CHARLES Courtenay Lloyd was one of the last surviving veterans of the Second World War. He was a Royal Naval officer, an intelligence expert, who captured Nazi war criminals, and a phenomenal linguist, who taught Russian to British spies in the Cold War.

And to hundreds of pupils at Bradford Grammar School, where he taught modern languages for 20 years, he was an inspirational teacher, remembered by his ‘old boys’ with great affection.

Mr Lloyd died last November, aged 102, at his home in Madrid. Next month he will be honoured at a memorial service at Bradford Cathedral, attended by his family who are travelling here from Spain. It was Mr Lloyd’s wish to be buried alongside his wife, Elena, at Charlestown Cemetery in Baildon; his remains are being brought back to England, the country of his birth, and the burial will take place on Thursday, May 5. “Now that Covid restrictions have been lifted, we can fulfil his wishes and bring him home,” said his daughter, Masha.

The following day the memorial service will take place at Bradford Cathedral. Those attending will include representatives and past pupils of Bradford Grammar School. The family would like to extend an invitation to the service to the wider public, particularly ex-servicemen and women.

Three generations of Mr Lloyd’s family will be at memorial service - his daughter Masha, her husband Eladio Freijo, and his granddaughters Suzy Freijo Lloyd and Olivia Freijo Lloyd and his great granddaughter Juliet, aged six months.

They will be joined by a small circle of friends, the headmaster of Bradford Grammar School, Simon Hinchcliffe. Acting Dean Revd Canon Paul Maybury will lead the service, and Courtenay Lloyd’s granddaughters will sing, his daughter will read a homily and former BGS pupils will pay tribute.

The Assistant to the Acting  Dean  at the memorial service will be one of Mr Lloyd's former pupils, Revd. Canon Barrie Scott.

Says Masha: “We must fill the cathedral on May 6 in tribute to one of the last of his generation who did so much for Bradford and his country.”

Although CC Lloyd wasn’t born in Yorkshire, it’s where he spent the longest time of his life - 40 years. He was senior master of languages at Bradford Grammar School from 1964-1983, when he retired. After the death of his wife and their son George, Mr Lloyd went to live with Masha and her family in Madrid in 2005. “He was a great lover of Yorkshire and never happier than when walking on Ilkley Moor,” says Masha. “He was a T&A subscriber for 40 years. He was an exceptional man who did so much for Bradford pupils.

“His love of the county began when his family moved to North Yorkshire, when he was a boy in the 1920s. His father, Revd. Canon John Collins Lloyd, was the vicar of Sledmere, a village he remembered with great fondness.”

Courtenay Lloyd is remembered as an inspirational teacher who had a lasting influence on many pupils.

Former head boy John Asquith, now a renowned musician, singer and conductor, will pay tribute to him at the service. He recalls: “He introduced me to linguistics, he gave me grounding in Polish, Bulgarian, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish” (none of these languages were on the curriculum) and introduced me to Russian music which led to a lifelong career in music.”
Ex pupil Roger Mosey, former head of BBC news, and now Master of Lloyd’s old college, Selwyn Cambridge, said: “Courtenay’s life was so spectacularly well lived and he brought so much learning and wisdom to so many.”
Ex pupil, Simon Hewitt, now a critic of Russian art, said: “He was a linguistic and educational genius, yet modest and humorous.”

Mr Lloyd was fluent in German, Russian, French, Norwegian and Spanish and spoke some Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish and Danish.

Asked about his life, when he turned 100, he said: “I’ve had quite an enjoyable one.” Born in Tamworth, Staffordshire, his studies of modern languages at Cambridge were interrupted by the war and in 1940 he enlisted in the Navy.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Courtenay as a boy in 1933Courtenay as a boy in 1933

Lt Courtenay Lloyd served on board HMS Wells and HMS Mansfield, loaned to the exiled Norwegian Navy. As the British Liaison Officer on board, he passed on messages and instructions from the British Admiralty to the Norwegian Navy and back, coding and decoding. He learned Norwegian on board. For his part in the Liberation of Norway, he was awarded the Liberty Medal from King Haakon VII.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lt Lloyd on board HMS Wells in 1942Lt Lloyd on board HMS Wells in 1942

In Oslo he worked for the British Admiralty as chief disarmament officer, helping supervise the surrender of the German forces.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: In Naval uniform in 1940In Naval uniform in 1940

From 1946-48 he was an intelligence officer in Germany, involved in dismantling the Nazi regime and catching war criminals.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: CC Lloyd with his daughter Masha, presenting his life story that she wrote when he turned 100CC Lloyd with his daughter Masha, presenting his life story that she wrote when he turned 100

In 1948 he returned to Cambridge, graduating in German and Scandinavian and later did an MA in Modern Languages. He became a Russian teacher with the Joint Services School of Languages, a major Cold War initiative. About 5,000 National Servicemen did the courses, known as ‘Spy School’ to the KGB, to learn Russian for Britain’s intelligence operations. It was teaching these courses that he met Princess Elena Von Lieven, a penniless Russian princess whose family fled the Russian Revolution. They married in 1953. Elena also worked for the Allied Control Commission after the war, for the French section in Austria. She was involved in the repatriation of dispersed people people and helped Russian soldiers escape Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Courtenay with his wife ElenaCourtenay with his wife Elena

* The memorial service for Charles Courtenay Lloyd is at Bradford Cathedral on Friday, May 6 at 10am.