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Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton







Lord Malcom Douglas-HamiltonWing Commander Lord Malcolm Avondale Douglas-Hamilton OBE, DFC (12 November 1909 – 21 July 1964) was a Scottish nobleman and politician.

Douglas-Hamilton was third son of the Alfred Douglas-Hamilton, 13th Duke of Hamilton, and Nina Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton. He was educated at Eton College and at the RAF College Cranwell.

He married twice: firstly in 1931 to the Hon. Pamela Bowes-Lyon (a granddaughter of the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) and cousin to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. They had four children. His elder son, Alasdair, wrote a biography of his father, Lord of the Skies.

Following their divorce he was wed in 1953 to Natalie Scarritt née Wales (1909-2013), an American who had organised the Bundles for Britain campaign in World War II.

After his second marriage, he emigrated to the United States, where he became extremely active in fostering relations between Scotland and Americans of Scottish descent. He considered the United States to be his adopted country. He founded, along with his wife, the American Scottish Foundation, which after the Saint Andrews Society is the oldest American organization devoted to US/Scottish relations in existence. The organization was responsible for establishment of Scotland House, and the Scottish Ball, an annual charitable dinner devoted to raising money to support the American Scottish cause.

He served with the Royal Air Force from 1929 to 1932, then worked in civil aviation until the outbreak of the Second World War, during which he again served with the RAF, becoming Commander of RAF Winkleigh on 29 March 1944. He was Air Training Corps Commandant for Scotland from 1945 to 1946. He was appointed OBE in 1943 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. His elder brother, the Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale, later 14th Duke of Hamilton and 11th Duke of Brandon, had also been active in the RAF and ATC.

He continued his love of flying, starting his own charter flying company in the early 1960s, and with his son Niall traversed remote parts of the globe. It was on one such trip through Cameroon in 1964 that Lord Malcolm went missing with his son Niall and a passenger, in the heavy equatorial mountainous jungle of Cameroon. Following an exhaustive manhunt by Lord Malcolm's family, including assistance from the Rockefeller company United Fruit, his remains were located in the jungle. Neither Niall Douglas-Hamilton nor the passenger were ever located.

Recently disclosed documents from MI5 show, that, on 1 August 1936, Lord Malcolm flew a de Havilland plane to Spain(1), that he delivered to pro-Franco nationalists. Another plane was flown the next day by Dick Seaman. Only two weeks earlier, General Franco was flown in a de Havilland from the Canary Islands to Morocco and onwards to Spain, helped by two other Britons, Hugh Pollard and Cecil Bebb.

He was the Unionist Member of Parliament for Inverness from 1950 to 1954. He held a number of appointments, including as a Governor of Gordonstoun School and as a member of the Royal Company of Archers.


The International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics and Ethnology (IAAEE), which is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, established a branch in the U.S. through the personal agency of Lord Malcolm Douglas -- a member of the British Cliveden Set which supported Hitler during World War II.

"[Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton's] deceased husband, part of the British aristocracy, was the brother of the host of Rudolph Hess when, in 1940, Hess made his secret flight to England. Hess, a top aide to Hitler and Nazi Party official, sought to meet with the British aristocratic circles known as the Cliveden Set. Sympathetic to Hitler's war aims, the Cliveden Set tried to get England out of the war it had declared against Germany in September, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland. Hess was arrested and imprisoned. After Lord Malcolm Douglas came to the U.S., he established an American branch of a racial eugenics group headquartered in Scotland. The oil billionaire Hunt brothers and Senator Jesse Helms are members of this group. It was headed by Robert Gayre, who published the racialist Mankind Quarterly until Roger Pearson took it over in 1978." 

"He helped establish a branch of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, an obscure racist-led network based in Scotland."



The above contributed paragraphs contain material that does not appear to stand up to scrutiny. I have found no evidence to support the claim that Lord Malcolm was a member of the Clivedon Set - some even dispute that such a group actually existed. Given that he was in the Royal Airforce at this time, it seems unlikley.

Lord Malcolm's elder son, Alasdair, in a note to me, says ' father was never in sympathy with the Nazis and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
...the Spanish flight ... had nothing to do with "favouring Franco".

Both of these issues are covered to some degree in Alasdair Douglas-Hamilton's book "Lord of the Skies", published by both as a printed book and as an e-book.




1. Letter referring to this flight



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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024