John Profumo

John Profumo

Lord Profumo.jpg
Secretary of State for War
In office
27 July 1960 – 5 June 1963
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Macmillan
Preceded byChristopher Soames
Succeeded byJoseph Godber
Personal details
John Dennis Profumo

(1915-01-30)30 January 1915
Kensington, London
Died9 March 2006(2006-03-09) (aged 91)
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, South Kensington, London
Political partyConservative
Valerie Hobson
(m. 1954; died 1998)
ChildrenDavid Profumo
ParentsAlbert, 4th Baron Profumo
Martha Thom Walker
Alma materBrasenose College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1939–1950
RankBritish Army OF-6.svg Brigadier
Battles/warsSecond World War

John Dennis Profumo, CBE (/ FEW-moh; 30 January 1915 – 9 March 2006) was a British politician whose career ended in 1963 after a sexual relationship with the 19-year-old model Christine Keeler in 1961. The scandal, which became known as the Profumo affair, led to his resignation from the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan.

After his resignation, Profumo worked as a volunteer at Toynbee Hall, a charity in East London,[1] and became its chief fundraiser. These charitable activities helped to restore his reputation and he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1975.

Early life and career

Profumo was born in Kensington, London,[2] the son of Albert, 4th Baron Profumo (Italy), a diplomat and barrister of Italian origin, who died in 1940. He attended Harrow School and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he read law and was a member of the Bullingdon Club.

In the early 1930s, 'Jack' Profumo had a relationship with a German model, Gisela Winegard, who subsequently worked for German intelligence in Paris. Secret Service papers state Profumo also wrote to Winegard while he was an MP. [3]

On 1 July 1939 he was commissioned into the Royal Armoured Corps as a second lieutenant,[4] service number 92407.[5] He had previously been a member of the Officer Training Corps and a Cadet Sergeant while at Harrow.[4] He served in North Africa with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry as a Captain (acting major), where he was mentioned in despatches.[5] He landed in Normandy on D-Day and was engaged in the subsequent fierce fighting to secure that region of France. His final rank in the British Army was brigadier.

On 21 December 1944 Major (temporary Lieutenant Colonel) Profumo was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) (military) "in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Italy",[6] specifically, for his service on Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander's staff commanding the 15th Army Group. In November 1947 Acting Colonel Profumo was awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the United States "in recognition of distinguished services in the cause of the Allies".[7]

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