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St. John Philby
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    (April 3, 1885-September 30, 1960)
    Born in Badulla, Sri Lanka
    Birth name was Harry St. John Bridger Philby
    Explorer, intelligence officer, and Arabist
    Led two explorations of the Rub' al Khali ('Empty Quarter') of the Arabian Peninsula
    First Westerner to see the Wabar Craters (1932)
    Surveyed the Saudi-Yemeni border
    Adviser to King Ibn Saud
    Named a Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (1917)
    Converted to Islam (1930)
    Father of double agent Kim Philby
    A British diplomat described him as 'exasperatingly contrary, consistent only in his inconsistency.'
    He was forced to resign from British intelligence over the unauthorized sharing of confidential information with Ibn Saud (1924).
    When he was in his 50s, Ibn Saud gave him a 16-year-old slave girl to be his second wife.
    He ran for Parliament as a candidate of the pro-fascist British People's Party (1929).
    He secretly negotiated a deal to allow Saudi oil to be shipped to Nazi Germany by way of neutral Spain.
    He called Adolf Hitler 'a most sophisticated man.'
    He earned a full scholarship to Cambridge.
    He was a classmate of Jawaharlal Nehru.
    He was fluent in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Balochi.
    He helped organize the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
    He was awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographic Society for his explorations (1920).

Credit: C. Fishel

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