Remembering British Soldier Hugh Lunghi, Last Surviving Participant of WWII’s “Big Three” Meetings (1920-2014)

British WWII veteran Hugh Lunghi (right) during his days (Hugh Lunghi is the young officer in the center) as an interpreter for British top officials.

British WWII veteran Hugh Lunghi (right) during his days (Hugh Lunghi is the young officer in the center) as an interpreter for British top officials.
British WWII veteran Hugh Lunghi (right) during his days (Hugh Lunghi is the young officer in the center) as an interpreter for British top officials.

British soldier Hugh Lunghi who acted as British PM Winston Churchill’s interpreter during his dealing with Josef Stalin and was thought to be the very first British soldier to get inside the Fuehrer’s bunker in Berlin recently passed away last March 14, 2014.

He died at the ripe age of 93.

Hugh Lunghi (Hugh Albert Lunghi) was born literally in the world of diplomacy August 3, 1920 in Tehran, Persia at the British Legation. His father had been an economic adviser there. at 10 months, his family moved back to Britain.

His mother, Helena, was of Anglo-Russian heritage and he learned Russian from her.

When the Second World War broke out, Hugh Lunghi actively participated as a captain in the Royal Artillery and later climbed up ranks as a major. But in 1943, his exceptional Russian led to an assignation as ADC and interpreter to Lieutenant-General  Sir Gifford Martel, the Head of the Military Mission in Moscow.

From there, Mr. Lunghi was able to act as then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s interpreter as well as other British officials in their dealings with then Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin.

Hugh Lunghi was a participant at the Tehran and Yalta conferences between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. He was also present during the Potsdam conference between the Soviet Union leader and United States’ Harry Truman in July 1945.

He was able to meet Stalin in private moments with Churchill it can be implied he knew more about the Soviet Dictator compared to other British officials. That said, he was one of the last surviving participants of the meetings between WWII’s “Big Three”.

Reportedly, Soviet soldiers who guarded Hitler’s bunker in Berlin allowed Hugh Lunghi to take a look becoming the first British soldier to be the first to have a glimpse of the German dictator’s quarters.

Hugh Lunghi was married twice – first to Helen Kaplan whom he had a daughter but their marriage was  dissolved and second, to Renée Banks whom he had three daughters.  Renée died way back in 1992.

A memorial service for the remains of Hugh Lunghi was held at St. Philip and St. James Church, where he was a long-standing member while he was alive, last Saturday morning, March 29.

Get Hampshire reports; additional notes from The Telegraph

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE