The Lord Holderness
Minister of Overseas Development
In office
23 June 1970 – 4 March 1974
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byJudith Hart
Succeeded byJudith Hart
Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
In office
20 October 1963 – 18 October 1964
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterAlec Douglas-Home
Preceded byNiall Macpherson
Succeeded byPeggy Herbison
Minister of Power
In office
14 October 1959 – 20 October 1963
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Macmillan
Preceded byThe Lord Mills
Succeeded byFrederick Erroll
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
7 August 1979 – 11 August 2002
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Bridlington
In office
23 February 1950 – 3 May 1979
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byJohn Townend
Personal details
Richard Frederick Wood

(1920-10-05)5 October 1920
Died11 August 2002(2002-08-11) (aged 81)
Political partyConservative
Diana Kellet
(m. 1947)
Parent(s)Edward Wood (father)
Alma materNew 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 Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, and Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Onslow. He was educated at St Cyprian's School in 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.


Coat of arms of Richard Wood, Baron Holderness
A Savage as in the Arms the Shield Sable charged with a Griffin's Head erased Argent
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Azure three Naked savages ambulant in fess proper in the dexter hand of each a Shield Argent charged with a Cross Gules and in the sinister a Club resting on the shoulder also proper on a Canton Ermine three Lozenges conjoined in fess Sable (Wood); 2nd, Or three Torteaux a Label Azure (Courtenay); 4th, Or a Lion rampant Azure; overall on the centre for difference a Mullet Gules
Dexter: an Officer of the King's Royal Rifle Corps circa 1904; Sinister: a Boar Sable armed unguled and bristled Or gorged with a Collar Argent thereon Cornish Choughs proper and pendant therefrom a Cinquefoil Argent resting the inner rear leg upon an Anchor bendwise Gold
I Still Like My Choice [2]


  1. ^ "No. 47922". The London Gazette. 9 August 1979. p. 10099.
  2. ^ "Life Peerages - H". Cracroft's Peerage.
Parliament of the United Kingdom New constituency Member of Parliament for Bridlington 19501979 Succeeded byJohn Townend Political offices Preceded byLord Mills Minister of Power 1959–1963 Succeeded byFrederick Erroll Preceded byNiall Macpherson Minister of Pensions and National Insurance 1963–1964 Succeeded byPeggy Herbison Preceded byJudith Hart Minister of/for Overseas Development 1970–1974 Succeeded byJudith Hart