William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech

William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech, KG, GCMG, PC (11 April 1885 – 14 February 1964), was a British Conservative politician and banker.[1]

The Lord Harlech
William Ormsby-Gore, 4th Baron Harlech.jpg
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
28 May 1936 – 16 May 1938
MonarchEdward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Preceded byJ. H. Thomas
Succeeded byMalcolm MacDonald
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
1938 – 14 February 1964
as a hereditary peer
Preceded byThe 3rd Baron Harlech
Succeeded byThe 5th Baron Harlech
Personal details
Born(1885-04-11)11 April 1885
Died14 February 1964(1964-02-14) (aged 78)
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
Lady Beatrice Gascoyne-Cecil
(m. 1913)

BackgroundEdit

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.[2][1]

Military service and First World WarEdit

Ormsby-Gore served in the Territorial Army, being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Shropshire Yeomanry in 1907[3] and promoted lieutenant in 1911.[4]

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.[5] In 1916 he joined the Arab Bureau as an intelligence officer, attached to the British High Commissioner Sir Henry A. McMahon.[6][7]

He strongly opposed the Sykes-Picot treaty, arguing "we make professions of defending and helping small & oppressed nations... [yet] we parcel out between our allies & ourselves vast tracts of countries which do not want us."[7] He argued that Britain should support self-determination for Arabs and Jews.[7] He challenged claims that Africans were incapable of governing themselves.[8] He saw white prejudices as the fundamental problem, not the incapability of non-whites.[9] After becoming a MP, Ormsby-Gore pressured the British government to accept a League of Nations mandates system.[8]

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.[6]

Ormsby-Gore remained serving in the yeomanry after the war until 1921.[10] In 1939 he was appointed an honorary colonel of the 10th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.[11]

Political careerEdit

Harlech was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Denbigh Boroughs by a majority of eight votes at the January 1910 general election,[2] 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 as the 4th Baron Harlech.[1]

He was British representative to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations from 1921 to 1922.[12] He played a catalyst role in expanding the powers of the Commission and making colonial powers accountable to the Commission.[13] He was influential in establishing a process whereby subjects in the mandates could petition the League of Nations and have their grievances publicized.[14]

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).[1]

In the 1927 New Year Honours, he was sworn of the Privy Council.[15][16][17][18] 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,[1] 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. After his resignation, he was appointed as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in the 1938 Birthday Honours.[19][20] He was also a firm protester against Nazi Germany at that time.[6][1]

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.[citation needed]

Cultural interestsEdit

He had an extensive library at his Shropshire home, Brogyntyn near Oswestry, which he downsized after moving out of the mansion in 1955.[6] He and his father deposited a valuable collection of Brogyntyn manuscripts at the National Library of Wales.[1]

He was author of:

  • Florentine Sculptors of the Fifteenth Century (1930)
  • Guide to the Mantegna Cartoons at Hampton Court (1935)
  • Three volumes in the series Guides to the Ancient Monuments of England.[21][22][23]

Further workEdit

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. On 12 March 1948 he was appointed as Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter (KG).[24]

Described as having "a deep interest in the arts",[6] 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.[11] He was the President of the national Library of Wales, 1950-58. He was Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales and Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

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:[25]

Lord Harlech died in February 1964,[1] 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. Beatrice, Lady Harlech, a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth, died in 1980.

Coat of armsEdit

Coat of 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)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "ORMSBY-GORE, WILLIAM GEORGE ARTHUR (1885 - 1964), 4th BARON HARLECH politician and banker". biography.wales.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1913. Kelly's. p. 1313.
  5. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1920. Kelly's. p. 1237.
  6. ^ a b c d e Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 22. p. 988.
  7. ^ a b c Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 25. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  8. ^ a b Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 54. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  9. ^ Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 110. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  10. ^ Kelly's Handbook of Distinguished People, 1939. Kelly's. p. 886.
  11. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1964. Kelly's. p. 949.
  12. ^ Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 60–61. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  13. ^ Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 70. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  14. ^ Pedersen, Susan (2015). The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 79–93. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001/acprof-9780199570485. ISBN 978-0-19-957048-5.
  15. ^ "No. 33235". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1926. p. 1.
  16. ^ "No. 14301". The Edinburgh Gazette. 4 January 1927. p. 1.
  17. ^ "No. 33246". The London Gazette. 8 February 1927. p. 833.
  18. ^ "No. 14312". The Edinburgh Gazette. 11 February 1927. p. 173.
  19. ^ "No. 34518". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1938. p. 3689.
  20. ^ "No. 15500". The Edinburgh Gazette. 14 June 1938. p. 487.
  21. ^ Ormsby-Gore, William George Arthur, Lord Harlech (1935). Ancient Monuments in the Care of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. Illustrated Regional Guide No 1. Northern England. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Full-text of the bound edition (1952) is available at the Internet Archive.
  22. ^ Ormsby-Gore, William George Arthur, Lord Harlech (1936). Ancient Monuments in the Care of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. Illustrated Regional Guide No 3. East Anglia and The Midlands. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Full-text of the second edition (1955) is available at the Internet Archive.
  23. ^ Ormsby-Gore, William George Arthur, Lord Harlech (1967). Ancient Monuments in the Care of the Ministry of Public Building and Works. Illustrated Regional Guide No 5. North Wales. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ "No. 38236". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 March 1948. p. 1859.
  25. ^ The Peerage, entry for 4th Lord Harlech
  26. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon. Mary Ormsby-Gore
  27. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon. Katherine Ormsby-Gore
  28. ^ Obituary
  29. ^ The Peerage, entry for Hon. Elizabeth Ormsby-Gore

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Denbigh Boroughs
January 1910 – 1918
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Stafford
1918–1938
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
1922–1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
1924–1929
Succeeded by
Preceded by Postmaster General
1931
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Commissioner of Works
1931–1936
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for the Colonies
1936–1938
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by High Commissioner to South Africa
1941–1944
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire
1938–1957
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Baron Harlech
1938–1964
Member of the House of Lords
(1938–1964)
Succeeded by