Henry Chilton
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"Photo of Henry Chilton"
Henry Chilton in 1922
(National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)

Sir Henry Getty Chilton GCMG (15 October 1877 - 20 November 1954) was a British diplomat who was minister to the Vatican and ambassador to Chile, to Argentina, and to Spain during the Spanish Civil War.


Henry Getty Chilton was educated at Wellington College and joined the Diplomatic Service as an attaché in 1902.[1] He served at Vienna, Copenhagen, The Hague, Brussels, Berlin and Washington, D.C., before being appointed Counseller of Embassy at Rio de Janeiro in 1920 and then at Washington in 1921. In 1924 he was promoted to be Minister to the United States[2] under the Ambassador, Sir Esmé Howard. Still with the rank of Minister, he was the UK envoy to the Vatican 1928-30.[3] He was then promoted to Ambassador and posted to Chile 1930-33,[4] to Argentina 1933-35[5] and to Spain 1935-39.[6]

Soon after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 several embassies in Madrid, including the British, evacuated to Hendaye, in France on the border with Spain.[7] "Chilton was a blatant admirer of the nationalists and preferred to stay in Hendaye rather than return to Madrid"[8] while it was still under Republican control. He left Hendaye on long leave prior to retirement in December 1937: The Times said "His has been an exacting, delicate and in many respects a thankless task, carried out with unfailing courtesy and devotion to duty."[9]Geoffrey Thompson, secretary to the embassy, was chargé d'affaires until Owen O'Malley, who held Minister rank, took over the embassy at Hendaye. Chilton returned to Hendaye in May 1939 on his way to Madrid to collect his belongings. He was succeeded as Ambassador by Sir Maurice Peterson in the autumn of 1939.[10]

During the Second World War Chilton worked in the Ministry of Economic Warfare and then in the Ministry of Information. He accompanied Lord Willingdon on a trade mission to South America 1940-41. Sir Henry also served in the Home Guard from 18 June 1940 to 13 September 1941.


In 1906, while he was serving in Copenhagen, Henry Chilton married Katherine, daughter of Thomas J. O'Brien, then U.S. ambassador to Denmark. They had two daughters. Katherine died in 1959.


Henry Chilton was appointed CMG in the New Year Honours of 1921,[11] knighted KCMG in the King's Birthday Honours of 1930,[12] and raised to GCMG in the New Year Honours of 1934.[13]

Offices held


  • CHILTON, Sir Henry Getty, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920-2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007, accessed 6 Sept 2012
  • Obituary - Sir Henry Chilton, The Times, London, 22 November 1954, page 8

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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