William Glynne Charles Gladstone

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For other people named Gladstone, see Gladstone (disambiguation).
William Gladstone

William Glynne Charles Gladstone (14 July 1885 – 13 April 1915) was a Liberal Party politician in the United Kingdom, and the last of four generations of Gladstones to serve in the House of Commons, the first being his great-grandfather Sir John Gladstone(s) (1764–1851).[1] His body was the last to be officially repatriated during World War I.[2]

Early life[edit]

Gladstone was born on 14 July 1885.[3] His father, William Henry Gladstone (1840–1892), was the eldest son of the Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and his wife Catherine, and his mother was the Hon. Gertrude Gladstone, daughter of Charles Stuart, 12th Lord Blantyre. He inherited from his father the 18th-century Hawarden Castle which had belonged to the family of his grandmother's brother Sir Stephen Glynne, the 9th and last baronet.[4]

He was educated at home before attending Eton and then New College, Oxford. He was president of the Oxford Union in 1907[5] and graduated with a second class degree.[6]


Political career[edit]

In 1909, Gladstone was the Assistant Private Secretary to John Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen who was serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.[6] In 1911, he served a few months at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. as an Honorary Attaché[7] to Lord Bryce.[6]

He stood as the Liberal Party candidate in the Kilmarnock Burghs by-election held on 26 September 1911 and was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP).[8]

Kilmarnock District by-election, 1911[9]


Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Glynne Charles Gladstone 6,923 48.3 -12.6
Conservative John David Rees 4,637 32.4 -6.7
Labour Thomas McKerrell 2,761 19.3 n/a
Majority 2,286 15.9 -5.9
Turnout 14,321
Liberal hold Swing -3.0

A whip in Asquith's government, he served only 4 years in Parliament.

Military service[edit]

Gladstone was commissioned into the British Army on 15 August 1914 as a second lieutenant (on probation);[2][10] he had originally wished to enlist as a private but was advised to become an officer.[5] He joined the 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers[11] and underwent training at Wrexham before going out to France in March 1915.[6] He first came under fire on 23 March.[6] His commission was confirmed and he was promoted to lieutenant on 7 April 1915.[12]


On 13 April 1915,[13] he was killed in action near Laventie,[14] three weeks after arriving in France.[2] He was shot by a sniper.[6] Having initially been buried in France, special permission was granted by King George V for his body to be brought back to the United Kingdom.[2] Nine days after his death,[2] his body was disinterred and re-buried in the churchyard of St Deiniol's, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales.[15] Also commemorated on the gravestone is his cousin William Herbert Gladstone, MC, son of Stephen and Annie Gladstone, killed in action in 1918.

As a memorial, a rood was installed at St Deiniol's, Hawarden and a new theatre and wards at Chester Royal Infirmary.

After his death, the estate was purchased by an uncle Henry Gladstone, the third son (and seventh child) of William and Catherine.[16] Herbert Gladstone, another uncle, wrote a memoir of him that was published in 1918.[17]


On 8 July 1911, Gladstone was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire.[18] This appointment also came with the title of Custos Rotulorum of Flintshire.


  1. ^ Dictionary of National Biography: Gladstone, Sir John, 1st Baronet
  2. ^ a b c d e Van Emden, Richard (7 June 2012). The quick and the dead. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 131–133. ISBN 978-1408822456. 
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "K" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  4. ^ Dictionary of National Biography: Gladstone, Herbert John
  5. ^ a b Timpson, Trevor (17 January 2014). "WW1: Can we really know the Lost Generation?". BBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "WILLIAM G. C. GLADSTONE". The Spectator. 28 June 1918. pp. 14–15. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "W G C Gladstone an MP". New York Times. 28 September 1911. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28536. p. 7121. 29 September 1911. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  9. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F. W. S. (1974)
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28918. p. 7694. 29 September 1914. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29102. pp. 2638–2640. 16 March 1915. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29137. p. 3992. 20 April 1915. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  13. ^ CWGC entry
  14. ^ Bebbington, David; Swift, Roger (2000). Gladstone centenary essays (1. publ. ed.). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780853239253. 
  15. ^ "Hawarden - 1914-1918 War Memorial". Clwyd Family History Society. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Dictionary of National Biography: Gladstone, Henry Neville
  17. ^ Gladstone, Herbert John (1918). William G. C. Gladstone: a Memoir. Nisbet. 
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28512. p. 5168. 11 July 1911. Retrieved 17 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Adam Rolland Rainy
Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock Burghs
Succeeded by
Alexander Shaw
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Hugh Robert Hughes
Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire
Succeeded by
Henry Neville Gladstone