John Dalrymple, 12th Earl of Stair

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John James Hamilton Dalrymple, 12th Earl of Stair, KT, DSO, DL (1 February 1879 – 4 November 1961), styled Viscount Dalrymple between 1903 and 1914, was a Scottish soldier and Conservative Party, later Unionist Party, politician.

Military and political career

The son of John Dalrymple, 11th Earl of Stair, Dalrymple was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Scots Guards on 16 February 1898, and promoted to lieutenant on 11 October 1899. He fought in the Second Boer War, where he took part in the march to occupy the Boer capitals Bloemfontein (March 1900) and Pretoria (June 1900), and was present at the successive Battles of Diamond Hill (11-12 June 1900) and Bergendal (21-27 August 1900).[1]

Following the end of hostilities in early June 1902, he left Cape Town on board the SS Orotava,[2] and arrived at Southampton the next month. He later fought in the First World War. He was captured by the Germans during the Great Retreat in 1914 and remained a prisoner until 1917 when he was repatriated for medical reasons, due to degradation in his eyesight.[3]

Lord Dalrymple sat as Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire from 1906 to 1914, when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. Lord Stair was later Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1927 and 1928.[4]


Lord Stair married Violet Evelyn Harford, a descendant maternally of Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse, on 20 October 1904. Lady Stair's father Frederick Henry Harford was grandson of Henry Harford, last colonial proprietor of Maryland and illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore.[citation needed] Her paternal aunt Edith Harford married 2ndly (as his 1st wife) George, Viscount Parker (father by his 2nd wife of the 7th Earl of Macclesfield). Her mother Florence Parsons was granddaughter paternally of Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse and maternally of the 2nd Baron Duncombe. Thus the former Violet Harford, despite the lack of a "handle" (courtesy title), was well-connected to the peerage.[citation needed]

They had six children, all but one of whom married and left issue and descendants:

  • Lady Jean Margaret Florence Dalrymple (1905–2001); married Lt-Colonel Niall Rankin, a Scots Guards officer in the Emergency Reserve. She was later known as Lady Jean Rankin, DCVO, Lady in Waiting to the Queen Mother.[5]
  • John Aymer Dalrymple, 13th Earl of Stair (1906–1996)
  • Lady Marion Violet Dalrymple (1 February 1908 – 1995)
  • Captain The Hon. Hew North Dalrymple (27 April 1910 – 24 May 2012)[6]
  • Hon. Andrew William Henry Dalrymple (1914–1945), joint founder of Chilton Aircraft, killed in a plane crash
  • Major Colin James Dalrymple (19 February 1920 – 12 January 2017)


  1. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  2. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 10. 
  3. ^ "Lord Stair in Switzerland". The Times (41388). London. January 29, 1917. p. 9. 
  4. ^ Cracroft-Brennan, P. (ed.). "Profile of John James [Hamilton-Dalrymple later Dalrymple], 12th Earl of Stair, KT DSO DL". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Obituaries: Lady Jean Rankin". The Daily Telegraph. 5 October 2001. 
  6. ^ "Hon Hew North Dalrymple (1910-2012)". Peerage News. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Stair
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Maxwell
Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire
Succeeded by
Hew Hamilton Dalrymple
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Maxwell
Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown
Succeeded by
The Earl of Stair
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Elgin
Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland

Succeeded by
The Lord Blythswood
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Dalrymple
Earl of Stair
Succeeded by
John Dalrymple
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