Patrick Hore-Ruthven

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Alexander Hardinge Patrick Hore-Ruthven (30 August 1913 – 24 December 1942) was a British soldier and poet. He was born in Quetta, British India (present-day Pakistan), the sole surviving child of Alexander Hore-Ruthven and Zara Eileen Pollok.

Personal life[edit]

Hore-Ruthven studied at Cambridge University in 1931 and met society beauty Pamela Fletcher while he was temporarily rusticated from Cambridge in 1932 for having bitten a policeman's nose.[1]

After graduating in 1933, he joined the Rifle Brigade, his grandfather's old regiment, and served in Malta for three years.Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Territorial Army on 2 July 1933, he received a regular commission on 1 September 1934 (seniority 31 August 1933).[2][2][3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 31 August 1936.[4]

His father, Alexander Hore-Ruthven, was made Baron Gowrie in 1935 and 1st Earl of Gowrie in 1945.[citation needed] Hore-Ruthven married Pamela Fletcher on 4 January 1939 at Westminster Abbey, after their marriage was initially delayed due to a mutual lack of money. Her father, the Reverend Arthur Henry Fletcher officiated. Their first son, Grey, was born on 26 November 1939. After Hore-Ruthven's death, his widow was styled Viscountess Ruthven of Canberra.[citation needed]

She remarried in 1949, to Major Derek Cooper. Hore-Ruthven's father Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie died in May 1955, whereupon Patrick Hore-Ruthven's son Grey succeeded as the 2nd Earl of Gowrie.[citation needed]

World War II[edit]

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Hore-Ruthven was posted to Cairo. Pamela left their baby with her parents in Dublin and accompanied Hore-Ruthven to Cairo. There, she became friends with Freya Stark and Jacqueline Lampson. She also worked in Intelligence with the anti-Nazi Arab Brotherhood of Freedom, while Hore-Ruthven joined the newly formed SAS. He was promoted to captain on 31 August 1941.[5]

Pamela returned to Ireland in 1942 to give birth to their second son, Malise,[1] on 14 May 1942. Hore-Ruthven was Temporary Major when he died in Misurata Italian Hospital in Libya from wounds he received in a raid on a fuel dump near Tripoli. He died on 24 December 1942, and was buried in the war cemetery in Tripoli. A memorial fountain was constructed at Government House in Canberra.[citation needed]


Hore-Ruthven wrote several war poems that were published in Australian and English newspapers. A collection of his poems was published posthumously in Australia in 1943 under the title The Happy Warrior, with a preface written by his mother Lady Gowrie. It was subsequently republished in London in 1944 under the titleDesert Warrior: Poems. His collected letters were published in London in 1950 under the title Joy of Youth.


  1. ^ a b Obituary: Pamela Cooper, The Independent; retrieved 1 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b "No. 33958". The London Gazette. 7 July 1933. p. 4556. 
  3. ^ "No. 34083". The London Gazette. 31 August 1934. p. 5522. 
  4. ^ "No. 34319". The London Gazette. 1 September 1936. p. 5661. 
  5. ^ "No. 35262". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 August 1941. p. 5086. 


External links[edit]

  • Picture of the memorial fountain from the ACT Heritage Library