Sir John Gilmour
Home Secretary
In office
1 October 1932 – 7 June 1935
Prime MinisterRamsay MacDonald
Preceded bySir Herbert Samuel
Succeeded bySir John Simon
Personal details
Born27 May 1876
Montrave, Fife, Scotland
Died30 March 1940(1940-03-30) (aged 63)
London, England
Political partyUnionist
Spouse(s)Mary Louise Lambert
Violet Agnes Lambert
Lady Mary Cecilia Hamilton
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet GCVO DSO* TD PC JP DL MP (27 May 1876 – 30 March 1940) was a Scottish Unionist politician. He notably served as Home Secretary from 1932 to 1935.

Early life

Gilmour was the son of Sir John Gilmour, 1st Baronet, chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, who was created a baronet in 1897. His mother was Henrietta, daughter of David Gilmour of Quebec. He was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, the University of Edinburgh and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[1]

Military service

Gilmour was a lieutenant in the Fifeshire Volunteer Light Horse, and was among the officers of the Fife and Forfar volunteer battalions to volunteer for service in the Second Boer War. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the Imperial Yeomanry on 7 February 1900,[2] and served in South Africa with the 20th (Fife and Forfarshire Light Horse) Company of the 6th Battalion. He left Liverpool for South Africa with the company on the SS Cymric in March 1900.[3] For his service, he was awarded the Queen's medal with 4 clasps and was twice mentioned in despatches (by Lord Roberts dated 4 September 1901[4] and in the final despatch by Lord Kitchener dated 23 June 1902[5]). His letters from the Boer War were published in 1996 under the title "Clearly My Duty" by his son, Sir John Gilmour, 3rd Baronet. He again served in World War I with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, where he was again mentioned in despatches and awarded the DSO with bar. His service after the war saw him rise to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel when he commanded the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry. On 8 May 1931 he was made the Honorary Colonel of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.[6]

Political career

He unsuccessfully contested East Fife in 1906 and was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for East Renfrewshire from 1910 to 1918 and for Glasgow Pollok from 1918 until 1940. He was a Junior Lord of the Treasury in 1921–1922, Scottish Unionist Whip from 1919 to 1922 and in 1924.

He was appointed as Secretary for Scotland in 1924, and became the first Secretary of State for Scotland when the post was upgraded in 1926. A member of the Orange Order joining the Pollokshaws Lodge, LOL172, in June 1910. This Lodge is now named after him. Gilmour, as Secretary for Scotland, repudiated the Church of Scotland's report, "The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality".[citation needed]

Later in his career he served as Minister of Shipping during the early months of British involvement in the Second World War but died in office of a heart attack in London on 30 March 1940,[7][8]

Other appointments

Gilmour was Master of the Fife Fox Hounds, 1902–1906, and a Member of Fife County Council 1901–1910. He was Rector of the University of Edinburgh, 1926–1929, and was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Glasgow in 1925, the University of Edinburgh in 1927, and the University of St Andrews in 1929. He was a Brigadier with the Royal Company of Archers. He was made Vice-Lieutenant for the County of Fife on 27 March 1936.[9] Appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 1935.


Gilmour first married Mary Louise Lambert, daughter of Edward Tiley Lambert, of Telham Court, Battle, Sussex, on 9 April 1902 at St. Mary's Church in Battle, Sussex.[10] The marriage produced two children, Anne Margaret, born in October 1909, and John, born in October 1912. After Mary Louise's death in 1919, he married her younger sister (his former sister-in-law), Violet Agnes Lambert, in 1920. They had one daughter, Daphne, born in January 1922.[11] In 1930, he married Lady Mary Cecilia Rhodesia Hamilton (1896–1984), daughter of James Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, and his wife, the former Lady Rosalind Bingham. Gilmour and his third wife had one son together.

Both children from his first marriage both rose to positions of prominence in the civil service. His eldest daughter, Dame Anne Margaret Bryans DBE DStJ DSO*, worked for the British Red Cross Society and served as vice-chairman of the executive committee from 1964 to 1976, in addition to holding positions in the governorship of many hospitals in the United Kingdom. He was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, Sir John Gilmour, 3rd Baronet, who also had a successful political career.

His great-nephew, George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie, was also a Conservative MP and served as Scottish Secretary from 1979 to 1986.


  1. ^ "Gilmour, John (GLMR895J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "No. 27162". The London Gazette. 6 February 1900. p. 808.
  3. ^ "The War - Embarcation of Troops". The Times. No. 36078. London. 1 March 1900. p. 7.
  4. ^ "No. 27353". The London Gazette. 10 September 1901. pp. 5927–5964.
  5. ^ "No. 27459". The London Gazette. 29 July 1902. pp. 4835–4839.
  6. ^ Viewing Page 4943 of Issue 33739
  7. ^ "SIR JOHN GILMOUR DEAD". Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 - 1950). WA: National Library of Australia. 1 April 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  8. ^ "DEATH OF A MINISTER". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 1 April 1940. p. 14. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  9. ^ Viewing Page 2157 of Issue 34270
  10. ^ "Marriages". The Times. No. 36739. London. 11 April 1902. p. 1.
  11. ^ Limerick, Sylvia R. (2008). "Bryans [née Gilmour], Dame Anne Margaret (1909–2004)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press (published 3 January 2008). doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/93670. Retrieved 19 May 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)


Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byRobert Laidlaw Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire January 19101918 Succeeded byRobert Nichol New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Pollok 1918–1940 Succeeded byThomas Dunlop Galbraith Political offices Preceded byWilliam Adamson Secretary for Scotland 1924–1926 Succeeded byHimselfas Secretary of State for Scotland Preceded byHimself as Secretary for Scotland Secretary of State for Scotland 1926–1929 Succeeded byWilliam Adamson Preceded byChristopher Addison Minister of Agriculture 1931–1932 Succeeded byWalter Elliot Preceded bySir Herbert Samuel Home Secretary 1932–1935 Succeeded bySir John Simon New office Minister of Shipping 1939–1940 Succeeded byRobert Hudson Academic offices Preceded byStanley Baldwin Rector of the University of Edinburgh 1926–1929 Succeeded byWinston Churchill Baronetage of the United Kingdom Preceded byJohn Gilmour Baronet(of Lundin) 1920–1940 Succeeded byJohn Edward Gilmour