BAILEY, Ronald

Ronald Bailey CMG (1917– 2010)

With the death of Ronald Bailey on 14 May at the age of 92, the Society has lost a valued member.

He began his official career in 1939 as a Probationer Vice-Consul in Beirut, where he studied Arabic at the American University. His 36 years in the Consular and later the Diplomatic Service were spent mainly in the Arab world, though they included five years in Washington (partly during the Suez crisis), and four as Ambassador to Bolivia (he had been a Spanish scholar at Cambridge). His distinguished career ended as Ambassador to Morocco from 1971 to 1975.

Ronald was Head of Mission in Ta'iz, Yemen, in the early 1960s. He and his family enjoyed this posting, though it was marred by an incident which has found a place in Diplomatic Service folklore. He contributed a graphic account of the incident in an article in the Society's Journal in November 1994, paying a well-deserved tribute to his wife for saving his life when a nocturnal Yemeni intruder stabbed him in the chest. This account did not, however, include a postscript which Ronald enjoyed telling privately in later years. When the assailant was apprehended and eventually appeared in court, he complained bitterly that 'Mrs Bailey behaved in a very unladylike manner, rushing downstairs in her nightdress'.

In retirement, Ronald maintained his links with the Arab world. Following an assignment as adviser to the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the late 1970s, he produced a magnum opus in the shape of the 8-volume Records of Oman 1867-1947, which was published in 1988.

Ronald's wife of 55 years, Joan, died in 2001. To their son Nigel and daughter Rowena the Society offers its sincere condolences.

Author: 
Ivor Lucas