John Cecil Cloake was born in Wimbledon, London, England on 2 December, 1924, the son of Dr Cecil Stedman Cloake and Maude Osborne Newling. He was educated at King's College School and served in the Royal Engineers in India and Japan during and after World War II. After the war he completed his education, studying History at Cambridge University.
In 1948, Cloake joined the Foreign Office and served as:
- 3rd Secretary, Baghdad, 1949
- 3rd then 2nd Secretary, Saigon, 1951
- Geneva Conference, 1954
- FO, 1954
- Private Secretary to Permanent Under-Secretary, 1956
- Private Secretary to Parliamentary Under-Secretary, 1957
- 1st Secretary, 1957
- Consul (Commercial), New York, 1958
- 1st Secretary, Moscow, 1962
- FO, 1963
- Diplomatic Service Administration Office, 1965
- (Counsellor, 1966)
- (Head of Accommodation Department, 1967)
- Counsellor (Commercial), Tehran, 1968–72
- Fellow, Centre for International Studies, LSE, 1972–73
- Head of Trade Relations and Exports Department, FCO, 1973–76
- Ambassador to Bulgaria, 1976–80
While in Saigon, in 1952, he met Margaret ("Molli") Morris (1929–2008) from Washington, D.C., who was serving there in the United States Diplomatic Service, and they were married in Cambridge four years later in 1956. She died in 2008.
Cloake was made a CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) in 1977 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1988.
Cloake and his wife moved to Richmond, London in 1962 and wrote several books on the history of that area.
He died on 9th July, 2014.