John Barnes, Historian

Apsley, Lieut. Col. Allen Bathurst, Lord (1895-1942)


Allen Algernon Bathurst, Lord Apsley, was the son and heir presumptive of the 7th Earl Bathurst. He was born on 3 August 1895 and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He served with the Gloucestershire Hussars from 1915 until 1918, winning the MC in 1917 and the DSO in 1918. He also held the Territorial Decoration. In the summer of 1922 he visited Iraq where the issue of the mandate was the subject of bitter dispute and he was wooed by both sides because his family owned the Morning Post and he was on the Board. He was elected to Parliament later that year, sitting for Southampton, a seat he held until 1929 and was immediately chosen by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Overseas Trade Department to be his PPS. From 1925 to 1929 he acted as PPS to the Minister of Transport.

He had married Viola Meeking on 27 February 1924 and the two of them were involved in an unusual adventure. Because of complaints about the treatment of emigrants who received an assisted passage to Australia, he was sent out under an assumed name and was subsequently joined by his wife. Together they wrote a book about their experience, The Amateur Settlers.

After his defeat in the 1929 election, he was chosen to fight Bristol Central and held the seat from 1931 until his death in 1942. He was appointed PPS to Sir Thomas Inskip in 1936. Rejoining the armed forces in 1939, he served with the Arab Legion 1941-2.

He had been President of the United Kingdom Pilots' Association since 1925 and had been the Chairman of Western Airways and the Western Transport Company Ltd.

He died on 17 December 1942 in Malta, killed in an air accident while on active service.