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Charles Ian Orr-Ewing, Baron Orr-Ewing, OBE (10 February 1912 – 19 August 1999) was a British Conservative politician.

Ian Orr-Ewing, Baron Orr-Ewing

Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Hendon North
In office
Preceded byBarbara Gould
Succeeded byJohn Michael Gorst
Personal details
Born(1912-02-10)10 February 1912
Died19 August 1999(1999-08-19) (aged 87)
RelativesArchibald Orr-Ewing (paternal great-grandfather)
Norah Runge (aunt)[1]
EducationHarrow School
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford
Occupationradio engineer, politician


Early lifeEdit

Orr-Ewing was a great-grandson of Sir Archibald Orr-Ewing, Bt.. He was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Oxford. At Trinity College he qualified as an electrical engineer, with an MA in physics. Then, as a 22-year-old graduate apprentice at EMI in 1934, he was part of a team of three which built the first production television set.[1]


Orr-Ewing worked with the BBC from 1937 until 1939, when he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and served in the North Africa, Italy and North-West Europe theatres during World War II and was also General Eisenhower's Chief Radar Officer in 1945. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1945.[2] After the war, he returned to the BBC until 1949.

Orr-Ewing's political career began in 1950, when he was elected Member of Parliament for Hendon North, a seat he held for five elections.[3] During this time, he was: Parliamentary Private Secretary to Walter Monckton, the Minister of Labour, from 1951–55; Parliamentary Under-Secretary to George Reginald Ward, the Secretary of State for Air, from 1957–59; Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty in 1959; Civil Lord of the Admiralty from 1959–63; Vice-President of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in 1966 and Vice-Chairman of the Defence Committee from 1966-70.

Between 1951-1954, he served on the Council of the Royal Television Society.[4]

Having been created a baronet in 1963,[5] Orr-Ewing retired from the Commons in 1970 and was created a life peer on 30 April 1971, as Baron Orr-Ewing, of Little Berkhamsted in the County of Hertfordshire.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Orr-Ewing was an amateur radio enthusiast, holding the call sign G5OG until his death. The format of his call sign indicates that his licence was issued between 1921 and 1939. In November 1976 during the opening of Parliament, prior to his announcement of Presidency of the Radio Society of Great Britain, George Wallace, Baron Wallace of Coslany quipped to his Lords that Orr-Ewing held an amateur licence and that he was colloquially known as "George Five Old Girl", a play on his call sign using non-standard phonetic alphabet.[7] Orr-Ewing died on 19 August 1999.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lord Orr-Ewing ; The Guardian; Orbituary by Andrew Roth; 24 August 1999
  2. ^ "No. 36866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1945. p. 19.
  3. ^ a b Barnes, John (25 August 1999). "Obituary: Lord Orr-Ewing". The Independent. Northcliffe House, London: Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ Centre Council (2018). "Alphabetical List of the Society's Council Members and subsequent Board of Trustees and Centres Council" (PDF). Royal Television Society. Royal Television Society. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ "No. 43041". The London Gazette. 28 June 1963. p. 5533.
  6. ^ "No. 45361". The London Gazette. 6 May 1971. p. 4625.
  7. ^ Hansard HL Deb. vol.378 cols.8, 7 August 2019. [Online]. [Accessed 14 May 2018].

External linksEdit