Richard Wood, Baron Holderness

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The Lord Holderness

Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
In office
20 October 1963 – 18 October 1964
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded by Niall Macpherson
Succeeded by Margaret Herbison
Minister of Power
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Lord Mills
Succeeded by Frederick Erroll
Minister of Overseas Development
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Edward Heath
Preceded by Judith Hart
Succeeded by Judith Hart
Personal details
Born 5 October 1920
Died 11 August 2002 (aged 81)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Diana Kellet
Children 2
Parents Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
Lady Dorothy Onslow
Alma mater New College, Oxford

Richard Frederick Wood, Baron Holderness, PC DL (5 October 1920 – 11 August 2002) was a British Conservative politician who held numerous ministerial positions from 1955 to 1974. He was distinctive in having lost both his legs in action in North Africa during World War II.

Early life, education and military service

Wood was the youngest son of Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, and Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Onslow. He was educated at St Cyprian's School Eastbourne, Eton College and New College, Oxford. He became honorary attaché at the British Embassy in Rome in 1940, and in 1941 he gained the rank of Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps. He fought in the Middle East between 1941 and 1943 and was severely wounded, losing both his legs in action. His elder brother Peter Wood was killed in action in Egypt in 1942.

Political career

Wood became MP for Bridlington in 1950 and held the seat until 1979. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Derick Heathcoat-Amory during his time successively as Minister of Pensions between 1951 and 1953, Minister of State at the Board of Trade between 1953 and 1954, and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries between 1954 and 1955. Wood was then Joint Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance between 1955 and 1958, at the Ministry of Labour between 1958 and 1959 and at the Ministry of Power between 1959 and 1963.

In 1959 he was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) and was Minister of Pensions and National Insurance from 1963 until the Conservative Party lost power in 1964. He was Minister of Overseas Development from 1970 to 1974 for the duration of the Heath Government. From 1987 to 1991 he was an energetic chairman of the Disablement Services Authority, charged with the improvement of artificial limb services: he then served as a junior Minister on services for disabled people.

Honours and personal life

Wood became Honorary Colonel of the Queen's Royal Rifles in 1962 and Honorary Colonel of the 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Green Jackets between 1967 and 1969. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of the East Riding, Yorkshire in 1967. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Law (LL.D.) by Sheffield University in 1962, by Leeds University in 1978 and by Hull University in 1982. He was a director of Hargreaves Group between 1974 and 1986 and also a director of FJC Lilley & Company. After he retired as an MP, Wood was given a life peerage on 7 August 1979 as Baron Holderness, of Bishop Wilton in the County of Humberside.[1]

Wood married Diana Kellett, daughter of Colonel Edward Orlando Kellett, in 1947 and had a daughter and son.

Styles of address

  • 1920–1944: Mr Richard Wood
  • 1944–1950: The Hon. Richard Wood
  • 1950–1959: The Hon. Richard Wood MP
  • 1959–1967: The Rt Hon. Richard Wood MP
  • 1967–1979: The Rt Hon. Richard Wood DL MP
  • 1979: The Rt Hon. Richard Wood DL
  • 1979–2002: The Rt Hon. The Lord Holderness PC DL


  1. ^ "No. 47922". The London Gazette. 9 August 1979. p. 10099.

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lord Holderness
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Bridlington
Succeeded by
John Townend
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Mills
Minister of Power
Succeeded by
Frederick Erroll
Preceded by
Niall Macpherson
Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
Succeeded by
Margaret Herbison
Preceded by
Judith Hart
Minister of/for Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Judith Hart
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