Oswald Phipps, 4th Marquess of Normanby

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The Marquess of Normanby, by Richard Foster.

Oswald Constantine John Phipps, 4th Marquess of Normanby KG CBE (29 July 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a British peer and philanthropist for blind people.

Early life[edit]

Styled Earl of Mulgrave from birth, he was the eldest son of Constantine Phipps, 3rd Marquess of Normanby and was educated at Lambrook preparatory school,[1] Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He inherited his father's titles in 1932 and joined the Green Howards as a Lieutenant in 1939. In 1940, Lord Normanby was captured at the Battle of Dunkirk and was a prisoner of war at Obermassfeldt in Thuringia until 1943.

During his captivity, he persuaded his captors to allow him to teach braille to the blind prisoners, despite not knowing it himself. They constructed their alphabets with glass-headed pins and cardboard. He progressed from this to teach lessons in wider subjects. In recognition of his successful independent efforts, the head of St Dunstan's charity for blinded service personnel, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, appointed him an honorary member of the charity's teaching staff. Later, when he was repatriated along with his blind students, he joined St Dunstan's council. He was also awarded a military MBE in recognition of his work in leading the POWs.[2]


On his release, Lord Normanby was appointed an MBE and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, Viscount Cranborne, from 1944–45. He briefly served in the same post for the Lord President of the Council, Lord Woolton, in 1945. That year, Lord Normanby was also appointed a Lord-in-Waiting, but the appointment was brief due to his crossing the floor, becoming the only Labour marquess (he later left the Labour Party also and became a crossbencher).


On 10 February 1951, Lord Normanby married Hon. Grania Guinness (a daughter of Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne) and they had seven children:

Later years[edit]

Lord Normanby was Chairman of King's College Hospital from 1948 (for which he was promoted to a CBE in 1974) until his death. As well as being a member of St Dunstan's council, he was also Chairman of the National Library for the Blind from 1946 until his death and its President from 1977 to 1988. In 1985, he was made a Knight of the Garter. He died in 1994, when his titles passed to his eldest son.


  1. ^ The Lambrook Chronicle 1991
  2. ^ p291-292 My Story of St Dunstan's (1961) by Lord Fraser of Lonsdale


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Fortescue
Succeeded by
The Lord Pakenham
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir William Worsley, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire
Office abolished
New office Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Sir Marcus Worsley, Bt
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constantine Phipps
Marquess of Normanby
Succeeded by
Constantine Phipps