Just Hugh

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Memories of Hugh Leach – Arabist, explorer, and author of the acclaimed Seen in the Yemen. A circus owner, photographer, and scholar, Leach was a man of many parts. Just Hugh is a testament to his work and legacy.


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ISBN 978-1-911487-74-6 Categories: ,

Just Hugh is a portrait of Hugh Leach, an end-of-era soldier, diplomat, traveller and, above all, charismatic enthusiast. The title reflects his passion for Just William books, one of his many and varied interests. To echo a phrase that Hugh used on the flyleaf of his Strolling About on the Roof of the World, the ‘fons et origo’ of these memories was an idea mooted at his memorial service in April 2016, five months after his death. The book combines anecdotes and recollections submitted after that service with others previously received for his RSAA obituary, together with Hugh’s own reminiscences in his later years. Tales from twenty-five years of service between the Nile and the Euphrates and travels throughout Central Asia are interwoven with biographical details to create a ‘memory book’ of this unique, much missed, man of many parts.




  • Sue Farrington describes herself as Hugh’s ‘very junior’ accomplice on Strolling About on the Roof of the World and ‘even more junior’ with Seen in the Yemen. She has a passion for and is an author on British cemeteries overseas, and has written several books on West Country local history.

  • After a career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office largely spent in the Middle East, Norman was Secretary of the RSAA from 2001 to 2008. In both capacities he knew Hugh and thus he has been well placed to assist Sue Farrington in this compilation of memories of one of the Society’s more unconventional members.