Oliver Stanley

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Oliver Stanley

Member of the British Parliament
for Bristol West
In office
6 July 1945 10 December 1950
Preceded by Cyril Culverwell
Succeeded by Sir Walter Monckton
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
22 November 1942 26 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by Viscount Cranborne
Succeeded by George Hall
Secretary of State for War
In office
5 January 1940 11 May 1940
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Leslie Hore-Belisha
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
President of the Board of Trade
In office
28 May 1937 5 January 1940
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Walter Runciman
Succeeded by Sir Andrew Duncan
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
22 February 1933 29 June 1934
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by John Pybus
Succeeded by Leslie Hore-Belisha
Member of the British Parliament
for Westmorland
In office
30 October 1924 5 July 1945
Preceded by Sir John Weston
Succeeded by William Fletcher-Vane
Personal details
Born(1896-05-04)4 May 1896
London, England, UK
Died10 December 1950(1950-12-10) (aged 54)
Sulhamstead, Berkshire, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Maureen Vane-Tempest-Stewart
(m. 1920;her d. 1942)
ChildrenMichael Stanley
Kathryn Dugdale, Lady Dugdale
Education Eton College
Profession Barrister

Oliver Frederick George Stanley, MC (4 May 1896 – 10 December 1950) was a prominent British Conservative politician who held many ministerial posts before his relatively early death.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, sometimes informally called the Tories, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 312 Members of Parliament, and also has 249 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.


Background and education

Stanley was the second son of Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, by his wife Lady Alice, daughter of William Montagu, 7th Duke of Manchester. Edward Stanley, Lord Stanley was his elder brother. He was educated at Eton, but did not proceed to the University of Oxford due to the outbreak of World War I. [1]

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Alice Maud Olivia Stanley, Countess of Derby was born the daughter of the 7th Duke of Manchester and his wife, Countess Louise von Alten.

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Military career

During the First World War, Stanley was commissioned into the Lancashire Hussars, before transferring to the Royal Field Artillery in 1915. He achieved the rank of captain, and won both the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre. [1]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Lancashire Hussars

The Lancashire Hussars was a British Army unit originally formed in 1798. It saw action in the Second Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War. In 1969, the regiment reduced to a cadre and the Yeomanry lineage discontinued.

Royal Field Artillery unit of the British Army from 1899 to 1924

The Royal Field Artillery (RFA) of the British Army provided close artillery support for the infantry. It came into being when created as a distinct arm of the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 1 July 1899, and was re-amalgamated back into the Regiment proper, along with the Royal Garrison Artillery, in 1924. The Royal Field Artillery was the largest arm of the artillery. It was responsible for the medium calibre guns and howitzers deployed close to the front line and was reasonably mobile. It was organised into brigades, attached to divisions or higher formations.

Political career

Sketch of Stanley commissioned by the Ministry of Information in the World War II period. INF3-51 Oliver Stanley Artist Wooding.jpg
Sketch of Stanley commissioned by the Ministry of Information in the World War II period.

After he was demobilized, Stanley was called to the bar by Gray's Inn in 1919. [1] In the 1924 general election he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Westmorland. From 1945 he sat for Bristol West.

The call to the bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar". "The bar" is now used as a collective noun for barristers, but literally referred to the wooden barrier in old courtrooms, which separated the often crowded public area at the rear from the space near the judges reserved for those having business with the Court. Barristers would sit or stand immediately behind it, facing the judge, and could use it as a table for their briefs.

Grays Inn one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. Located at the intersection of High Holborn and Gray's Inn Road in Central London, the Inn is both a professional body and a provider of office accommodation (chambers) for many barristers. It is ruled by a governing council called "Pension", made up of the Masters of the Bench, and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Inn is known for its gardens, or Walks, which have existed since at least 1597.

1924 United Kingdom general election

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Ministerial career

He soon came to the attention of the Conservative leaders and held a number of posts in the National Government of the 1930s. As Minister of Transport he was responsible for the introduction of a 30 miles per hour speed limit and driving tests for new drivers. In May 1938 whilst President of the Board of Trade he achieved a rare distinction in British politics when his brother Lord Stanley became Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs – a rare example of two brothers sitting in the same Cabinet, more so as their father, a former Conservative minister, was still alive. Nevertheless, five months later Edward died. (Another example is that of two Labour Party brothers, David Miliband and his brother Ed Miliband, who were appointed to the British Cabinet in June 2007.)

In the United Kingdom, National Government is an abstract concept of a coalition of some or all major political parties. In a historical sense it usually refers primarily to the governments of Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain, which held office during the Great Depression from 1931 until 1940.

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Road speed limits are used in most countries to set the legal maximum or minimum speed at which road vehicles may travel on a given stretch of road. In the US they have been set to protect the public and regulate unreasonable behavior. Speed limits are generally indicated on a traffic sign reflecting the maximum or minimum permitted expressed as kilometres per hour (km/h) and/or miles per hour (mph). Speed limits are commonly set by the legislative bodies of national or provincial governments and enforced by national or regional police and judicial authorities. Speed limits may also be variable, or in some places unlimited, such as on most of the Autobahn in Germany.

In January 1940 Stanley was appointed Secretary of State for War after the previous incumbent, Leslie Hore-Belisha, had been sacked after falling out with the leading officers. Much was expected of Stanley's tenure in this office, as his father had held it during the First World War, but four months later the government fell and Stanley was replaced by Anthony Eden. Churchill offered Stanley the Dominions Office, which Stanley turned down. [1] Instead, Churchill made Stanley a personal link with intelligence agencies, notably as founder of the London Controlling Section. Two years later Stanley's political fortunes revived when Churchill appointed him Secretary of State for the Colonies, a post which he held until the end of the war.

Secretary of State for War British cabinet-level position

The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of State for War headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament, and a Military Secretary, who was a general.

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Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then a relatively brief term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957.

Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs United Kingdom government cabinet minister; 1925–1947

The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet-level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State — and the self-governing Crown colony of Southern Rhodesia. When initially created, the office was held in tandem with that of Secretary of State for the Colonies; this arrangement persisted until June 1930. On two subsequent occasions the offices were briefly held by the same person. The Secretary was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. In 1947, the name of the office was changed to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

Last years

After the Conservatives' massive defeat in the 1945 general election Stanley was prominent amongst those rebuilding the party and he came to be regarded as one of the most important Conservative MPs. He was a governor of The Peckham Experiment in 1949. [2] He succeeded his father as Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. By this time, however, his health was in decline; and he died on 10 December 1950 at his home in Sulhamstead. [1]

Had Stanley lived longer, he might well have been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Conservatives formed a government the following year. [3] Historian Sir Charles Petrie went further, and insisted in his 1972 memoirs (A Historian Looks At His World) that "the greatest blow the Conservative Party has sustained since the late war was the premature death of Oliver Stanley. He was one of the most gifted men of the century, and would have made a very great Prime Minister. ... He was as brilliant a conversationalist as a public speaker." [4]


Stanley married Lady Maureen, daughter of Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry and the Hon. Edith Chaplin, in 1920. They had one son and one daughter:

Lady Maureen died in June 1942, aged 41. Stanley survived her by eight years and died in December 1950, aged 54.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Whitfield, Andrew. "Stanley, Oliver Frederick George (1896–1950)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36249.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. "The Bulletin of the Pioneer Health Centre". Peckham. 1 (5). September 1949. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  3. Howard 1987, p. 178-9
  4. Petrie, Sir Charles (1972). A Historian Looks at His World. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 193. ISBN   978-0283978500.

Books cited

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Weston
Member of Parliament for Westmorland
Succeeded by
William Fletcher-Vane
Preceded by
Cyril Culverwell
Member of Parliament for Bristol West
Succeeded by
Walter Monckton
Political offices
Preceded by
John Pybus
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
Leslie Hore-Belisha
Preceded by
Henry Betterton
Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
Ernest Brown
Preceded by
Walter Runciman
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Andrew Duncan
Preceded by
The Viscount Halifax
President of the Board of Education
Succeeded by
The Earl Stanhope
Preceded by
Leslie Hore-Belisha
Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
Anthony Eden
Preceded by
Viscount Cranborne
Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
George Hall