Arthur Hope, 2nd Baron Rankeillour

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Rankeillour
Arthur Oswald James Hope.jpg
Arthur Hope in 1940
Governor of Madras Presidency
In office
12 March 1940 – 26 February 1946
Governor-General The Marquess of Linlithgow
The Earl Wavell
Preceded by John Erskine, Lord Erskine
Succeeded by Sir Henry Foley Knight
As Acting Governor
Personal details
Born 7 May 1897
Marylebone, London, England
Died 26 May 1958 (aged 61)
Surrey, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Grizel Gilmour (1919-58)

Arthur Oswald James Hope, 2nd Baron Rankeillour GCIE MC (7 May 1897 – 26 May 1958) was a British politician, soldier and administrator. He was a Conservative and served as Member of Parliament for Nuneaton from 1924 to 1929 and for Birmingham Aston from 1931 to 1939, after which he was Governor of the Madras Presidency of British India from 1940 to 1946.

Hope was born to the first Lord Rankeillour in 1897 and had his early education in England. He served with distinction in France during the First World War and entered public life soon after his military service was over.

Hope married Grizel Gilmour in 1919 and had four daughters. He died on 26 May 1958, nineteen days after his 61st birthday.

Early life[edit]

Arthur Oswald James Hope was born to James Fitzalan Hope, 1st Baron Rankeillour, by his marriage to Mabel Ellen Riddell, at Marylebone, England on 7 May 1897.[1] His father had served as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.[1] Arthur was the eldest of four children, the others being Henry John Hope, 3rd Baron Rankeillour (1899–1967), Joan Mary Hope, and Richard Frederick Hope (1901–1964).[2]

Hope was educated at The Oratory School and at Sandhurst.[3] He joined the Coldstream Guards in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War and rose to be a Captain.[1] He was wounded in action in France and was mentioned in dispatches.[3] He was awarded the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre.[1]

Public life[edit]

Hope left the army at the conclusion of the First World War and entered public life. He joined the Conservative Party and at the 1924 general election was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom from the Nuneaton constituency in Warwickshire.[1] Hope served a total of fourteen years in the House of Commons, representing Nuneaton from 1924 to 1929 and Birmingham Aston from 1931 to 1940.[1] At the 1935 election, he beat his nearest rival by a margin of 10,355 votes.[1] He was still a member of the House of Commons when appointed as Governor of Madras but gave up his seat, thereby causing a by-election.[1]

Hope served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Colonel George Lane Fox,[3] Secretary for Mines from 1924 to 1926[3] and was a whip from 1935 to 1946,[1][3] first as an unpaid Assistant Whip in 1935,[3] then as an unpaid Lord of the Treasury from 1935 to 1937, as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from May 1937 to October 1937[1][3] and finally as Treasurer of the Household from 1937 to 1939.[1]

He was also a fine cricketer and played a first-class match for the British Army against Cambridge University at Fenners Ground on 7 June 1926.[4]

As Governor of Madras[edit]

Hope was appointed Governor of Madras in 1940[1] and succeeded John Erskine, Lord Erskine on 12 March 1940.

Hope served as the Governor throughout the Second World War. Following the Japanese conquest of Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there were strong apprehensions about possible Japanese attacks on coastal Indian cities. On 18 April 1942, in a secret communication to Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India, Hope described reports of a Japanese force heading towards India.[5] There were Japanese air raids on the coastal towns of Vizagapatam and Cocanada on 6 April 1942 followed by sea attacks on Madras port.[5] Hope responded by evacuating commercial and administrative establishments and business offices along the Madras coast and moving them inland.[5][6]

Madras was in a state of emergency when Hope took over, as the last elected government had resigned in October 1939. The Quit India Movement was started in 1942 and an anti-British campaign was launched. The provincial governments responded with a crackdown. Hope imposed censorship of newspapers in the Presidency and reporting on internal politics was suppressed.[7] In protest against the government's actions, newspapers all over India were suspended for a day.[7] Hope responded by withdrawing special privileges accorded to striking newspapers.[7]

The government also imposed censorship of Indian-language films.[6] A provincial propaganda officer, G. D. B. Harvey was appointed to promote propaganda films in support of the British war effort.[6] In 1943, the government issued an order under the Defence of India rules restricting the size of indigenously made films to 11,000 feet.[6]

In the beginning, the provincial leadership of the Indian National Congress under Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari was strongly opposed to India's forcible involvement in the Second World War[8] but later, Rajagopalachari changed his mind and spoke in support of the British war effort even while his colleagues in New Delhi were still agitating against the war.[8]

Due to economic reasons, the different battalions of the Madras Regiment had been disbanded in stages.[9] With the transferring of the 1st Battalion in 1928, the Madras Regiment ceased to exist.[9] When Hope became governor in 1940, he tried to revive the Madras Regiment and canvassed for the same.[10]

I have always felt reading the history of the Madras army in the old days that there must be something fundamentally wrong in ignoring the Madrasis in recent years. When you read the history of the past from 1750 onwards, you will see that the Madras troops did a great part of the fighting in India in those days and were nearly always successful.

It only required a good lever and a good office to bring a Madrasi back to his proper place and, therefore, almost from the first week that I was in the country, I have impressed on the late Commander-in-chief and his successor the fact that Madrasis were as good as, if not better, than anybody else and they have fought, are fighting and would fight again, as well as any other people in India, or indeed in the whole world.[10]

Due to the efforts of Hope, the Madras Regiment was revived in 1942 and Hope was appointed the regiment's first Colonel-in-chief.[10] A training centre was raised at Madukkarai in Coimbatore district in July 1942[10] and the regiment fought with distinction in the Burma campaign.[11]

Hope's tenure came to an end on 26 February 1946 and he was succeeded by Henry Foley Knight who served as the Acting Governor till the arrival of Hope's designated successor Archibald Edward Nye. In 1945, Hope inaugurated a polytechnic college built by G. D. Naidu[12] in Coimbatore which was later named "Arthur Hope Polytechnic" in his honour.[13][14] The polytechnic was later upgraded to a college of science and technology and renamed Government College of Science and Technology in 1950. Though the college was renamed and moved to a new campus, the area where it was originally located is still being called as "Hope College".[15]


Hope was appointed to the Order of the Indian Empire as a Knight Grand Commander in 1939 just before his appointment as Governor of Madras.[16][17] Arthur Hope succeeded to the barony on the death of his father, the 1st Baron on 14 February 1949.[18]


Hope returned to the United Kingdom in 1946. He died on 26 May 1958 at the age of 61.


On 2 June 1919, at the age of 22, Hope married Grizel Gilmour, the second daughter of Brigadier-General Sir Robert Gordon Gilmour (1857–1939) and Lady Susan Lygon (1870–1962).[2] The couple had four daughters:[2]

  • Bridget Mary Hope (b. 1920)
  • Jean Margaret Hope (b. 1923)
  • Alison Mary Hope (b. 1927)
  • Barbara Mary Hope (b. 1930)

On Hope's death in 1958, due to the absence of a male heir, the barony passed on to his brother, Henry John Hope (1899–1967).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Next Governor of Madras: Appointment of Captain Hope". The Glasgow Herald. 25 March 1939. 
  2. ^ a b c "Arthur Oswald James Hope, 2nd Baron Rankeillour". John Cardinal. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Peter Beauclerk Dewar (2001). Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain: together with members of the titled and non-titled contemporary establishment, Volume 1. Burke's Peerage. p. 683. ISBN 0971196605, ISBN 978-0-9711966-0-5. 
  4. ^ "Cambridge University vs Army, University Match 1926 :Scorecard". CricketArchive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ a b c Stanley Wolpert (2009). Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford University Press US. p. 37. ISBN 0195393945, ISBN 978-0-19-539394-1. 
  6. ^ a b c d S. Theodore Baskaran (2006). "War relic". Frontline. 23 (19). 
  7. ^ a b c "NEWSPAPERS IN INDIA SUSPEND FOR ONE DAY; Protest Suppression of Items of Internal Politics". The New York Times. 7 January 1943. 
  8. ^ a b Stanley Wolpert (2009). Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford University Press US. p. 38. ISBN 0195393945, ISBN 978-0-19-539394-1. 
  9. ^ a b Gautam Sharma (1990). Valour and sacrifice: famous regiments of the Indian Army. Allied Publishers. p. 53. ISBN 817023140X, ISBN 978-81-7023-140-0. 
  10. ^ a b c d Gautam Sharma (1990). Valour and sacrifice: famous regiments of the Indian Army. Allied Publishers. p. 54. ISBN 817023140X, ISBN 978-81-7023-140-0. 
  11. ^ Gautam Sharma (1990). Valour and sacrifice: famous regiments of the Indian Army. Allied Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 817023140X, ISBN 978-81-7023-140-0. 
  12. ^ "Coimbatore shows the way in skill training". The Hindu. 7 October 2015. 
  13. ^ A. K. Bag (1997). History of Technology in India: From 1801 to 1947 A.D, Volume 3. Indian National Science Academy. p. 1020. 
  14. ^ "Memories of Coimbatore - Meet the headmaster". The Hindu. 30 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Bridge work to be over in May". The Hindu. 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Who was who: a companion to Who's who, containing the biographies of those who died, Volume 5. A. & C. Black. 1961. p. 905. 
  17. ^ Times of India directory & yearbook including who's who, Volume 32. Bennett, Coleman & Co. 1945. p. 1257. 
  18. ^ Joseph Whitaker (1958). An Almanack for the year of our Lord. Whitaker's Almanack. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Herbert Willison
Member of Parliament for Nuneaton
Succeeded by
Francis Smith
Preceded by
John Strachey
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Aston
Succeeded by
Edward Orlando Kellett
Political offices
Preceded by
George Davies
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Ronald Cross
Preceded by
Sir Lambert Ward
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Charles Waterhouse
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Fitzalan Hope
Baron Rankeillour
Succeeded by
Henry John Hope