In April 1982 Lord Carrington, along with the rest of his foreign office team, resigned from government. Not because they had done anything wrong but because something very wrong - the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands - had taken place while they headed the Foreign Office.
Here's what Lord Carrington wrote:
The Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands has led to strong criticism in Parliament and in the press of the Government's policy. In my view, much of the criticism is unfounded. But I have been responsible for the conduct of that policy and I think it right that I should resign.
When I listen, as I did yesterday, to the Chief Executive of an NHS hospital refusing even to consider resigning, I am reminded of Peter Carrington's response to failure on his watch. Here's what the modern response reads like:
Asked by BBC Essex if he would resign, the hospital's chief executive Dr Gordon Coutts said: "My job is to keep improving this hospital, and I intend to continue to do so."
Am I alone in thinking the world has lost a little decency and honour?