Edward Wickham

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Lieutenant-Colonel
Edward Wickham
MVO
Member of Parliament
for Taunton
In office
1935–1945
Preceded by Andrew Hamilton Gault
Succeeded by Victor Collins
Personal details
Born (1890-05-04)4 May 1890
Died 25 August 1957(1957-08-25) (aged 67)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1910–1935
Rank British Army OF-4.svg Lieutenant colonel
Unit Central India Horse
Battles/wars World War I

Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Thomas Ruscombe Wickham MVO (4 May 1890 – 25 August 1957) was a Conservative Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Taunton from 1935 until 1945. He had previously worked in India, as an officer in the British Indian Army, and later a member of the Political Department. He accompanied the Shah of Persia and the King of Afghanistan during their respective tours of Europe. During his time as an MP, he served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to two Secretaries of State for War, led a delegation to Australia and New Zealand, and visited a concentration camp soon after the Second World War.

Life and career[edit]

Military career[edit]

Edward Thomas Ruscombe Wickham was born on 4 May 1890, to William James Richard Wickham, an officer in the British Indian Army, and his wife Mary Rose.[1] In 1910, he graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was assigned to the Indian Army as a second lieutenant.[2] Two years later, serving in the 39th King George's Own Central India Horse Regiment, he was promoted to lieutenant.[3] During the First World War, he was made a temporary captain, and then later a full captain, from September 1915, although it was not until the following September that he received the pay and allowances of the rank.[4] After the First World War, he joined the Indian Political Department,[5] and was temporarily granted the rank of lieutenant colonel "while specially employed" between August 1919 until November of the same year,[6][7] and then again from December 1919 through to May 1921.[8] In 1920, he was awarded the Order of the Lion and the Sun, 3rd Class by the Shah of Persia.[9] In March 1928, ranking a major, he was appointed as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).[10] He was the officer in attendance for the Shah of Persia during his tour of Europe, and adopted the same role later for the King of Afghanistan, Amānullāh Khān.[5] He later became the Deputy Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, his final role in India.[5] He retired from the Army in January 1935, at which point he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.[11]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Hamilton Gault, the standing member of parliament (MP) for Taunton announced that he would not seek re-election in the 1935 general election, having served as the constituency's MP for the previous ten years. The Taunton branch of the Conservative Party invited Wickham, who was living in London at the time, to contest the election for them.[12] Despite his residence, Wickham was described as coming from an "old Somerset family", and he confirmed that if he was elected, he would move to Taunton.[13] The Labour Party was the only other party to contest the election, putting forward James Lunnon, who had previously acted as an organising secretary for the Agricultural Workers Union.[14] The main topics during the election were agriculture and armament.[15] The election was held on Thursday 14 November, and Wickham was returned with a majority of 8,224, holding the seat for the Conservative Party.[16]

During his time in office, Wickham first addressed the House of Commons in March 1937, to speak about foreign policy.[17] He spoke at length at the subject again the following year.[18] He was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Florence Horsbrugh in the Ministry of Health in July 1939,[19] and in November 1939 switched to the same role under the Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha.[20] When, six weeks later, Hore-Belisha resigned from his post, Wickham also left his position in the War Office.[21] He was appointed to another Parliamentary Private Secretary role in June 1940, assisting Victor Warrender, the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty.[22] Eight months later, he once took on the role under the Secretary of State for War, this time David Margesson.[23] In 1944 he led a parliamentary delegation to Australia and New Zealand,[1] and the following year visited the Buchenwald concentration camp.[24]

General elections had been suspended during the Second World War, and after Wickham's election in 1935, another one was not held until 1945. He again stood for the Conservative Party, with Victor Collins contesting the seat for Labour. During the election, which was a landslide victory for the Labour Party, the Conservatives lost 182 seats, including that of Taunton. Wickham was defeated by a majority of 2,118 votes.[24] His last address to the House of Commons had been in May 1945, on the subject of air services to Australia and India.[17] The following year, he announced that he would not contest the Taunton seat at the next election.[25]

Later life[edit]

Wickham later acted as the vice-chairman of the British Van Heusen Company, and the director of J. & J. Ashton Ltd. He died at the age of 67 on 25 August 1957.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "WICKHAM, Lt-Col Edward Thomas Ruscombe". Who Was Who. A & C Black. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "No. 28333". The London Gazette. 28 January 1910. p. 693. 
  3. ^ "No. 28619". The London Gazette. 18 June 1912. p. 4387. 
  4. ^ "No. 30011". The London Gazette. 6 April 1917. p. 3341. 
  5. ^ a b c "To Help War Minister". Lancashire Evening Post. 25 January 1941. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "No. 31567". The London Gazette. 23 September 1919. p. 11887. 
  7. ^ "No. 31749". The London Gazette. 20 January 1920. p. 954. 
  8. ^ "No. 32732". The London Gazette. 25 July 1922. p. 5525. 
  9. ^ "No. 31736". The London Gazette. 13 January 1920. p. 705. 
  10. ^ "No. 14428". The Edinburgh Gazette. 23 March 1928. p. 350. 
  11. ^ "No. 34125". The London Gazette. 18 January 1935. p. 461. 
  12. ^ "New Conservative Candidate". Western Daily Press. 4 February 1935. Retrieved 13 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Conservatives of Taunton". Western Daily Press. 11 February 1935. Retrieved 13 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "Straight Fight at Taunton". Western Daily Press. 26 October 1935. Retrieved 13 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ "Taunton and the Election". Taunton Courier. 13 November 1935. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "Election of Lieut-Colonel E. T. R. Wickham". Taunton Courier. 20 November 1935. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ a b "Lieut-Colonel Edward Wickham". Hansard 1803–2005. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Lieut-Colonel Edward Wickham: 1938 contributions". Hansard 1803–2005. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "Col. Wickham's Appointment". Taunton Courier. 29 July 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  20. ^ "M.P. for Taunton". Western Morning News. 27 November 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ "Col. Wickham and Mr. Hore-Belisha". Taunton Courier. 27 January 1940. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  22. ^ "Colonel Wickham's New Post". Taunton Courier. 8 June 1940. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  23. ^ "War Office Post for Col. Wickham, M.P.". Taunton Courier. 8 February 1941. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  24. ^ a b "First Labour Win in Taunton Division". Taunton Courier. 28 July 1945. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  25. ^ "Col. Tom Wickham". Taunton Courier. 5 January 1946. Retrieved 14 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Andrew Hamilton Gault
Member of Parliament for Taunton
19351945
Succeeded by
Victor Collins