Thomas Hugh Winterborn

Personnel header
Major Thomas Hugh “Hugh” Winterborn, OBE, CBE
Life dates
09 Dec 1909 - 03 Aug 1985

Hugh Winterborn was the Commanding Officer of the Royal Signals in Auxiliary Units. He was present for the photograph taken on the steps of Coleshill House on 29th January 1942.

Unit or location Role Posted from until
Coleshill House, GHQ Commanding Officer Royal Signals 1941 23 Mar 1942
The Royal Signals
Military number
Commissioned or Enlisted
29 Aug 1929



1929 Commissioned in Royal Signals.

1935 Sent to Japan for language training.

1938 Spent 1 month with a Japanese Infantry Regiment to observe their abilities.

1939-1940 On staff of MI2c (Japanese Intelligence Section section).

1942 Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Royal Signals.

1943-45 Transferred to Far East as Japanese speaker, served at Mountbatten's headquarters in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

1947-1948 Head of Security Intelligence Far East (SIFE) for MI5.

1 Jan 1950 Retires and awarded Honorary Rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He subsequently worked for the Ministry of Defence until 1969, largely it seems for the Secret Intelligence Service, with his work featuring in Peter Wright's notorious book “Spycatcher”.

(1939) Lodging at 9 The Royal Chase, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Other information

He was the son of Rev. Benjamin Thomas Winterborn, an older father who died in 1913 aged 70 when his son was very young, and his wife Sylvia Maud (nee Trousdale).

In the 1930s he took part in various motor racing events, including with Anthony Powys-Lybbe and became godfather to his son. While in Japan, he met and married, in Nov 1936, Froken (Nenne) Beichmann, a Norwegian masseuse. His son Michael Hugh Winterborn was born in Oslo (her home town) in 1939, becoming a noted paediatric nephrologist and setting up the children's dialysis unit in Birmingham.

In 1939 his wife and new son were lodging with Roderick Gubbins and family at 9 The Royal Chase, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Roderick had previously gone by the surname Gubbins then changed to Henderson-Cleland in 1928 but changed it back to Gubbins in 1936. He was married to Hugh's sister Audrey Winterborne.

1946 Birthday Honours List awarded OBE (Military Division).

1965 Birthday Honours List awarded CBE.


London Gazette 1946

London Gazette 1950

British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914–1941, A. Best

Motorsport Magazine

The Tatler 04 November 1936