John Macnamara

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For those of a similar name, see John McNamara.

Colonel John Robert Jermain Macnamara (11 October 1905 – 22 December 1944)[1] was a British Conservative Party politician and officer of the British Army who was killed in Italy during the Second World War.


Macnamara was educated at Haileybury where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps.[2][3] He was the unsuccessful Conservative candidate at the May 1934 by-election in the Upton constituency in West Ham,[4] and at the 1935 general election was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Chelmsford.[1][4] He was also joint secretary, with the Liberal MP Wilfrid Roberts, of the Basque Children's Committee.[5]

Macnamara's parliamentary secretary from 1935-36 was the Soviet spy Guy Burgess. Macnamara was a member of the Anglo-German Fellowship, some of whose members were pro-Nazi. Burgess gained the confidence of Macnamara and they organized a series of sex tours abroad, especially to Germany where Macnamara had ties with the Hitler Youth. Burgess managed to be in touch with a number of highly placed homosexuals, like Edouard Pfeiffer, the chief private secretary of Edouard Daladier, French War Minister, an agent of the 2nd Office and of MI6. Macnamara and Burgess were invited on several occasions to pleasure parties at Pfeiffer's or to Parisian nightclubs."[6][7][8][9]

Military career[edit]

On 11 January 1924 he joined the Territorial Army and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers).[2]

During the Second World War he commanded the 1st Battalion, London Irish Rifles, another Territorial battalion, which was affiliated to the Royal Ulster Rifles. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Colonel. The battalion was initially assigned to 168th (London) Infantry Brigade, part of the 56th (London) Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Black Cats" and fought in the Italian theatre of war. In December 1944, Col. Macnamara was visiting Italy and was with 1st London Irish who were moving into the Senio Line to relieve a Gurkha battalion. He was watching men of the battalion move up to the line in company with Major M. V. S. Boswell when a sudden German mortar bombardment fell on the area. Macnamara and Lieutenant J. Prosser MC were killed and Boswell was wounded. Jack Macnamara was laid to rest in Forli War Cemetery[10]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Vivian Henderson
Member of Parliament for Chelmsford
Succeeded by
Ernest Millington