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Dr Hilda Mary Adela Buckmaster BSc. (January 1897 – April 1993), was a British academic and Liberal Party politician. She was notably and unusually a naval officer in both World Wars.


Hilda Buckmaster was born in Brentford, Middlesex in 1897. She was the daughter of Charles Alexander Buckmaster and Lucy Ormerod Mar. She was the niece of Stanley Buckmaster, who served in the Liberal Government led by H. H. Asquith. She was educated before the first world war at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls in Acton. After the war in 1919 she continued her studies at the London School of Economics. In 1922 while researching for her doctorate in International Relations, she was chosen by Lloyd George's government to travel to Germany as a British commissioner to study municipal affairs. She was involved in the founding of the National Union of Students holding a number of honorary posts.[1] She was also involved in sport, representing the LSE Women's Hockey XI in the 1923–24 season. In 1924 she graduated in Public Administration. She took a post-graduate course in international relations in 1930.[2]

Professional careerEdit

In 1914 at the age of seventeen Buckmaster volunteered with the Red Cross. In 1917 she joined the newly formed Women's Royal Navy Service, working as a motor mechanic. After graduating she spent 18 months in eastern Poland with the Quaker Relief Service, 1925–26. She worked as a deck hand on the SS Panape, a sailing ship trading between Australia and Finland.[3] In 1936 she was appointed warden of the Women's Student Hall, at Manchester University.[4] At the outbreak of war in 1939 she was called up by the Admiralty to serve in the WRNS as a Third Officer. She was promoted to Chief Officer. In 1946 she was appointed secretary of Crosby Hall, hostel for women undergraduates of London University. She was assistant secretary to the North Islington Infant Welfare Centre.[5] She emigrated to Canada in 1954 and became a Canadian citizen in 1955. Following a request from the Canadian Government, Queen Elizabeth II awarded her with a silver medal for outstanding service to her country.[6]

Political careerEdit

In the early 1930s Buckmaster became active in politics with the Liberal Party. She was also active with the League of Nations Union serving for three years as the Essex Organiser. She was Liberal candidate for the Maldon division of Essex at the 1935 General Election. Following a move to Manchester she was selected as Liberal prospective parliamentary candidate for Manchester Rusholme[7] for the general election expected to take place in 1939/1940. Due to the outbreak of war, the election was postponed. She remained prospective candidate for Rusholme up until early May 1945[8] before she switched to contest the Chelmsford division of Essex.[9] She was Liberal candidate for the Holborn and St. Pancras South division of London at the 1950 General Election. She did not stand for parliament again.[10]

Electoral recordEdit

Maldon in Essex, boundaries in 1935
General Election, 1935: Maldon[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise 17,072 53.4 −17.4
Labour William Frederick Toynbee 9,264 28.9 −0.3
Liberal Hilda Mary Adela Buckmaster 5,680 17.7 N/A
Majority 7,808 24.5 −16.1
Turnout 32,016 73.8 −0.9
Conservative hold Swing
Chelmsford in Essex, boundaries in 1945
General Election 1945: Chelmsford [12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Common Wealth Ernest Rogers Millington 27,309 46.7
Conservative Hubert Ashton 25,229 43.2
Liberal Hilda Mary Adela Buckmaster 5,909 10.1
Majority 2,080 3.6
Turnout 73.4
Common Wealth hold Swing
Holborn & St Pancras South in London, boundaries in 1950
General Election 1950: Holborn and St. Pancras South[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Santo Wayburn Jeger 19,223 48.5 n/a
Conservative Peter John Feilding Chapman-Walker 17,993 45.4 n/a
Liberal Hilda Mary Adela Buckmaster 2,411 6.1 n/a
Majority 1,230 3.1 n/a
Turnout 72.1 n/a
Labour hold Swing n/a


  1. ^ Jews and other foreigners: Manchester and the rescue of the victims of European Fascism 1933–40 by Bill Williams
  2. ^ The Times House of Commons, 1950
  3. ^ Jews and other foreigners: Manchester and the rescue of the victims of European Fascism 1933–40 by Bill Williams
  4. ^ The Times House of Commons, 1950
  5. ^ The Times House of Commons, 1950
  6. ^ Obituary – British Federation of Women Graduates News
  7. ^ The Liberal Magazine 1939
  8. ^ Universal Pictorial Press Photo dated 1945
  9. ^ Essex Newsman, 29 May 1945
  10. ^ British parliamentary election results 1950–1983, Craig, F.W.S.
  11. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
  12. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
  13. ^ British parliamentary election results 1950–1973, Craig, F.W.S.