John Buchan, 2nd Baron Tweedsmuir

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Tweedsmuir
CBE CD
Baron Tweedsmuir
In office
11 February 1940 – 20 June 1996
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Clement Attlee
Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Harold Wilson
Edward Heath
James Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by John Buchan
Succeeded by William Buchan
Personal details
Born 25 November 1911
Died June 20, 1996(1996-06-20) (aged 84)
Parents John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir
Susan Charlotte Grosvenor
Alma mater Eton College
Brasenose College, Oxford

John Norman Stuart Buchan, 2nd Baron Tweedsmuir CBE, CD FRSE FRSA LLD (25 November 1911 – 20 June 1996), commonly called Johnnie Buchan, was a Scottish peer and the son of the novelist John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir. He was a colonial administrator and naturalist, but also a true-life adventurer. He has been described as a "brilliant fisherman and naturalist, a gallant soldier and fine writer of English, an explorer, colonial administrator and man of business."[1]


Life[edit]

Buchan was born in London the son of Baron Tweedsmuir and Sarah Grosvenor.

He was educated at Eton and in 1930 he went up to Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated with a fourth class degree in History.[1]

After a period in the Colonial Administrative Service in Uganda he contracted dysentery and was forced to leave Africa on health grounds. He went to join his parents in Canada in 1936. Here he joined the Hudson Bay Company. He drove a dog-sled 3000 miles and spent the winter of 1938/9 at the remote Cape Dorset in Baffinland.[2]

In September 1939 at the onset of war, he joined the Governor General's Foot Guards in Canada, and was with the first Canadian troopship to reach England in December 1939. In February 1940 his father died and he became Baron Tweedsmuir. In 1941 he saw active service with the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (with whom he started as second in command), ultimately in Sicily for which he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Farley Mowat, who served as an infantryman in the HPE Regiment, described Tweedsmuir as a soldier, newly in command (due to his predecessor, Bruce Sutcliff, having been killed). Mowat's account is in his war memoir, "And No Birds Sang" (1975, 2003). The task was to take Assoro, an ancient, and well-fortified, promontory blocking the regiment's advance.

"Barely thirty years of age, soft-spoken, kindly, with a slight tendency to stutter, he was a tall fair-haired English romantic out of another age . . . his famous father's perhaps. 'Tweedie,' as we called him behind his back, had as a youth sought high adventure [in the Arctic, the African veldt, Canada]. But until this hour real adventure in the grand tradition had eluded him.

Going forward on his own reconnaissance that afternoon in company with the new second-in-command, Major 'Ack Ack' Kennedy, Tweedsmuir looked up at the towering colossus of Assoro with the visionary eye of a Lawrence of Arabia, and saw that the only way to accomplish the impossible was to attempt the impossible. He thereupon decided that the battalion would make a right flank march by night across the intervening trackless gullies to the foot of the great cliff, scale that precipitous wall and, just at dawn, take the summit by surprise."

The operation succeeded. Tweedsmuir was later wounded in Sicily. He was twice Mentioned in Dispatches.

He married Lady Priscilla Grant, widow of Sir Arthur Grant of Monymusk. She died of cancer in 1978. He remarried in 1980 to Lady Jean Grant.[3]

With Priscilla (who sat in the House of Lords they jointly created the Protection of Birds Act 1954.[4]

He led scientific expeditions to Libya and St Ninians Island and was 21 years President of the British Schools Exploring Society.

In later life he lived in Kingston House at Kingston Bagpuize in rural Oxfordshire.

He returned to Scotland for the final two months of his life and died in a small cottage in North Berwick.

He had no children, so upon his death the barony passed to his younger brother.

Publications[edit]

  • Always a Countryman (1953)
  • One Man's Happiness (1968)

Positions Held[edit]

  • Rector of Aberdeen University 1948-51
  • Chairman of the Joint East and Central African Board 1950-52
  • President of the Institute of Rural Life 1951-85
  • President of the Federation of Commonwealth and British Empire Chambers of Commerce 1955-7
  • President of the Institute of Export 1964-7
  • Company Director of BOAC.
  • Company Director of Dalgety plc
  • Company Director of Sun Alliance
  • Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom) 1971-4
  • Chairman of the Council on Tribunals 1973-80

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Eric Linklater
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
1948–1951
Succeeded by
Jimmy Edwards
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Buchan
Baron Tweedsmuir
1940 – 1996
Succeeded by
William Buchan