A generous donation from the Sandy and Zorica Glen Charitable Settlement

Posted on Wed, 04 Aug 2021

Sir Alexander ‘Sandy’ Glen KBE DSC (18 April 1912 – 6 March 2004) 


The Buchanan Trust is delighted to have been selected to receive an exceptionally generous donation from the Sandy and Zorica Glen Charitable Settlement.

Sandy, as he preferred to be known as, was a Scottish explorer of the Arctic, Intelligence officer during WWII, shipbroker, Chairman of the British Tourist Authority, and Chairman of the V&A Museum's Advisory Council.

The son of a Clyde ship-owner, he was born in Glasgow, educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh and from 1931, read geography at Balliol College, Oxford.

Sandy first travelled to the Arctic in 1932 as crew on a fishing boat and spent two months surveying in the mountains of Spitzbergen. He went to that island three years running.  He led his own 16-man Oxford University summer expedition and in the winter spent some months with the Lapps in Northern Sweden.  In 1935, the 23-year-old led an Oxford University expedition which established an underground arctic station on the icecap of North-East Land and carried out research in glaciology, geology and radio propagation in high latitudes. 

Sandy joined the RNVR in 1939, and in January 1940, he joined Naval Intelligence and was posted to Belgrade as assistant naval attaché at the British legation.  In 1941, caught up in the British-supported coup d'état opposing the Tripartite Pact, German retribution was swift, and Belgrade was heavily bombed within three days. The British legation quickly evaded the German attack, and Sandy made his way back to the UK via Albania, Italy, unoccupied France and Spain.  He then returned to Spitzbergen to help resistance against the German invasion.

He later served with distinction in dangerous clandestine operations in Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria.  He was awarded the DSC and bar, the Norwegian War Cross, the Czechoslovak War Cross and was appointed a Knight of St Olav.  After the War he returned to the City and took up shipbroking, helping to build up the business of H Clarkson & Co into a major operator in that field.  He carried on in the RNVR until he retired as a Captain in 1959.  In 1967 he was given a knighthood (KBE).

In his latter business career, Sandy was, amongst other important positions, chairman of the Export Council for Europe, sat on the boards of the National Ports Council and British European Airways and was chairman of the Air Safety Committee.

The donation kindly gifted from the Sandy and Zorica Glen Charitable Settlement will be used to assist the Buchanan Trust in building further Veteran accommodation.  We plan to honour Sandy's memory with the naming of one of our veteran cottages, whereby his legacy and military connection will live on to support our Nation's service-leavers, for many years to come.