John Richard Anthony Oldfield

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John Oldfield
British Member of Parliament
In office
Constituency South East Essex
Personal details
Born (1899-07-05)5 July 1899
London, England
Died 11 December 1999(1999-12-11) (aged 100)
Doddington, Kent, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Jonnet
Occupation landowner

John "Jack" Richard Anthony Oldfield (5 July 1899 – 11 December 1999), was a British landowner and politician.[1][2]

The son of Major H E Oldfield of the Royal Field Artillery, his father was killed in action two days before his first birthday during the Second Anglo-Boer War.[1][3] With his widowed mother he moved home many times, spending much time at Doddington Place Gardens, Kent, which had been purchased by his grandfather and aunt in 1906.[1]

Educated at Eton College, Oldfield was commissioned as an officer in the Grenadier Guards in the latter stages of the First World War.[1][2] In 1920 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.[1] He also took an interest in social matters, and began voluntary work at Toynbee Hall in the East End of London and joined the Labour Party in the early 1920s.[1]

At the 1929 general election he was elected as member of parliament for South East Essex.[1][2] With the formation of the Second Labour Government he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Thomson.[2] Thomson was killed when the R101 airship crashed on its maiden voyage in October 1930, and Oldfield returned to the backbenches.

With the formation of a National Government in August 1931 the parliamentary Labour Party was split, with supporters of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald forming the National Labour Organisation and the remaining MPs moving to the opposition benches. Oldfield chose to join the latter group, and when a general election was held in October 1931, was defeated with most of his Labour colleagues.[1] He attempted to regain the seat in 1935 without success.[4]

Earlier in 1931 Oldfield had been elected to the London County Council to represent Whitechapel and St George's.[5] He remained a member of the council until 1958, later representing Stepney and was vice chairman in 1954–1955.[1][2][6]

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939 Oldfield attempted to rejoin the forces, but was initially rejected due to his age. He eventually succeeded in enlisting as an able seaman in the Royal Navy. He finished the war with the rank of sub-lieutenant.[1]

In 1953 he married Jonnet Elizabeth Richards, and the couple moved to Doddington. There he created a mushroom farm while his wife worked on the gardens of Doddington Place.[1][7] In 1964 he joined the Conservative Party and was elected to Kent County Council in the following year. He remained on the council until 1981.[1][2]

He died in Doddington aged 100 in December 1999,[1][2] 68 years after leaving Parliament.[8] He was the last surviving MP to have served during the reign of George V (1910-1936).[1]

See also[edit]

Records of members of parliament of the United Kingdom


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Oldfield, Richard (15 December 1999). "OBITUARIES: John Oldfield". The Independent. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "OLDFIELD, John Richard Anthony". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. December 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Conan Doyle, Arthur (1900). The Great Boer War. London: Smith Elder & Co. pp. 467–468. 
  4. ^ "General Election: List Of Nominations". The Times. 5 November 1935. p. 8. 
  5. ^ "L.C.C. Election". The Times. 7 March 1931. p. 8. 
  6. ^ "Youth Gangs In South London. Report For L.C.C.". The Times. 14 April 1954. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "History". Doddington Place Gardens. 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Based on the date of the 1931 General Election being 27 October that year. Not known to have been claimed as a record.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Herbert Looker
Member of Parliament for South East Essex
Succeeded by
Victor Raikes