John Dalrymple, 12th Earl of Stair

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The Earl of Stair

Earl of Stair COA.svg
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Wigtownshire
In office
Preceded bySir Herbert Maxwell
Succeeded byHew Hamilton Dalrymple
Personal details
Born(1879-02-01)February 1, 1879
DiedNovember 4, 1961(1961-11-04) (aged 82)
Political partyConservative Party
Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Violet Evelyn Harford
ChildrenLady Jean Margaret Florence Dalrymple
John Aymer Dalrymple, 13th Earl of Stair
Captain The Hon. Hew North Dalrymple
The Hon. Andrew William Henry Dalrymple
Major The Hon. Colin James Dalrymple
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1898-1917
RankLieutenant Colonel
UnitScots Guards
Battles/warsSecond Boer War First World War
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Thistle
Distinguished Service Order

John James Hamilton Dalrymple, 12th Earl of Stair, KT, DSO, DL (1 February 1879 – 4 November 1961), styled Viscount Dalrymple between 1903 and 1914, was a Scottish soldier and Conservative Party, later Unionist Party, politician.

Military and political career[edit]

The son of John Dalrymple, 11th Earl of Stair, Dalrymple was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Scots Guards on 16 February 1898, and promoted to lieutenant on 11 October 1899. He fought in the Second Boer War, where he took part in the march to occupy the Boer capitals Bloemfontein (March 1900) and Pretoria (June 1900), and was present at the successive Battles of Diamond Hill (11-12 June 1900) and Bergendal (21-27 August 1900).[1]

Following the end of hostilities in early June 1902, he left Cape Town on board the SS Orotava,[2] and arrived at Southampton the next month. He later fought in the First World War. He was captured by the Germans during the Great Retreat in 1914 and remained a prisoner until 1917 when he was repatriated for medical reasons, due to degradation in his eyesight.[3] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1919, and retired the same year at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Lord Dalrymple sat as Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire from 1906 to 1914, when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. Lord Stair was later Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1927 and 1928.[4]


On 20 October 1904, Dalrymple married Violet Evelyn Harford, only daughter of Col. Frederick Henry Harford and Florence Helen Isabella Parsons, granddaughter of Lawrence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse.[5][6] They had six children:[4]

  • Lady Jean Margaret Florence Dalrymple DCVO (15 August 1905 – 3 October 2001); married Lt-Col. Arthur Niall Talbot Rankin, a Scots Guards officer in the Emergency Reserve. She was a Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1947–1982.[7]
  • John Aymer Dalrymple, 13th Earl of Stair (9 October 1906 – 26 February 1996)
  • Lady Marion Violet Dalrymple (1 February 1908 – 18 June 1995)
  • Captain The Honourable Hew North Dalrymple (27 April 1910 – 24 May 2012)
  • The Honourable Andrew William Henry Dalrymple (10 May 1914 – 25 December 1945), joint founder of Chilton Aircraft, killed in a plane crash
  • Major The Honourable Colin James Dalrymple (19 February 1920 – 12 January 2017)


  1. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  2. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Lord Stair in Switzerland". The Times (41388). London. 29 January 1917. p. 9.
  4. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3715. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  5. ^ "Lady Stair's Mother Killed". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 1 July 1931. p. 12.
  6. ^ Burke 2003, p. 3404
  7. ^ "Obituaries: Lady Jean Rankin". The Daily Telegraph. 5 October 2001.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Maxwell
Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire
Succeeded by
Hew Hamilton Dalrymple
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Maxwell
Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown
Succeeded by
The Earl of Stair
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Elgin
Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland

Succeeded by
The Lord Blythswood
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Dalrymple
Earl of Stair
Succeeded by
John Dalrymple