Charles Cullimore was born in Northern Ireland where his father was a much-loved Church of Ireland rector in Omagh. He tried to bridge the Catholic-Protestant divide, fostering communal relationships and overcoming historic hostility. Charles' mother was equally involved. After Portora Royal School, Enniskillen and Trinity College, Oxford, he held a short service commission in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and then attended the 'Devonshire' course at Oxford for entrants to Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service, the British Colonial Service. He served as a district officer in Tanganyika until Tanzania's independence. A spell in in the Personnel Department at ICI followed before resumption of his main career in government service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.