John Arakelian

John Arakelian

John was born in Broussa near Constantinople in 1886, one of 11 children in a wealthy Armenian family. After his father’s death, he relocated to England with his brothers. After completing his studies and working as an engineer for a few years, he joined the military. In 1908 John was sent to India to serve and immediately stood out because of his skills and ability to speak 6 languages.

After being discharged from the army he went back to Constantinople (where he was arrested by the Turkish authorities), and then travelled to Egypt where he joined the British Intelligence in the Middle East (his military number was 22007). John recalls that he ‘collected about 380 Armenian boys and girls at Baghdad, where an orphanage had been founded by the Americans for their welfare.  Again in Baghdad I collected about 40 Turkish officers and Turkish government employees, who by proclamation should have surrendered’.


After many obstacles, he was naturalised in 1926, and after his last trip to the Middle East in 1959, no further trace of his activities could be found. John Haig Arakelian passed away in 1960.

Coronavirus Notice

Our charity is working hard to respond to the changing situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19) related issues. We do our best to continue to provide our services for our members and the Armenian community at large, so we ask for your patience during this challenging time.

Our volunteers and staff are working hard to continue supporting you in the best way that we can, whilst also staying on top of reducing risk of spreading infection and supporting our colleague who may be more at risk.

However, due to the current situation and in the best interest of all of us, we had to make some changes to our normal services. Starting from the week beginning on the 16 March 2020, all our services except the advice work are suspended until further notice.  This means the Parents & Toddlers Group, the English classes, Library, the elders lunch club and the youth club are all suspended until further notice.

We ask that anyone experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or having to self-isolate due to being exposed to someone with coronavirus, does not attend our face-to-face services and call NHS 111 for advice. You may contact us on 020 89924621 or use our website ( to leave an enquiry or email us on to continue receiving our support.

If you are attending our face-to-face services at our centre, please wash your hands both on arrival and on leaving with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Please avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

The main symptoms of Coronavirus are high fever, dry cough and shortness of breath but for full details you may search for “Coronavirus” on the following Government and NHS websites.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you.

Misak Ohanian (CEO) & CAIA Board of Directors.  – 14/3/2020