John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu

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John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu in 1915
J. W. E. Douglas-Scott-Montagu from Vanity Fair

John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (10 June 1866 – 30 March 1929), was a British Conservative politician and promoter of motoring.

Background, education and early life[edit]

Montagu was the eldest son of Henry Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, second son of Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch. His mother was the Hon. Cecily Susan, daughter of John Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, 2nd Baron Wharncliffe. He went to Eton College where he rowed, and shot for his school at Wimbledon. He then went to New College, Oxford and helped the New College boat to the Head of the River. He rowed for the Oxford Etonians in the 1887 Grand Challenge Cup with Guy Nickalls and Douglas McLean although without success. He worked for a year in the sheds of the London and South Western Railway and became a practical engineer. Then he went round the world with his cousin, Lord Ancram, and his friend, Lord Ennismore.

Political career[edit]

Montagu entered Parliament for New Forest in 1895, a seat he held until 1905, when he succeeded his father in the barony and entered the House of Lords. During the First World War Montagu was an acting member of the War Aircraft Committee from March to April 1916 and an adviser on Mechanical Transport Services to the Indian government (with the rank of Honorary Brigadier-General). He is chiefly remembered as a promoter of motoring and was the founder and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine and a member of the Road Board.

Family[edit]

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu married firstly Lady Cecil Kerr, daughter of Schomberg Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian, in 1889. She died in September 1919, aged 53. He married secondly Alice Pearl, daughter of Major Edward Barrington Crake, in 1920. There were children from both marriages. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu died in March 1929, aged 62, and was succeeded in the barony by his only son, Edward. Lady Montagu of Beaulieu later remarried and died in April 1996, aged 101.

During his first marriage Beaulieu had a daughter by his mistress and secretary Eleanor Thornton. Wanting an appropriate mascot for his Rolls-Royce, and using Eleanor Velasco Thornton as a model, the sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes was commissioned to design the precursor (called "The Whisper") of the Spirit of Ecstasy; the famous winged mascot that has adorned nearly every Rolls-Royce car since 1911. On 30 December 1915, with his mistress Eleanor Thornton, Montagu was on board the SS Persia sailing through the Mediterranean on the way to India when the ship was torpedoed without warning by the German U-boat U-38 commanded by Max Valentiner. Thornton was drowned, with hundreds of others, but Montagu survived the sinking.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Francis Compton
Member of Parliament for New Forest
1892 – 1905
Succeeded by
Henry Francis Compton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Douglas-Scott-Montagu
Baron Montagu of Beaulieu
1905 – 1929
Succeeded by
Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu