John Barnes, Historian

Sir Arthur Young 1st Baronet (1889-1950)

Young was made a baronet in the resignation honours list of 1945, evidently for his services in the Whips Office, which he had joined in February 1941 as the Scottish Unionist whip and where he had attained the position of Vice Chamberlain of His Majesty’s Household in July 1944. He continued to serve as an Opposition whip until his sudden death while on holiday in France at the early age of sixty.

Arthur Stewart Leslie Young was born on 10 October 1889, the son of D.H.L.Young of Glasgow and his wife, Alice Templeton . He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Fettes. He was a partner in the Glasgow firm of James Templeton and Son, carpet manufacturers. He married Dorothy Spencer, the daughter of Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer KCMG who held the chair of biology at Melbourne University, on 21 November 1913. They had two sons, the elder of the two, Alistair (1918-63), succeeding his father in the baronetcy, and two daughters. He was commissioned as a Territorial in the 8th Scottish Rifles in 1909 and in the 1914-18 war he served with them in France and Flanders, at Gallipoli, and in Egypt and Palestine, reaching the rank of Major. An account of its campaigns was subsequently published by Colonel Findlay and Young contributed to the expense of publication.

Young was a keen yachtsman and in 1931 retained the Seawanhaka Cup for Britain in his yacht Saskia. He was elected to the Council of the Yacht Racing Association when it was re-formed in November 1945 and later became its senior Vice President. He was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes.

Young served as Chairman of the Junior Imperial Union of the Scottish Unionist Association 1925-8 and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1927. In 1934 he took on the Treasurership of the Western Division council of the Scottish Unionist Association and in the following year was elected to Parliament as the MP for the Partick Division of Glasgow. In November 1936 he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to H.J.Scrymgeour-Wedderburn, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, and in September 1939 was moved to a similar position with the Secretary of State for Scotland, D.J. Colville. In May 1940 he became PPS to Colville’s successor, Ernest Brown.

Taken into the whips office as the Unionist whip for Scotland in February 1941, he was made a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in February 1942 and served as Vice Chairman of the Royal Household from July 1944 until the Conservative Government left office in July 1945. He then resumed his position as Scottish whip in opposition and in that capacity was forced to defend the party’s approach to planning when Colonel Sinclair, the Conservative candidate for Edinburgh East in the 1945 election declined to fight the subsequent by-election in the autumn of 1945. He served on James Stuart’s committee which in 1949 recommended to the Conservative party that there should be some strengthening of Scottish control over Scottish affairs.

As one of the officers of the Associated British Chambers of Commerce, he took part in the presentation to Churchill of an illuminated scroll thanking him for his courage and leadership during the Second World War.

Young held his seat narrowly in the 1945 General Election and was adopted for the newly created Scotstoun division of Glasgow for the February 1950 General Election, winning it after a recount by 239 votes.

He died while on holiday in France on 14 August 1950.

An obituary appeared in The Times on 16 August 1950.