The son of a Dutch father and English mother, Ernest Henry van Maurik was born on 24 August 1916. He grew up with a natural facility for languages and left his schooling with a strong grounding in French and German. Called up on 2 September 1939, he was initially commissioned into the Wiltshire Regiment. In time van Maurik was sent to the Commando Special Training School at Lochailort from where, having proved adept in the techniques of special operations and sabotage, he was sent as an instructor to the SOE training school at Arisaig. In 1945 he married Winifred Hay, who had been his FANY secretary at SOE’s headquarters. On demobilisation, he joined the Foreign Service. After the war, the British made Van an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The French, meanwhile, made him a member of the Légion d’honneur. He died on 21 January 2012, aged 95.