John Colville, 1st Baron Clydesmuir

Colonel David John Colville, 1st Baron Clydesmuir, GCIE, PC (13 February 1894 – 31 October 1954), was a Scottish Unionist politician, and industrialist. He was director of his family's steel and iron business, David Colville & Sons.[1]

The Lord Clydesmuir

John Colville 1931.jpg
Colville in 1931
Governor of Bombay
In office
24 March 1943 – 5 January 1948
Preceded byRoger Lumley
Succeeded byRaja Maharaj Singh
Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
6 May 1938 – 10 May 1940
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded byWalter Elliot
Succeeded byErnest Brown
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
29 October 1936 – 6 May 1938
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded byWilliam Morrison
Succeeded byEuan Wallace
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
28 November 1935 – 29 October 1936
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Preceded byNoel Skelton
Succeeded byHenry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn
Member of Parliament
for Midlothian and Peebles Northern
In office
30 May 1929 – January 1943
Preceded byAndrew Clarke
Succeeded bySir David King Murray

Early life and educationEdit

The only son of John Colville MP, of Cleland, Lanarkshire, he was educated at Charterhouse and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

He served in World War I with the 6th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), and was wounded.

Political careerEdit

He was unsuccessful National Liberal candidate for Motherwell at the 1922 general election. He was unsuccessful again at a by-election in January 1929 for Midlothian and Peebles Northern, but won the seat the general election in May 1929, remaining as the constituency's Member of Parliament (MP) until 1943. He served in the National Government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade from 1931 to 1935, as Under-Secretary of State for Scotland from 1935 to 1936, as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1936 to 1938 and as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1938 until 1940.

Diplomatic career and peerageEdit

Colville left Parliament in 1943 to become Governor of Bombay, a post he held until January 1948. He acted as Viceroy and Governor-General of India, in 1945, 1946 and 1947. On his return from India he was raised to the peerage as Baron Clydesmuir, of Braidwood in the County of Lanarkshire. From 1950 to 1954 Lord Clydesmuir served as a Governor of the BBC.

Colville was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1936 and was a Brigadier in the Royal Company of Archers. He was Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire from 1952 until his death.

Marriage and childrenEdit

He married Agnes Anne Bilsland, daughter of Sir William Bilsland, in 1915. They had a son and two daughters.

His son, Ronald Colville, 2nd Baron Clydesmuir, served as Governor of the Bank of Scotland.


Coat of arms of John Colville, 1st Baron Clydesmuir
A Hind's Head erased proper
Argent a Cross Moline Sable on a Chief of the last a Thistle slipped proper between two Bulls' Heads also Argent
Dexter: a Roebuck; Sinister: a Doe, both proper
Oublier Ne Puis (I cannot forget) [2]


  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
  • Who Was Who

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Andrew Bathgate Clarke
Member of Parliament for Midlothian and Peebles Northern
Succeeded by
Sir David King Murray
Political offices
Preceded by
William Morrison
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Euan Wallace
Preceded by
Walter Elliot
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Ernest Brown
Preceded by
Sir Lawrence Lumley
Governor of Bombay
Succeeded by
Raja Sir Maharaj Singh
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Hamilton of Dalzell
Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Murray Stephen
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Clydesmuir
Succeeded by
Ronald John Bilsland Colville