Dear members of the 48 Group
We have a very distinguished alumni of the 48 Group going back to 1952.
The passing of Brian Steward was a matter of great sadness in Scotland for his family and friends
Judith McClure wrote the following.
I knew Brian and always found him a very interesting and personable man with a keen interest in China. I met him a few months ago in Edinburgh but we had too little time to catch up on the many years we had known each other
We have lost a great man and an important member of the Icebreakers in Brian Stewart CMG. He was 93 when he died suddenly in August: his moving funeral service took place at Glenalmond College in Perthshire on 21 August 2015. His son Rory Stewart OBE MP, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Rural Affairs, gave a tremendous eulogy. If you want to understand Rory’s experiences in being part of the government of Iraq and in walking alone across Afghanistan, you need to know about the influence of his amazing father.
Brian was born in 1922 and attended Worcester College, Oxford, before being commissioned in the Black Watch in 1942. After the war he joined the Malayan Civil Service, learning Chinese in Singapore and China and being deeply involved in Chinese affairs in Malaya. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1957: he was First Secretary of the British Diplomatic Mission in Beijing in 1960 and HM Consul General in Shanghai in 1961-62. From 1968-1972, he was Secretary of the Joint intelligence Committee. He retired from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1978, and worked first for the Rubber Growers’s Association in Malaysia and then, 1982-1997, he was Director of Operations (China) for Racal Electronics, advising Racal, then other western companies, on finding and doing business in China, at the same time as being an honorary lecturer at Hong Kong University and throughout China.
When he finally retired to his delightful country estate, Broich, near Crieff in Perthshire, he certainly did not give up work! He published seven books and involved himself very much in supporting relations between China and Scotland. He attended the Scotland China Education Network’s China Youth Summits at Gleneagles, hosted visiting Chinese Professors, and even taught Chinese to young people at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline. 2015 was a very special year for Brian. He published Why Spy: the Art of Intelligence, with Samantha Newbury, and attended its launch in the House of Commons. His portrait appeared in the Royal Collection, as one of the surviving veterans of D-Day. His final book, on learning Chinese characters and entitled Cracking the Chinese Code, has been published by the Edinburgh University Press and will be launched soon.
Brian was an extraordinary man and a great friend of China.