Biography and Notes
D O-H spent most of his life in Albania leaving us a record in his book 'An Englishman in Albania' published in 2002. His son, David reports as follows: "My father, Dayrell Reed Oakley-Hill inherited his forenames from 2 fascinating families. He had 3 sisters and a brother. His mother, Katie, the children and her mother, Marianne escaped from the Boer War when he was a baby and settled in Bedford, while his father, Archie, a civil servant, remained in South Africa. My father was aged 8 when he first met his father, when he came to Britain for a month and took them on holiday in Malvern". His book is in the Trust Library.
Col. Oakley-Hill was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Indian Army upon leaving the RMA Sandhurst on 27th October 1916. He served with the Gurkhas in Mesopotamia from 1917 to 1921 returning briefly to India before coming back to England in 1922. He was military adviser to King Zog of Albania from 1929 to 1939, being Inspector General of the Albanian Gendarmerie for the last 3 years. On the outbreak of WWII he was appointed head of the SOE office in Albania, in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade. As a result of missions for the Albanian resistance movement he was captured by the Germans in 1941 and imprisoned in Germany for two and a half years. Released on medical grounds he returned to London in 1944 to head up the Operations Branch for Albania at SOE headquarters. From 15th March 1945 he was head of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) mission in Tirana and from 1951 to 1955 he was 3rd Secretary of the British Embassy in Athens where he probably worked for MI6. As Secretary of the England-Albania Association he was helping Albanian refugees escape the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. They both died in 1985.