John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne
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John Ulick Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne, CBE (9 November 1924 – 23 September 2005), professionally known as John Brabourne, was a British peer, television producer and Academy-award nominated film producer.
Brabourne was a TV producer from 1958 to 1988 and was a director of Mersham Productions in 1970, a director of Thames Television (later Chairman) and Euston Films from 1978 to 1995, and a director of Thorn EMI from 1981 to 1986. In 1979, he was invested as a Fellow of the British Film Institute and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.
John Brabourne received two Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, as producer of Romeo and Juliet (1968) and A Passage to India (1984). His filmography also includes Harry Black, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, Sink the Bismarck!, and Little Dorrit.
Lord Brabourne was born in 1924, the second son of Michael Knatchbull, 5th Baron Brabourne and his wife, Lady Doreen Browne. He was educated at Eton College and Brasenose College, Oxford. He served in the Coldstream Guards, rising to the rank of Captain and fought in France in the Second World War from 1943.
He inherited the barony of Brabourne upon the death of his brother, Lieutenant Norton Cecil Michael Knatchbull, 6th Baron Brabourne (11 February 1922 – 15 September 1943). Lieutenant Knatchbull, served in the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War during which time he was wounded and captured by the Germans in Italy in 1943. On his way to captivity in Germany, he tried to escape from the prison train at Bronzolo, a village in South Tyrol, together with Lt Arnold Guy Vivian, a fellow officer in the 6th Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Both were recaptured and executed by the SS in Bronzolo on 15 September 1943. Since Lord Brabourne died unmarried, his titles passed to his younger brother, John Knatchbull, who became the 7th Lord Brabourne.
On 26 October 1946, at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, at the age of 21, he married the Honourable Patricia Mountbatten, elder daughter and heiress of Viscount Mountbatten, later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. His best man was Squadron Leader Charles Harris-St.John. Lord and Lady Brabourne were among the few married couples both of whom held peerages in their own right.
Lord Brabourne was in the boat which was blown up by the IRA off the shores of Sligo in 1979, killing his father-in-law, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, who had taken family members out for a sail from his nearby estate; his fourteen-year-old son Nicholas Knatchbull; his mother, the Dowager Baroness Brabourne;, and a local boy, Paul Maxwell, from County Fermanagh.
Brabourne, his wife, and his son Timothy (Nicholas' twin brother) were injured, but survived the attack.
They had seven children, including:
- Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne (b. 8 October 1947), married Penelope Eastwood and has issue.
- Hon. Nicholas Timothy Charles Knatchbull (18 November 1964 – 27 August 1979), killed, aged 14, by a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb.
Lord Brabourne served as a governor of various schools, including: Norton Knatchbull School from 1947 to 2000, Wye Agricultural College from 1955 to 2000, and Gordonstoun School from 1964 to 1994. He was also a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Kent from 1993 to 1999.
He died in 2005 at his home in Kent at the age of 80.
References and notes
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lord Brabourne
- John Brabourne at the Internet Movie Database
- mountbattenofburma.com - Tribute & Memorial web-site to Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|