W. D. Smiles

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Walter Smiles
Member of Parliament
for North Down
In office
23 February 1950 – 31 January 1953
Preceded by Constituency recreated
John Morrow Simms (1922)
Succeeded by Patricia Ford
Member of Parliament
for Down
In office
5 July 1945 – 23 February 1950
Preceded by Viscount Castlereagh
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Himself (North Down)
Member of Parliament
for Blackburn
In office
27 October 1931 – 5 July 1945
Preceded by Mary Agnes Hamilton
Succeeded by Barbara Castle
Personal details
Born (19-12-{{{day}}})Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{". December 19
Belfast, Ireland
Died 31 January 1953(1953-01-31) (aged 69)
Donaghadee, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Children Patricia
Profession Soldier

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Walter Dorling Smiles CIE DSO DL (8 November 1883 – 31 January 1953) was a Northern Irish politician.

Sir Walter was the son of William Holmes Smiles, director of Belfast Ropeworks, and grandson of Samuel Smiles. Sir Walter served during the First World War and, in the 1920s, managed a tea estate in Assam, there he became involved in local government and was a member of the Assam Legislative Council.

During the First World War; he obtained a pilots certificate but due to the lack of aircraft he transferred to Royal Naval Armoured Car Division. In 1915 he was seconded to the Imperial Russian Army to fight against Turkish forces in the Caucasus Campaign. In 1918 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant commander and was highly decorated; he received the DSO in 1916, with bar in 1917 and a MID, along with Russian and Romanian decorations; such as the St George of the 4th class.[1]

He was Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Blackburn from 1931 to 1945. Smiles was re-elected in 1935 but stood for Down in Northern Ireland at the 1945 Westminster election, as a Unionist. The two-seat constituency was split in 1950 into North Down and South Down. Smiles won North Down that year and remained its MP until his death in 1953; he lost his life in the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria off Larne Lough, in the Great Storm. He was succeeded by his daughter, Patricia Ford. He was the great-grandfather of explorer Bear Grylls.[2]


  1. ^ Grylls, Bear, Mud, Sweat and Tears, Channel 4, 2012 ISBN 1905026498 ISBN 978-1905026494
  2. ^ thepeerage.com

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mary Agnes Hamilton
Thomas Harry Gill
Member of Parliament for Blackburn
With: George Sampson Elliston
Succeeded by
Barbara Castle
John Edwards
Preceded by
James Little
Viscount Castlereagh
Member of Parliament for Down
With: James Little 1945–1946
C. H. Mullan 1946–1950
Constituency divided
New constituency Member of Parliament for Down, North
Succeeded by
Patricia Ford