Thomas J. Dunbabin (1911-1955)
Thomas James Dunbabin was born in Tasmania, Australia in 1911 and educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He traveled to Sicily and southern Italy as a Derby Scholar in 1933 and became the assistant director of the British School at Athens in 1936.
At the start of World War II, Dunbabin was commissioned into the British Intelligence Corps, where he worked in the War Office. He then volunteered for duty in occupied Crete in early 1942. He was well-known among resistance leaders for the black shepherd’s cloak and cowl he often wore. Dunbabin’s reconnaissance missions included reporting on the construction of the Tymbaki aerodrome, which he observed from a tree overlooking the runway. His report enabled the R.A.F. to complete a successful bombing run just before the aerodrome was to support German military operations in Libya. In 1945, Dunbabin was sent to Athens to work as the director of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section in Greece.
After the war, he continued his study of Greek archaeology at Oxford under Sir John Beazley. There, he was named Reader in Classical Archaeology and later Domestic Bursar of All Souls in 1950. He was awarded the Order of the Phoenix in 1947. He published The Western Greeks: The History of Sicily and South Italy from the Foundation of the Greek Colonies to 480 B.C. in 1948. He travelled widely giving lectures, including a trip to the Near East on a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 1952. He died on March 31, 1955.