John Swinton of Kimmerghame

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Sir John Swinton of Kimmerghame
Born (1925-04-21) April 21, 1925 (age 93)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1944–79
Rank Major General
Commands held London District
Household Division
Battles/wars Second World War
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Awards Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches
Spouse(s) Judith Balfour Killen
(m. 1954; d. 2012)
Relations Tilda Swinton (daughter)
George Swinton (paternal grandfather)

Major General Sir John Swinton of Kimmerghame, KCVO, OBE, DL (born 21 April 1925) is a retired senior British Army officer who served as Major-General commanding the Household Division and General Officer Commanding London District from 1976 until his retirement in 1979.

Family and military background

Swinton is the son of Brigadier Alan Henry Campbell Swinton of Kimmerghame, MC (born 15 March 1896)[1][2][3][4][5] and wife, Mariora Beatrice Evelyn Rochfort Alers-Hankey (born 1900). His paternal grandfather was Scottish politician and officer-of-arms George Swinton. The Swinton family is an ancient Anglo-Scots family that can trace its lineage to the High Middle Ages.[5]

Military career

Swinton was commissioned into the Scots Guards on 24 March 1944,[6] and was twice wounded towards the end of the Second World War.[7] He was promoted to lieutenant on 8 November 1947.[8] He served in Malaya during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and was mentioned in despatches.[9] Swinton was promoted to captain on 21 April 1952.[10]

He was successively promoted to major on 21 April 1959,[11] to lieutenant colonel on 1 April 1966,[12] to colonel on 30 June 1970 and to brigadier on 31 December 1971.[13][14] He was promoted to major general and made Major-General commanding the Household Division and General Officer Commanding London District in 1976.[15] He retired in 1979.[16]

In 1980, he became a Deputy Lieutenant for Berwickshire:[17] he went on to be Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire from 1989 to 2000[18] and escorted the Stone of Scone back to Scotland in 1996.[7]


He married the Australian-born Judith Balfour Killen (1929–2012) on 26 August 1954; they had three sons – James Christopher Swinton, Alexander Harold Swinton and Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Swinton – and one daughter – the actress Tilda Swinton.[1]

As the Laird of Kimmerghame, Swinton lives at Kimmerghame House in Duns in Berwickshire.[1][19]


  1. ^ a b c The
  2. ^ Dewar, Peter Beauclerk, Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain – The Kingdom in Scotland, 19th edition, vol.1, Wilmington, Delaware, 2001, p.1317. ISBN 0-9711966-0-5
  3. ^ Tilda Swinton Biography Archived 17 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "SWINTON: Chart 2B, Sheet 2." Swinton Family
  5. ^ a b Tilda Swinton, one of our most unique actors, talks to Gaby Wood | Magazine | The Observer
  6. ^ "No. 36519". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 May 1944. p. 2277. 
  7. ^ a b Thieves startled by general's roar The Herald, 9 April 1997
  8. ^ "No. 38139". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 December 1947. p. 5752. 
  9. ^ "No. 39214". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 April 1951. p. 2384. 
  10. ^ "No. 39522". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 April 1952. p. 2226. 
  11. ^ "No. 41686". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 April 1959. p. 2603. 
  12. ^ "No. 44053". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 July 1966. p. 7948. 
  13. ^ "No. 45138". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1970. p. 7186. 
  14. ^ "No. 45564". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 January 1972. p. 87. 
  15. ^ "No. 47036". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 October 1976. p. 13763. 
  16. ^ "No. 48025". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 December 1979. p. 15601. 
  17. ^ "No. 48262". The London Gazette. 28 July 1980. p. 10671. 
  18. ^ "No. 51895". The London Gazette. 9 October 1989. p. 11545. 
  19. ^ Bell. "The decisions of the Court of Session: from its first institution to the present time : digested under proper heads, in the form of a dictionary, Volume 13". 1803 - Scotland. Court of Session, William Maxwell Morison. Retrieved 21 October 2016. (Page 10264) ....Lady Kimmerghame.....Laird of Kimmerghame... 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Philip Ward
GOC London District
Succeeded by
Sir Desmond Langley
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