Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet

Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet DSO PC (27 May 1876 – 30 March 1940) was a Scottish Unionist politician.

His father, Sir John Gilmour, 1st Baronet was chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, and was created a baronet in 1897, Gilmour succeeded him as baronet.

Educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, University of Edinburgh and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he served in South Africa in 1900-1901 with the 20th (Fife and Forfar) Company of Imperial Yeomanry and was awarded the Queen's medal with 4 clasps and was twice mentioned in despatches. His letters from the Boer War were published in 1996 under the tile "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. He was Master of the Fife Fox Hounds, 1902-1906 and a Member of Fife County Council 1901-1910.

He unsuccessfully contested East Fife in 1906 and was elected as Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire from 1910-1918 and for Glasgow Pollok from 1918 until 1940.

He was a Junior Lord of the Treasury in 1921-1922, Scottish Unionist Whip from 1919-1922 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. He was an Orangeman and whilst some may see his appointment as anti-Catholic it should be pointed out that it was Gilmour who, as the Secretary for Scotland, repudiated the Church of Scotland's highly-controversial report entitled "The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality".

Later in his career he served as Minister of Shipping during the early months of the Second World War but died in office in 1940.

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 had previously inherited his father's baronetcy in 1920.


*Torrance, David, "The Scottish Secretaries" (Birlinn 2006)

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