Frederick Guest

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The Right Honourable
Frederick Guest
CBE DSO
Frederick Edward Guest old photo-crop.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Plymouth Drake
In office
1931–1937
Preceded by James Moses
Succeeded by Henry Guest
Secretary of State for Air
In office
1 April 1921 – 19 October 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Winston Churchill
Succeeded by Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt
Personal details
Born Frederick Edward Guest
14 June 1875 (1875-06-14)
London
Died 28 April 1937(1937-04-28) (aged 61)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Conservative
Spouse(s) Amy Phipps (m. 1905)
Children Winston F. C. Guest
Raymond R. Guest
Diana Guest Manning
Parents Baron Wimborne
Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill
Relatives Ivor Guest (brother)
Henry Guest (brother)
Oscar Guest (brother)
Viscount Chelmsford (brother-in-law)
Winston Churchill (cousin)
Henry Phipps (father-in-law)
Awards Queen's South Africa Medal
Legion of Honour
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch
Years of service
  • 1894–1906
Rank Captain
Battles/wars

Frederick Edward Guest, CBE, DSO, PC (14 June 1875 – 28 April 1937), often known as Freddie Guest, was a British politician best known for being Chief Whip of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's Coalition Liberal Party, 1917–1921. He was also Secretary of State for Air between 1921 and 1922. He won the Bronze medal with the British polo team in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Early life[edit]

Frederick Edward Guest was born in London, the third son of Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne (1835–1914) and Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill (1847–1927). The Guest family had made its fortune in the iron and steel industry in the 18th and 19th centuries and had married into the aristocracy. The Wimbornes were Conservatives who had been friends of Benjamin Disraeli. His mother was the eldest daughter of the John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.[1]

Guest's four brothers were also politically active, notably Ivor Guest, 2nd Baron and 1st Viscount Wimborne, a junior minister and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In addition, Henry Guest and Oscar Guest were Members of Parliament (MPs), while Lionel Guest (1880–1935) was a member of the London County Council. His sister Frances Charlotte Guest (1865–1957) was married to Frederic Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, who served as Viceroy of India.

Guest was first cousin of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the son of Guest's maternal uncle, Lord Randolph Churchill, a Conservative politician. He was also the first cousin of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, the son of his eldest uncle, George Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough, as well as the first cousin of Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe, the son of his aunt, Lady Anne Emily Spencer Churchill who was married to the 7th Duke of Roxburghe. His cousin, the 8th Duke of Roxburghe, was married to American heiress Mary Goelet, the only daughter of Ogden Goelet.[1]

Career[edit]

Education and military career[edit]

Educated at Winchester, Frederick Guest chose the military profession. He was commissioned as second-lieutenant in the Infantry militia, East Surrey Regiment, and promoted to lieutenant on 7 April 1894.[2] After apprenticeship in the militia, Guest was on 15 May 1897 appointed an officer in the 1st Life Guards, and promoted to lieutenant in that regiment on 23 November 1898. He was sent to Egypt in 1899, and in late November that year was part of a Camel Corps during the operations leading to the defeat of the Khalifa (mentioned in dispatches 25 November 1899[3]). He served in South Africa during the Second Boer War from 1901, returning home in late June 1902, following the end of hostilities.[4] He was decorated for bravery, and rose to captain before retiring from active duty in 1906.

Political career[edit]

In 1904, during the controversy within the Conservative Party over adopting protectionism, Guest and other members of his family followed his cousin and close friend, Winston Churchill, into the Liberal Party in support of free trade — and perhaps also to accelerate their political careers. In 1906 Guest became private secretary to Churchill, by then a junior minister in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Liberal government. Guest attempted three times to enter the House of Commons before winning the vote in the East Dorset seat in the January 1910 general election. Although he remained unseated because of election irregularities by his constituency agent, he was reelected in December 1910. Known in the political world as "Freddie Guest," he was a popular backbencher, became a Liberal Party whip in 1911, in the same year was elected a charter member of the cross-bench Other Club of political insiders, and was appointed Treasurer of the Household (Deputy Chief Whip) in 1912.

When World War I began in August 1914, Guest returned to active service as aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France. Guest performed confidential missions for French, liaising with the War Office and with political leaders. In 1916 Guest served in the East African theatre of war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. After being invalided out of the army following serious illness, Guest resumed his political career. In May 1917 he joined Lloyd George's Coalition government as joint Patronage Secretary of the Treasury - effectively chief whip for the Coalition Liberals. On 3 December 1917 Guest sent Lloyd George a 14-page memo stating that although only around a third of Liberal MPs were staunch supporters of his predecessor H.H.Asquith, the time was not yet right to oust him from the Liberal leadership.[5]

Guest was appointed to the Privy Council in the 1920 New Year Honours,[6] entitling him to the style "The Right Honourable", and in 1921 was promoted to Secretary of State for Air, a post he held until the Coalition fell from power in October 1922. In the general election of November 1922 Guest lost his seat but in 1923 was returned for Stroud, then in 1924 for Bristol North. After losing as a Liberal in the 1929 election, he rejoined the Conservative Party, winning as a Conservative for Plymouth Drake in 1931 and remaining in this position until his death.

Polo[edit]

Olympic medal record
Men's Polo
Bronze medal – third place 1924 Paris polo

Guest competed for Great Britain in polo at the 1924 Summer Olympics.[7] The British Polo team received the Bronze Medal. He played alongside Frederick W. Barrett, Dennis Bingham and Kinnear Wise.

Guest can be found among the winners of the Roehampton Trophy. He would also lend horses to the English polo team for the International Polo Cup matches.

Family and private life[edit]

In 1905, Guest married Amy Phipps (1873–1959), daughter of American industrialist Henry Phipps (1839–1930), at St George's, Hanover Square in London.[1] Amy was prominent as a women's suffragist, philanthropist and aviation enthusiast and owned valuable property in Long Island. The couple were frequent visitors to the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. They had a daughter and two sons who became American citizens:

Apart from his political career he was an amateur motor racing driver and airplane pilot. In 1930 he became deputy master of the Guild of Air Pilots, and master in 1932. He also played polo, was a big-game hunter in East Africa, and was a celebrated man-about-town in London and New York City society. Among his homes was Villa Artemis in Palm Beach, Florida and the former du Pont estate in Roslyn, New York. He was a member of the River and Links Clubs of New York and the Piping Rock Club in Long Island. He was also a friend of the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII.[1]

Guest died from cancer in 1937, at the age of 61.[1]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "CAPTAIN F. E. GUEST DIES IN ENGLAND, 61; | Former British Air Secretary Also Known as a Soldier and Polo Player". The New York Times. 29 April 1937. Retrieved 5 January 2017. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26501. p. 1954. 6 April 1894.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27159. pp. 597–600. 30 January 1900.
  4. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36811). London. 4 July 1902. p. 9. 
  5. ^ Koss 1985, p232
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31712. p. 1. 30 December 1919.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  8. ^ "Polo, Society Figure Guest Dies In New York Hospital". Palm Beach Daily News. October 27, 1982. Retrieved 2011-03-30. Guest Jr. of Palm Beach, Frederick Guest of New York and Alexander MD Guest of New York; a daughter, Cornelia Cochrane Churchill Guest of New York; ... 
  9. ^ "Raymond Guest, 84, Ambassador, Polo Player and Breeder of Horses". New York Times. January 1, 1992. Retrieved 2011-04-13. Raymond R. Guest, a former Ambassador to Ireland who was a champion polo player and horse breeder, died yesterday in Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va. He was 84 years old and lived in King George, Va. He died of pneumonia after a long illness, his family said. ... 
  10. ^ "Elizabeth S. Polk and Raymond Guest, Poloist, Wed in Heavenly Rest Church". The New York Times. June 26, 1935. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "R. R. GUEST MARRIES MRS. ELLEN T. ASTOR". The New York Times. May 2, 1953. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Paulick Report Staff (14 June 2012). "Princess Murat, widow of Thoroughbred owner Raymond Guest, dies at 88". Horse Racing News Paulick Report. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Henry Lyell
Member of Parliament for East Dorset
1910
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Preceded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Member of Parliament for East Dorset
1910–1922
Succeeded by
Gordon Hall Caine
Preceded by
Stanley Tubbs
Member of Parliament for Stroud
1923–1924
Succeeded by
Frank Nelson
Preceded by
Walter Henry Ayles
Member of Parliament for Bristol North
1924–1929
Succeeded by
Walter Henry Ayles
Preceded by
James Moses
Member of Parliament for Plymouth Drake
1931–1937
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Political offices
Preceded by
William Dudley Ward
Treasurer of the Household
1912–1915
Succeeded by
James Hope
Preceded by
Lord Edmund Talbot
Neil James Archibald Primrose
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
with Lord Edmund Talbot

1917–1921
Succeeded by
Leslie Wilson
Charles McCurdy
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
Secretary of State for Air
1921–1922
Succeeded by
Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt