Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Basil Sheridan (No. 141136)

Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Basil Sheridan (Sheridan)

4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava

Captain

No. 141136, Royal Horse Guards

Killed on active service on Sunday 25 March 1945 (aged 35)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar (Face 1)

Bangor and District War Memorial (as Sheriden B.)

Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church (as The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava)

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Royal County Down Golf Clubhouse

Celtic Cross in the family burial plot on the Clandeboye Estate

Memorial Scroll in Clandeboye Chapel

John Betjeman Poem In memory of Basil, Marquess of Dufferin and Ava

BIOGRAPHY

Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, was born on 6 April 1909 and he was the eldest child and only son of Captain Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood DSO, 3rd Marquess of Dufferin and Ava and Brenda, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava of Clandeboye (nee Woodhouse).  His sister, Veronica Brenda Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, was born on 13 December 1910 and, when his father succeeded to the Marquessate on 7 February 1918, Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood was known as the Earl of Ava.

Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood was educated at Eton (where he won the Rosebery Prize for history) and Balliol College, Oxford (where he had a close friendship with the poet John Betjeman).  He and Maureen Constance Guinness were married on 3 July 1930 in St. Margaret’s, Westminster and 18 days later, on 21 July 1930, Basil succeeded to the Marquessate when his father was killed in an air crash near Meopham, Kent.  His father was buried in the family burying ground at Clandeboye.

Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood and Maureen Constance Guinness had three children:

Lady Caroline Maureen Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood (born 16 July 1931, died 15 February 1996)

Lady Perdita Maureen Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood (born 17 July 1934)

Sheridan Frederick Terence Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood (born 9 July 1938, died 29 May 1988)

Sheridan Frederick Terence Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood succeeded to the Marquessate at the age of six when his father died on 25 March 1945, thus becoming the 5th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava.  In 1964 he married his cousin, Serena Belinda (Lindy) Rosemary Guinness, in St. Margaret’s Westminster.  With the death of Sheridan Frederick Terence Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood in 1988 the Marquessate became extinct.

After succeeding to the Marquessate in 1930 Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood followed a political career.  He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords in December 1931 during a debate on India.  He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1937 and in 1940 he joined the Army.  In July that year he received a commission as a Captain in the Royal Horse Guards and in 1941 he was released from the Army to become Director of the Empire Division of the Ministry of Information from 1941 to 1942.  He rejoined the Army in 1944 and, when he was killed on 25 March 1945, he was serving on the Headquarters staff of the Mandalay Section in Burma (now Myanmar).  He was shot at point blank range during a surprise attack by Japanese soldiers on 25 March 1945 while he was broadcasting a message to the Japanese in the Letse area, 32 miles south west of Pakkoku in Burma.  After his death, the bells of Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) were tolled and a vote of sympathy to his family was passed at the annual general vestry meeting in Bangor Abbey.  The Rev. James Hamilton conducted his memorial service.

The 4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava was 35 when he died in Burma (the 1st Marquess took the Ava part of his title from Ava, the ancient capital of Burma).  Lord Ian Basil Gawaine Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, third son of the 1st Marquess was killed in action on 4 July 1917 during the First World War.

During the South African War, Lord Basil’s eldest brother, Archibald James Leofric Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Earl of Ava, (eldest son of the 1st Marquess), served as a Lieutenant with the 17th Lancers and he died of wounds sustained on 6 January 1900 at Ladysmith.

Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial (as Sheriden B.); in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church (as The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava); in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s); in Royal County Down Golf Clubhouse; by a Celtic Cross in the family burial plot on the Clandeboye Estate and on a memorial scroll in Clandeboye Chapel. The scroll bears the following inscription:

This scroll commemorates Captain the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, Royal Horse Guards, held in honour as one who served King and Country in the World War of 1939 – 1945 and gave his life to save mankind from tyranny.  May his sacrifice help to bring peace and freedom for which he died.

In his memory, John Betjeman wrote the poem In memory of Basil, Marquess of Dufferin and Ava.  After Basil died, his widow Maureen married twice more, first Major Harry Alexander Desmond Buchanan and then John Cyril Maude QC.  She continued to use the title acquired from her first marriage and Maureen Lady Dufferin died on 3 May 1998.  She was buried at Clandeboye.