Frederick Martin (politician)

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Frederick Martin in 1922

Frederick Martin CBE (23 October 1882 – 18 January 1950) was a Scottish Liberal, later Labour politician and journalist.

Family and education[edit]

Martin was born in Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, the third son of William Martin and Agnes Clark. He was educated at Peterhead Academy. He married Flora Rennie and they had two daughters.[1]

Early career[edit]

Martin became a journalist, working on the Aberdeen Free Press and Morning Post. In 1914 he joined the 5th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He served until 1915 but became blind during his period of training and was hospitalised in St Dunstans Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors.

Liberal politics[edit]

Martin was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for East Aberdeenshire at the 1922 general election.

General Election 1922: Aberdeen and Kincardine East[2] Electorate 29,079
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Frederick Martin 8,018 60.5
National Liberal Sir William Henry Cowan 5,227 39.5
Majority 21.0
Turnout 45.5
Liberal gain from National Liberal Swing

It was rare for anyone with a disability to get elected to Parliament but his blindness during war service brought him a great deal of personal sympathy.[3] He held the seat at the 1923 general election

General Election 1923: Aberdeen and Kincardine East[4] Electorate 27,318
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Frederick Martin 8,793 55.9 -4.6
Unionist Falconer Lewis Wallace 6,949 44.1 +4.6
Majority 1,844 11.8
Turnout 15,742 57.6 -9.2
Liberal hold Swing -4.6

but was defeated in 1924 when he faced a three-cornered contest.

General Election 1924: Aberdeen and Kincardine East[5] Electorate 27,026
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Robert John Graham Boothby 7,363 46.2 +2.1
Liberal Frederick Martin 4,680 29.4 -26.5
Labour William Sloan Cormack 3,899 24.4 n/a
Majority 2,683 16.8 28.6
Turnout 15,942 59.0 +1.4
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing +14.3

He tried unsuccessfully to re-enter Parliament as Liberal candidate for Central Aberdeenshire at the 1929 general election.

General Election 1929 Electorate 39,182[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Robert Workman Smith 10,773 43.6 -0.8
Liberal Frederick Martin 9,540 38.7 +1.5
Labour A.F. Macintosh 4,357 17.7 -0.7
Majority 1,233 4.9 -2.3
Turnout 63.0
Unionist hold Swing -1.2

Labour[edit]

After the 1929 general election, Martin defected from the Liberals to Labour, succumbing to a feeling that this was the end of the line for the old Liberal party. Despite the party having fought a spirited and radical campaign under the leadership of David Lloyd George it had failed to break back into power. According to one historian, Martin was one of a number of MPs, former MPs and candidates who could no longer imagine the circumstances in which the party could ever succeed again.[7] He stood for Parliament, now in the Labour interest, contesting East Aberdeenshire at the general elections of 1931

General Election 1931: Aberdeen and Kincardine East[8] Electorate 34,527
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Robert John Graham Boothby 16,396 72.2
Labour Frederick Martin 6,299 27.8
Majority 10,097 44.4
Turnout 22,695 80.5
Unionist hold Swing

and 1935.

General Election 1935: Aberdeen and Kincardine East[9] Electorate 35,839
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Robert John Graham Boothby 12,748 57.0
Labour Frederick Martin 9,627 43.0
Majority 3,121 14.0
Turnout 22,375 62.4
Unionist hold Swing

He remained as Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for a general election expected to take place in 1939 or 1940. However, by the time the next election came in 1945, he had been replaced as candidate.[10]

Local government[edit]

However Martin did achieve political success at local government level. He served as Vice-Chairman of Aberdeenshire Education Authority from 1925–30. In 1929 he was elected a member of Aberdeenshire County Council and was Chairman of the Public Health Committee from 1932–45 and Chairman of the Education Committee, 1946–47. He was Vice-Convener (equivalent to vice-chairman) of the County between 1946 and 1949, when he became Convener. He died in office.[1]

Honours[edit]

Martin was awarded the CBE in 1942[11] and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in 1949.[12]

Death[edit]

Martin died at his home in Mintlaw in Aberdeenshire on 18 January 1950, aged 67.[13]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Henry Cowan
Member of Parliament for Aberdeen and Kincardine East
19221924
Succeeded by
Robert Boothby

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Who was Who, OUP 2007
  2. ^ The Times, 17 November 1922
  3. ^ The Times, 18 January 1924
  4. ^ The Times, 8 December 1923
  5. ^ Oliver & Boyd's Edinburgh Almanac, 1927
  6. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949, F W S Craig
  7. ^ Trevor Wilson, The Downfall of the Liberal Party; Cornell University Press, 1966 p351
  8. ^ http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge31/i01.htm
  9. ^ http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge35/i01.htm
  10. ^ Report of the Annual Conference of the Labour Party, 1939
  11. ^ "No. 39863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1942. p. 2489. 
  12. ^ "No. 38577". The London Gazette. 1 April 1949. p. 1655. 
  13. ^ The Times, 24 January 1950