The extraordinary Ivor Forsyth Porter, CMG OBE (Mily), Cross of the Royal House of Romania, Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit (Romania), died on 29th May 2012, at the age of ninety nine years. He was a hero of the WWII and a close friend of King Michael of Romania, instrumental in the successful execution of the 23 August 1944 royal coup through which the Romanian sovereign arrested the military fascist leader Ion Antonescu and his country joined the Allied cause against Germany, shortening the war by at least six months. He published two books “Operation Autonomous: With SOE in Wartime Romania” (Chatto & Windus, 1989) and ‘Michael of Romania. The King and the Country” (Sutton, 2005). I am honored to be connected with the later book, which contains a genealogy of the Romanian Royal Family that I compiled for the publishers.
Ivor Porter grew up in the Lake District of England, and was educated at Barrow-in-Furness Grammar School, continued by studies at Leeds University. He worked for the British Council in Romania, as a teacher of English at the University of Bucharest in 1939, and for the British Legation until 12 February 1941. As the war engulfed Romania, he became a member of Special Operations Executive from 1 March 1941. Porter was part of a three-man team, led by Alfred Gardyne de Chastelain, parachuted in the country in December 1943. Captured, the team became a vital channel of communications between the British and Romanians, essential in King Michael’s actions that broke the ties with Nazi Germany and reinstalled the old democratic constitution in August 1944.
He joined the Foreign Office in May 1946 and has served in London, Washington, D.C., the U.K. delegation to NATO, Cyprus, as U.K.representative to the Council of Europe, and India. He was also ambassador to Senegal and later to the Arms Control Committee in Geneva. Ivor Porter was awarded by HM King Michael of Romania in 2008 with the Cross of the Royal House of Romania.
We remember him as a discreet person, an erudite, a man of honour and a man of action. He was an important qualified participant and witness of the WWII. His books were written with first hand knowledge of watershed historic events, and the biographical volume on King Michael of Romania told the story of a friend, the King, who saved his country from the Nazis’ grip and also from a potential devastating Soviet offensive, and by joining the Allied powers, shortened the war by six months, thus saving innumerable lives. Ivor Porter was a keen observer of the qualities of King Michael and remained a close friend until the end. He was invited by King Michael at his Diamond wedding anniversary in June 2008. Ivor Porter was a Romanian speaker and one of the finest British experts in the history and politics of this region of the world. Let’s remember him as a hero of both Britain and Romania, a man of honour, and for those who never knew him I highly recommend to read his books! Diana Mandache