H. O. Arnold-Forster

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The Right Honourable
H. O. Arnold-Forster
Hugh Arnold-Forster, 1899.jpg
Secretary of State for War
In office
12 October 1903 – 4 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
Preceded by Hon. St John Brodrick
Succeeded by Richard Haldane
Personal details
Born 19 August 1855 (1855-08-19)
Died 12 March 1909 (1909-03-13)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Unionist
Conservative
Spouse(s) Mary Story-Maskelyne
(1861-1951)
Alma mater University College, Oxford

Hugh Oakeley Arnold-Forster PC (19 August 1855 – 12 March 1909), known as H. O. Arnold-Forster, was a British politician and writer. He notably served as Secretary of State for War from 1903 to 1905.

Background and education[edit]

Arnold-Forster was the son of William Delafield Arnold, Director of Public Instruction in the Punjab, and grandson of Thomas Arnold, of Rugby. When his father died in 1859, he was adopted by William Edward Forster and his wife Jane, who was his father's sister. He was educated at Rugby and University College, Oxford, from which he graduated with 1st Class Honours. He was called to the bar in 1879.

Political career[edit]

Arnold-Foster caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1905

Arnold-Forster acted as private secretary to his adoptive father, who became Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1880. He joined Cassell & Co. in 1885, for whom he prepared educational manuals, including the "Citizen Reader" series. He was secretary of the Imperial Federation League from 1884.

He sat as Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for West Belfast from 1892 to 1906 and Unionist member for Croydon from 1906 until his death and served as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty under Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour from 1900 to 1903 and under Balfour as Secretary of State for War (with a seat in the cabinet) from 1903 to 1905, during which time he reorganized the War Office (see Esher Report). In 1903 he was sworn of the Privy Council.

Family[edit]

Arnold-Forster married Mary Lucy Story-Maskelyne (1861–1951), daughter of Nevil Story Maskelyne, in 1885. They had four sons, of whom his Times obituary states "the eldest is just beginning to practise as an artist, and the youngest is a naval cadet." They were :

  • William Edward Arnold-Forster (8 May 1886-1951) artist, author & Labour politician, married Katherine "Ka" Laird Cox in 1918. She was the former lover of Rupert Brooke. Their son was Mark Arnold-Forster. After Cox's death, he married Ruth Mallory, widow of George Mallory the mountaineer.
  • Mervyn Nevill Arnold-Forster (21 March 1888- 6 May 1927)
  • John Anthony Arnold-Forster (20 September 1889-1958), married Daphne Mansel-Pleydell in 1919. Vanda Morton, biographer of Nevil Story Maskelyne, is their daughter.
  • Hugh Christopher Arnold-Forster (9 December 1890- 21 July 1965), who rose to become a Commander in the Royal Navy and served as Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence during the Second World War; married Marcia Buddicom in 1922 and Frances Brown in 1948.

Arnold-Forster died in March 1909, aged 53.

Publications[edit]

Arnold-Forster's publications include:

  • How to Solve the Irish Land Question
  • The Citizen Reader
  • The Laws of Everyday Life
  • This World of Ours
  • In a Conning Tower
  • Things New and Old
  • Our Home Army
  • A History of England
  • Army Letters
  • The Coming of the Kilogram
  • Our Great City
  • The Army in 1906: a Policy and a Vindication
  • English Socialism of To-Day.
  • An English View of Irish Secession in Political Science Quarterly (Mar. 1889)
  • The Queen's Empire: A Pictorial and Descriptive Record, 2 Volumes, 1899

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Sexton
Member of Parliament for Belfast West
18921906
Succeeded by
Joseph Devlin
Preceded by
Charles Ritchie
Member of Parliament for Croydon
1906–1909
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Hermon-Hodge, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
William Ellison-Macartney
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty
1900–1903
Succeeded by
E. G. Pretyman
Preceded by
Hon. St John Brodrick
Secretary of State for War
1903–1905
Succeeded by
Richard Haldane