William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
The Lord Harlech
KG GCMG PC
William Ormsby-Gore 1936.jpg
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
28 May 1936 – 16 May 1938
Monarch Edward VIII
George VI
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by James Henry Thomas
Succeeded by Malcolm MacDonald
Personal details
Born 11 April 1885 (1885-04-11)
Died 14 February 1964 (1964-02-15) (aged 78)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Beatrice Gascoyne-Cecil (1891-1980)

William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech KG GCMG PC (11 April 1885 – 14 February 1964) was a British Conservative politician and banker.

Background[edit]

Harlech, the son of George Ormsby-Gore, 3rd Baron Harlech, and Lady Margaret Gordon, daughter of Charles Gordon, 10th Marquess of Huntly, was born at Eaton Square, London. He was educated at Eton College and New College, Oxford.[1]

Military service and First World War[edit]

Ormsby-Gore served in the Territorial Army, being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Shropshire Yeomanry in 1907[2] and promoted lieutenant in 1911.[3]

He was mobilized at the outbreak of the First World War and accompanied his regiment to Egypt, where he was promoted captain in 1915 and went onto the general staff.[4] In 1916 he joined the Arab Bureau as an intelligence officer, attached to the British High Commissioner Sir Henry A. McMahon.[5]

According to Scott Anderson in Lawrence in Arabia (Doubleday, 2013, at p. 254), Ormsby-Gore by 1916 had become a convert to Judaism and was one of the primary figures in the British government who favoured the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

He was recalled to England in 1917 to serve as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Milner and as assistant secretary in the War Cabinet headed by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and to Sir Mark Sykes. Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, a personal friend, took refuge in Ormsby-Gore's London home while the former was in the capital for the cabinet approval of the Balfour Declaration. With Weizmann's approval, Ormsby-Gore was the British military liaison officer with the Zionist mission in the Holy Land (then lately liberated from Ottoman Turkish rule) during March to August 1918. After the armistice, he was part of the British delegation to the peace conference at Paris in 1919.[5]

Ormsby-Gore remained serving in the yeomanry after the war until 1921.[6] In 1939 he was appointed an honorary colonel of the 10th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.[7]

Political career[edit]

Harlech was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Denbigh Boroughs by a majority of eight votes at the January 1910 general election,[1] sitting for the seat until he was selected for and won Stafford at the 1918 general election. He sat in the House of Commons until he entered the House of Lords on succeeding to his father's peerage in 1938.

He served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1922 to 1929 (with a brief interruption during the short-lived Labour government of 1924). He was British representative to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations from 1921 to 1922. In 1927 he was admitted to the Privy Council. Harlech also held office in the National Government as Postmaster-General in 1931, as First Commissioner of Works from 1931 to 1936 and as Colonial Secretary between 1936 and 1938, resigning, eight days after he entered the House of Lords, as protest of support of partitioning Palestine after pressure of Arab protests over Jewish immigration. He was also a firm protestor against Nazi Germany at that time.[5]

During the Second World War he was Civil Defence Commissioner for the North-East of England and then High Commissioner to South Africa from 1941 to 1944.

After retiring from politics he served on the board of Midland Bank, owner of a banking house founded by his family, and was chairman of the Bank of West Africa. He also held the honorary post of Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire between 1938 and 1957. In 1948 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Cultural interests[edit]

Described as having "a deep interest in the arts",[5] Lord Harlech was trustee of the National Gallery (with brief interval) from 1927, and of the Tate Gallery from 1945 to 1953, chairman of the advisory committee to the Victoria and Albert Museum and of the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries from 1948 to 1956.[7] He had an extensive library at his Shropshire home, Brogyntyn near Oswestry, which he downsized after moving out of the mansion in 1955.[5]

He was author of:

  • Florentine Sculptors of the Fifteenth Century (1930)
  • Guide to the Mantegna Cartoons at Hampton Court (1935)
  • three volumes in series Guides to the Ancient Monuments of England.[8]

Marriage & Children[edit]

Lord Harlech married Lady Beatrice Edith Mildred Gascoyne-Cecil (born 10 August 1891, died 1980), daughter of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, in 1913. They had six children:[9]

Lord Harlech died in February 1964, aged 78, and was succeeded in the barony by his second, but eldest surviving son David, who followed him into politics and served as British Ambassador to the United States in the 1960s. Lady Beatrice died in 1980.

Coat of arms[edit]

Arms of William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech
Notes
Coat of arms of the Ormsby-Gore family
Coronet
A coronet of a Baron
Crest
1st: an Heraldic Tiger rampant Argent; 2nd: a Dexter Arm embowed in armour proper holding in the hand a Man's Leg also in armour couped at the thigh
Escutcheon
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Gules a Fess between three Cross Crosslets fitchy Or (Gore); 2nd and 3rd, Gules a Bend between six Cross Crosslets Or (Ormsby)
Supporters
Dexter: an Heraldic Tiger Argent maned and tufted Sable ducally gorged Or; Sinister: a Lion Or
Motto
In Hoc Signo Vinces (Under this sign thou shalt conquer)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 22. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 987. ISBN 0-19-861372-5. Article by K. E. Robinson.
  2. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1909. Kelly's. p. 1249. Under Ormsby-Gore, William George Arthur. His sketch in the ODNB dates his commissioning in 1908.
  3. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1913. Kelly's. p. 1313. 
  4. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1920. Kelly's. p. 1237. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 22. p. 988. 
  6. ^ Kelly's Handbook of Distinguished People, 1939. Kelly's. p. 886. 
  7. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1964. Kelly's. p. 949. 
  8. ^ Who Was Who, 1961-1970. C and A Black. 1972. p. 493. ISBN 0-7136-1202-9. 
  9. ^ The Peerage, entry for 4th Lord Harlech
  10. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon Mary Ormsby-Gore
  11. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon Katherine Ormsby-Gore
  12. ^ Obituary
  13. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon Elizabeth Ormsby-Gore

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Allen Clement Edwards
Member of Parliament for Denbigh Boroughs
Jan. 19101918
Succeeded by
Sir David Sanders Davies
Preceded by
Sir Walter Essex
Member of Parliament for Stafford
19181938
Succeeded by
Peter Thorneycroft
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. E. F. L. Wood
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
1922–1924
Succeeded by
The Lord Arnold
Preceded by
The Lord Arnold
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
1924–1929
Succeeded by
William Lunn
Preceded by
Clement Attlee
Postmaster General
1931
Succeeded by
Sir Kingsley Wood
Preceded by
The Marquess of Londonderry
First Commissioner of Works
1931–1936
Succeeded by
The Earl Stanhope
Preceded by
James Henry Thomas
Secretary of State for the Colonies
1936–1938
Succeeded by
Malcolm MacDonald
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edward Harding
High Commissioner to South Africa
1941–1944
Succeeded by
Evelyn Baring
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Harlech
Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire
1938–1957
Succeeded by
John Francis Williams-Wynne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Ormsby-Gore
Baron Harlech
1938–1964
Succeeded by
David Ormsby-Gore