James Thomas, 1st Viscount Cilcennin

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The Viscount Cilcennin

First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
31 October 1951 – 2 September 1956
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
Preceded byThe Lord Pakenham
Succeeded byThe Viscount Hailsham
Personal details
Born13 October 1903 (1903-10-13)
Died13 July 1960 (1960-07-14) (aged 56)
Political partyConservative
Alma materOriel College, Oxford

James Purdon Lewes Thomas, 1st Viscount Cilcennin, PC (pronounced "Kilkennin"; 13 October 1903 – 13 July 1960), sometimes known as Jim Thomas, was a British Conservative politician. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty between 1951 and 1956.

Background and education[edit]

Thomas was the son of James Lewes Thomas, JP, Caeglas, Llandilo, Carmarthenshire, and Anne Louisa, daughter of Commander George Purdon. He was educated at Rugby and Oriel College, Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

Thomas was private secretary to Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party, between 1929 and 1931.[1] The latter year he was elected Member of Parliament for Hereford.[1][2] He was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Dominions Secretary, James Henry Thomas, between 1932 and 1935, to the Colonial Secretary, Thomas and from 1936 William Ormsby-Gore, between 1935 and 1937, and to the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, between 1937 and Eden's resignation in 1938. He entered the government as a Lord of the Treasury under Neville Chamberlain in 1939, an office he retained when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940. In 1940 he was also PPS to the War Secretary.

In 1943 Churchill appointed Thomas Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, which he remained until 1945.[1] When Churchill returned as Prime Minister in 1951, Thomas was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.[3] He left the House of Commons in 1955 and was raised to the peerage as Viscount Cilcennin, of Hereford in the County of Hereford, in early 1956 (the title was pronounced "Kilkennin").[4] He continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until September 1956, when he resigned.[1] In 1957 he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire,[5] a post he held until his early death three years later.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Cilcennin never married. He died in July 1960, aged 56, when the title became extinct.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f thepeerage.com James Purdon Lewes Thomas, 1st and last Viscount Cilcennin
  2. ^ leighrayment.com House of Commons: Haslemere to Herefordshire
  3. ^ "No. 39382". The London Gazette. 13 November 1951. p. 5919.
  4. ^ "No. 40689". The London Gazette. 20 January 1956. p. 419.
  5. ^ "No. 41171". The London Gazette. 10 September 1957. p. 5287.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frank Owen
Member of Parliament for Hereford
Succeeded by
David Gibson-Watt
Political offices
Preceded by
George Hall
Financial Secretary to the Admiralty
Succeeded by
John Dugdale
(as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty)
Preceded by
The Lord Pakenham
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
The Viscount Hailsham
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Richard Cotterell, Bt
Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire
Succeeded by
John Francis Maclean
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Viscount Cilcennin