dangerous clandestine operations in Yugoslavia in support of Josip Broz Tito; and in Albania and Bulgaria. Again; Evelyn Waugh was involved in the pro Tito operation along with Churhill's son Randolph - they were both under Fitzroy Maclean's auspices.

Glen was awarded the DSC - and later a bar - the Norwegian War Cross, the Czechoslovak War Cross and was appointed a Knight of St Olav.

He knew Ian Fleming and is often given as one of the inspirations for James Bond.

Travel industry[edit]

He joined a syndicate to buy shipbrokers H Clarkson & Co, a subsidiary of which later became a pioneer of package holidays - Clarksons Holidays. The holiday division was sold in 1972 to Court Line, a shipping company and charter airline, which collapsed in August 1974.

Glen was a director of British European Airways and chairman of the British Tourist Authority from 1969 to 1977.


  • Under the Pole Star, 1937
  • Footholds Against A Whirlwind, Hutchinson, London, 1975
  • Target Danube, 2002

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary". The Times. 9 March 2004. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  2. ^ "No. 35449". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 February 1942. p. 654.
  3. ^ "No. 35761". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 October 1942. p. 4653.
  4. ^ "No. 35950". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 March 1943. p. 1372.
  5. ^ "No. 36505". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 May 1949. p. 2129.
  6. ^ "No. 36947". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 February 1945. p. 996.
  7. ^ "No. 37777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1946. p. 5418.
  8. ^ "No. 43200". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1964. p. 10.
  9. ^ "No. 44210". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1967. p. 10.

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