Former Bradford Grammar School teacher who taught spies after the war turns 100

IN his 100 years, genial English gentleman Charles Courtenay Lloyd helped to liberate Norway from Nazi invasion, trained Cold War spies, married a penniless Russian princess and taught generations of Yorkshire’s youngsters foreign languages.

Charles Courtenay Lloyd, at home in Madrid turns 100 today.
Charles Courtenay Lloyd, at home in Madrid turns 100 today.

The veteran officer celebrates his centenary tomorrow in Madrid, where he now lives, but was nowhere more at home than wandering the hills of his beloved Ilkley Moor during his time at Bradford Grammar School.

His daughter Masha Lloyd has spoken of her pride at her father still being able to celebrate his birth on what is the 80th anniversary year of the Second World War beginning.

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“There are so few of them left to tell the story,” she said.

A young Mr Lloyd during his time in the Royal Navy.

“For me, the most important thing about reaching his century is to get him recognition for what he did in World War Two.”

But also noteworthy is his part in the Cold War, when he became a teacher of Russian at the Joint Services School of Linguists (JSSL), which taught thousands of National Service conscripts languages to meet the needs of Britain’s intelligence operations.

The KGB dubbed it “the spy school” and it was where Mr Lloyd met his future wife, Elena Von Lieven, a princess whose family had fled the Russian Revolution, said his daughter, 62.

Born near Tamworth in what is now Staffordshire, Mr Lloyd was later a day boy at Clifton College in Bristol and went on to read modern languages at Selwyn College, Cambridge, in 1938 but his studies were halted by war.

He signed up as a seaman in 1940, but was made a British Liaison Officer of the Royal Navy on board the loaned HMS Mansfield in Norway. Mr Lloyd’s job was to pass on messages and instructions from the British Admiralty to the Norwegian Navy and later took part in a raid on a fish oil factory in German hands near Hammerfest, for which he was awarded the Liberty Medal from King Haakon VII.

He then helped supervise the surrender of the enemy forces in Norway before working as a post-war intelligence officer in Germany between 1946 and 1948.

The polyglot – who today speaks German, Russian, French, Norwegian and Spanish, and is well acquainted with Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish and Danish – returned to his university and in 1953 achieved an MA in modern languages with a distinction in Norwegian.

It was after this that he joined the JSSL, before he took up his post as a languages teacher at Bradford Grammar School between 1964 and 1983, living in the city until his departure to Spain in 2005. His wife died in 1999.

During his time as a languages teacher at Bradford Grammar, Mr Lloyd grew to love the county’s scenery, such as the Yorkshire Dales and Ilkley Moor.

Masha Lloyd, who also lives in Madrid, and her father were “saddened” to read of the recent fire at the latter spot.

Mr Lloyd is a great fan of Charlotte Bronte and the family, which lived in Heaton Grove, often visited Haworth.