Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr

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The Right Honourable
The Earl De La Warr
GBE PC DL JP
Postmaster General
In office
5 November 1951 – 5 April 1955
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by Ness Edwards
Succeeded by Charles Hill
First Commissioner of Works
In office
3 April 1940 – 10 May 1940
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Herwald Ramsbotham
Succeeded by The Lord Tryon
President of the Board of Education
In office
27 October 1938 – 3 April 1940
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by The Earl Stanhope
Succeeded by Herwald Ramsbotham
Lord Privy Seal
In office
28 May 1937 – 27 October 1938
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by The Viscount Halifax
Succeeded by Sir John Anderson
Personal details
Born 20 June 1900 (1900-06-20)
Died 28 January 1976 (1976-01-29)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
National Labour
Conservative
Spouse(s) (1) Diana Leigh
(1896-1966)
(2) Sylvia Harrison
(1903-1992)
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford

Herbrand Edward Dundonald Brassey Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr, GBE, PC, DL, JP (20 June 1900 - 28 January 1976), styled Lord Buckhurst until 1915 (and sometimes nicknamed "Buck De La Warr" after that), was a British politician. He was the first hereditary peer to join the Labour Party and became a government minister at the age of 23. He was later one of the few Labour politicians to follow Ramsay Macdonald in the formation of the National Government and the National Labour Organisation. However, he ended his political career by serving as Postmaster General in the last Conservative administration of Winston Churchill.

Background and education[edit]

De La Warr was the son of Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr, and the Honourable Muriel Agnes, daughter of Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, eldest son of the railway engineer Thomas Brassey. He was educated at Eton[1] and Magdalen College, Oxford. The son of a Conservative father and Liberal mother, he developed trends towards socialism at university. In 1915 his father was killed in the First World War, and he succeeded to the title as a minor. On reaching 18, he refused as a conscientious objector to take part in active combat, but joined the Royal Naval Reserve (trawler section).[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

De La Warr became the first hereditary peer to join the Labour Party,[citation needed] and in February 1924, then aged 23, was one of the youngest ever ministers when he was appointed Lord in Waiting in the first Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald.[1] He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords the same month.[2] In the second Labour government of 1929 to 1931 he served as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (government chief whip in the House of Lords) and Under-Secretary of State for War between 1929 and 1930, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries between 1930 and 1931 and as a Lord-in-Waiting between 1929 and 1931.[1]

In 1931 the Labour government fell and MacDonald formed a "National Government" of politicians drawn from all parties. De La Warr was one of only a tiny handful of Labour ministers to follow MacDonald, and prior to the 1931 general election, he was instrumental in the formation of the National Labour Organisation to provide a vehicle of support for MacDonald and other ex-Labour members of the National Government.[citation needed] He resumed office as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, a post he held until 1935, and then served under Stanley Baldwin as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education between 1935 and 1936 and as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies between 1936 and 1937.[1] In 1936 he was sworn of the Privy Council.[3]

In 1937 the new Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave De La Warr his first cabinet post as Lord Privy Seal.[4] Like several other younger members of the cabinet, De La Warr found himself disagreeing over the government's foreign policy, and contemplated resigning over the Munich Agreement but decided not to do so.[citation needed] In the aftermath of the agreement he was transferred in 1938 to be President of the Board of Education.[5] During his time in this post it was expected that he would oversee legislation for raising of the school leaving age to 15, but the outbreak of World War II deferred all such plans until the end of hostilities.[citation needed]

In April 1940 De La Warr became First Commissioner of Works in a series of ministerial changes by Chamberlain,[1] but was demoted from the cabinet. The following month Chamberlain was replaced by Winston Churchill, who formed an all-party coalition government, and the objections of the Labour Party to National Labour ministers meant that De La Warr was dropped, and he did not return to government for eleven years.[citation needed] In 1951, in Churchill's peacetime Conservative government, De La Warr was appointed Postmaster General, and as such, was in charge at the time of the Eastcastle Street robbery,[6] before leaving office for the final time in 1955.[1] He continued to contribute regularly in the House of Lords until 1966, but from then on until his death ten years later only spoke twice, both times in 1972.[2]

Apart from his career in national politics, Lord De La Warr was Mayor of Bexhill-on-Sea between 1932 and 1934 and a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Sussex. In 1956 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.[1] The De La Warr Pavilion was built in 1936 in Bexhill-on-Sea and was named after Lord De La Warr. The "De La Warr" in both the pavilion's name and the Earl's name is pronounced "Delaware" (as in the American state).[7]

Family[edit]

Lord De La Warr was twice married. He married firstly Diana Helena, daughter of Henry Gerard Leigh, in 1920. They had two sons and a daughter. Their younger son the Hon. Thomas Sackville (1922-1943) was killed in action during the Second World War. After Diana's death in March 1966 he married secondly Sylvia, Countess of Kilmuir, daughter of William Reginald Harrison and widow of David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir, in 1968. Lord De La Warr died in January 1976, aged 75, and was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest and only surviving son, William. The Countess De La Warr died in June 1992.[1] His sister was Lady Avice Ela Muriel Sackville (d. 1985). He attended her marriage to Stewart Menzies, (leader of British wartime intelligence or 'C' ), dressed in a lowerdeck seaman's bellbottomed uniform.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Valentia
The Lord Somerleyton
The Earl of Bradford
The Earl of Lucan
The Earl of Malmesbury
The Earl of Albemarle
Lord-in-Waiting
with The Lord Muir-Mackenzie

1924
Succeeded by
The Viscount Gage
The Lord Somers
The Earl of Lucan
Preceded by
The Viscount Gage
The Earl of Airlie
The Lord Templemore
Lord-in-Waiting
with The Lord Muir-Mackenzie

1929–1931
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
The Earl of Lucan
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
1929–1930
Succeeded by
The Lord Marley
Preceded by
The Duke of Sutherland
Under-Secretary of State for War
1929–1930
Succeeded by
The Lord Marley
Preceded by
Christopher Addison
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry
of Agriculture and Fisheries

1930–1931
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
Vacant
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry
of Agriculture and Fisheries

1931–1935
Succeeded by
Herwald Ramsbotham
Preceded by
Herwald Ramsbotham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education
1935–1936
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Shakespeare
Preceded by
The Earl of Plymouth
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
1936–1937
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Preceded by
Viscount Halifax
Lord Privy Seal
1937–1938
Succeeded by
Sir John Anderson
Preceded by
The Earl Stanhope
President of the Board of Education
1938–1940
Succeeded by
Herwald Ramsbotham
Preceded by
Herwald Ramsbotham
First Commissioner of Works
1940
Succeeded by
The Lord Tryon
Preceded by
Ness Edwards
Postmaster General
1951–1955
Succeeded by
Charles Hill
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Gilbert Sackville
Earl De La Warr
1915–1976
Succeeded by
William Sackville