Antony Head, 1st Viscount Head

The Viscount Head
Secretary of State for War
In office
31 October 1951 – 18 October 1956
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
Preceded by John Strachey
Succeeded by Hon. John Hare
Minister of Defence
In office
18 October 1956 – 9 January 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden
Preceded by Sir Walter Monckton
Succeeded by Duncan Sandys
Personal details
Born 19 December 1906 (1906-12-19)
Died 29 March 1983 (1983-03-30) (aged 76)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Dorothea Ashley-Cooper
Alma mater Royal Military College, Sandhurst

Antony Henry Head, 1st Viscount Head, GCMG, CBE, MC, PC (19 December 1906 – 29 March 1983) was a British soldier, Conservative politician and diplomat.

Background and education

Head was the son of Geoffrey Head and Ethel Daisy, daughter of Arthur Flower, and was educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

Military career

A career soldier, Head was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars on 30 August 1926.[1] He later joined the Life Guards, serving through the Second World War and achieving the rank of brigadier. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) on 20 December 1940.[2]

Political career

Head was elected Conservative MP for Carshalton in 1945. He served as Secretary of State for War from 1951 to 1956 and as Minister of Defence (with a seat in the cabinet) from 1956 to 1957,[3] in the administrations of Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1951 and in 1960 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Head, of Throope in the County of Wiltshire.[4] He was later High Commissioner to Nigeria from 1960 to 1963 and High Commissioner to Malaysia from 1963 to 1966. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 1961 New Year Honours[5] and promoted to be Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) in 1963.[6]


Lord Head married Lady Dorothea Louise (29 April 1907 – 1987), daughter of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, on 23 July 1935. They had four children:

  • Richard Antony Head, 2nd Viscount Head (b. 27 February 1937)
  • Hon. Teresa Mary Head (b. 20 June 1938)
  • Hon. Simon Andrew Head (b. 11 November 1944)
  • Josephine Head (24 May 1948 – 9 October 1949)

Lord Head died in March 1983, aged 76, and was succeeded in the viscountcy by his eldest son, Richard.


Coat of arms of Antony Head, 1st Viscount Head
A unicorn's head couped Sable armed and crined Or between two arrows erect points downward of the last.
Sable a chevron Argent between two unicorns' heads couped in chief and in base as many arrows in saltire and filed by a ducal crown Or.
On either side a Staffordshire terrier Sable gorged with a dog collar Or.
Study Quiet [7]


  1. ^ "No. 33198". The London Gazette. 3 September 1926. p. 5765.
  2. ^ "No. 35020". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 December 1940. p. 7197.
  3. ^ "Mr Anthony Head (Hansard)". Hansard. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  4. ^ "No. 42108". The London Gazette. 2 August 1960. p. 5321.
  5. ^ "No. 42231". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 December 1960. p. 8892.
  6. ^ "No. 43052". The London Gazette. 12 July 1963. p. 5883.
  7. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 2000.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Carshalton
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
High Commissioner to Nigeria
Succeeded by
Preceded by British High Commissioner to Malaysia
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Head
Succeeded by
Richard Head