W. D. Smiles

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Lt Col Sir Walter Dorling Smiles CIE DSO DL (8 November 1883 – 31 January 1953) was a Northern Irish politician.

Sir Walter was the son of William Holmes Smiles, director of Belfast Ropeworks, and grandson of Samuel Smiles. Sir Walter served during the First World War and, in the 1920s, managed a tea estate in Assam, there he became involved in local government and was a member of the Assam Legislative Council.

He was Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Blackburn from 1931 to 1945. Smiles was re-elected in 1935 but stood for Down in Northern Ireland at the 1945 Westminster election, as a Unionist. The two-seat constituency was split in 1950 into North Down and South Down. Smiles won North Down that year and remained its MP until his death in 1953; he lost his life in the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria off Larne Lough, in the Great Storm. He was succeeded by his daughter, Patricia Ford. He was the great-grandfather of explorer Bear Grylls.[1]


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mary Agnes Hamilton
Thomas Harry Gill
Member of Parliament for Blackburn
With: George Sampson Elliston
Succeeded by
Barbara Castle
John Edwards
Preceded by
James Little
Viscount Castlereagh
Member of Parliament for Down
With: James Little 1945–1946
C. H. Mullan 1946–1950
Constituency divided
New constituency Member of Parliament for Down, North
Succeeded by
Patricia Ford