John Stewart-Murray, 8th Duke of Atholl

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The Duke of Atholl
Duke of Atholl arms.svg
Nickname(s) Bardie (short for Tullibardine)
Born 15 December 1871
Blair Castle, Perthshire
Died 16 March 1942 (aged 70)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 50 years
Rank Acting Brigadier-General
Unit Royal Horse Guards
Scottish Horse
Commands held The Scottish Horse Brigade
Battles/wars Battle of Khartoum
The Battle of Atbara
The Second Boer War
The First World War
Awards Order of the Thistle
GCVO
Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Privy Counsellor
Aide-de-camp
Other work Unionist Member of Parliament
Lord Chamberlain

Colonel John George Stewart-Murray, 8th Duke of Atholl KT GCVO CB DSO PC ADC (15 December 1871 – 16 March 1942), styled Marquess of Tullibardine until 1917, was a Scottish soldier and Unionist politician.

Early life[edit]

Styled Marquess of Tullibardine from birth, he was born at Blair Castle, Perthshire, the second but eldest surviving son of John Stewart-Murray, 7th Duke of Atholl, by Louisa, daughter of Sir Thomas Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 7th Baronet.[1] He learned to speak Gaelic before English[citation needed] and was subsequently educated at Eton.[1]

Military career[edit]

Service in the Royal Horse Guards[edit]

He was commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards with the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1892 and was promoted to Lieutenant a year later. He served in Kitchener's expedition to the Sudan, fighting at the Battle of Khartoum and the Battle of Atbara. He was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 15 November 1898, and rose to the rank of Captain a year later.

Boer War[edit]

In November 1900 he was given the rank of brevet Major in the Royal Horse Guards,[2] and asked by Lord Kitchener, whom he had served under on the Omdurman Campaign, to raise a regiment of Scotsmen in South Africa, called The Scottish Horse. The regiment was raised quickly and soon saw active service in the Western Transvaal. A second regiment of Scottish Horse was raised from troops recruited by The 7th Duke of Atholl and a permanent headquarters was set up to supply both of these regiments, with Atholl in command but with subordinate commanding officers in the field in charge of each of the Regiments. This success continued until the Scottish Horse was a whole brigade by the end of the Second Boer War. In August 1901 Lord Tullibardine received the local rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in South Africa whilst commanding the Scottish Horse,[3] and in 1903 he was promoted to the substantive rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army. The following year he was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).

First World War[edit]

In the Great War Atholl commanded a Brigade of a Yeomanry Regiment and took them to fight dismounted (without horses) in the Dardanelles campaign against the Turks. He gained the rank of Temporary Brigadier-General in 1918.

Further service[edit]

During the Second World War, despite being seventy years old, Atholl joined the Home Guard and reportedly took turns as sentry officer on duty in Whitehall. He remained closely involved with the Scottish Horse, remaining in the post of Colonel Commandant until 1919 and Honorary Colonel from 1920 until his death in 1942. He was key in establishing a Scottish National War Memorial[4] after World War I in Edinburgh Castle and his papers relating to this are retained by the National Library of Scotland.[5]

Political career[edit]

As Marquess of Tullibardine, Atholl was elected as Unionist Member of Parliament for West Perthshire at the January 1910 general election and served in the Commons until 1917, when he succeeded his father and took his seat in the House of Lords as the 8th Duke of Atholl.[1][6] In 1918 he was made a Knight of the Thistle,[7] and then served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland until 1920.[1] In November 1921 he was sworn of the Privy Council[8] and appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household by David Lloyd George,[9] a post he held until the coalition government fell in October of the following year.[10]

Apart from his military and political careers Atholl served as Grand Master of Scottish Freemasons between 1908 and 1913 and as an Aide-de-camp to King George V between 1920 and 1931. He was granted the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh. According to his wife's autobiography Working Partnership (1958), Atholl was considered a possible contender for the crown of Albania after a chance meeting with a delegation in Florence who were impressed with his personality.[11]

Lottery[edit]

In 1932 Atholl came to national attention when he launched a lottery in an attempt to stop money going overseas to the Irish Free State Hospitals Sweepstakes. The money this scheme raised was given to British charities, mainly hospitals, but in 1933 he was prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Edward Hale Tindal Atkinson, for promoting an unlawful lottery. Despite this, Atholl's lottery activities were admired and seen by many British people as being patriotic.[12]

Family life[edit]

While still Marquess of Tullibardine, Atholl married Katharine Ramsay, daughter of Sir James Ramsay, 10th Baronet, at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, on 20 July 1899. His wife went on to have a long political career in her own right in local government, in the House of Commons, and as a government minister.[13] They had no children. Atholl died on 16 March 1942, aged 70, and was succeeded by his youngest brother, James Stewart-Murray. His widow, Katharine, Duchess of Atholl, died in October 1960, aged 85.[1]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Erskine
Member of Parliament for Perthshire West
1910–1917
Succeeded by
Archibald Stirling
Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Sandhurst
Lord Chamberlain
1921–1922
Succeeded by
The Earl of Cromer
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Atholl
Lord Lieutenant of Perthshire
1917–1942
Succeeded by
Lord Kinnaird
Military offices
Preceded by
Regiment raised by
8th Duke of Atholl
Colonel Commandant/
Honorary Colonel of the
Scottish Horse

1901–1919
1920–1942
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Atholl DBE DL
Masonic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Gibson-Carmichael
Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland

1909–1913
Succeeded by
Robert King Stewart
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Stewart-Murray
Duke of Atholl
1917–1942
Succeeded by
James Stewart-Murray
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Stewart-Murray
Baron Glenlyon
1917 – 1942
Succeeded by
James Stewart-Murray