Unsung hero buried in Cuckfield warned Churchill about Hitler


The life of a man who warned Winston Churchill about Hitler’s rearmament of Germany is to be discussed in Cuckfield.

Ralph Follet Wigram CMG, who is buried in Cuckfield churchyard, was a member of the Diplomatic Services when he passed intelligence to Churchill about the Nazi threat.

While the soon-to-be war leader held no governmental position at the time, Churchill used Wigram’s information when he took the lead in warning Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin about the situation.

Churchill never forgot the importance of Wigram’s information, describing him in his six-volume history of the Second World War, as “an unsung hero”.

While Wigram’s work helped drag the imminence of another war to the attention of world leaders, he himself did not live long enough to see it happen.

He died on December 31 1936 aged just 46. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear. Some say he suffered a pulmonary haemorrhage while others say he took his own life while battling severe depression.

To mark the life of the man, who deserved to be more than a footnote in history, historian Hugh Axton will hold a talk called ‘Ralph Follet Wigram, CMG, and the Churchill Connection’.

Phillipa Malins, of Cuckfield Museum, said: “Few know the details of his diplomatic career or about the help he gave to Winston Churchill by giving clear warning of the Nazi menace and providing intelligence information about Hitler’s re-armament to Churchill.

“Hugh’s talk will show us the importance of his life and career.”

The talk will take place on Wednesday (June 10) at 2.30pm in the Tudor Hall of The Old School, Church Street. Admission is £5 (£3 for members and patrons).

To reserve a place or for more information, contact Mike Nicholson on 01444 457448 or email events@cuckfieldmuseum.org.

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