A Collection of Medals to Members of the Nobility and The Royal Household
Date of Auction: 8th December 2016
Sold for £1,600
Estimate: £1,200 - £1,600
Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (2.Lieut: A. O. J. Hope. C. Gds:); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. A. O. J. Hope); Jubilee 1935; Coronation 1937; France, Third Republic, Croix de Guerre, reverse dated ‘1914-1917’, bronze, light contact marks, generally good very fine (7) £1200-1600
FootnoteG.C.I.E. London Gazette 7 July 1939.
M.C. London Gazette 1 January 1918.
Arthur Oswald James Hope, 2nd Baron Rankeillour, was born at Marylebone, London, on 7 May 1897, the eldest son of the 1st Baron Rankeillour and his wife Mable, and was educated at the Oratory School, Birmingham, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, Coldstream Guards, on 11 November 1914, he served with them throughout the Great War. Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 1 January 1916) and awarded the French Croix de Guerre, he was also awarded the Military Cross, most likely for good service during the Battle of Passchendaele, where losses to the Guards Division as a whole came to 303 Officers and 7,868 other ranks. Advanced Captain, Hope subsequently served as Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion from 17 May 1918 until 2 June 1919. He retired from the army at the end of the War, and entered public life. Elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Nuneaton at the 1924 General Election, he joined his father in the House of Commons, representing Nuneaton from 1924-29 (whilst his father was M.P. for Sheffield Central and the senior Deputy Speaker), and then Birmingham Aston from 1931-40. Joining the Government as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in May 1937, he was promoted to Treasurer of the Household in October of that year, and held that office until 1939, when he was nominated as Governor of the Madras Presidency, his father having been raised to the peerage as Baron Rankeillour on 28 June 1932.
Hope served as the Governor throughout the Second World War. Following his appointment he tried to revive the Madras Regiment, which had been disbanded in 1928, writing: ‘I have always felt reading the history of the Madras army in the old days that there must be something fundamentally wrong in ignoring the Madrasis in recent years. When you read the history of the past from 1750 onwards, you will see that the Madras troops did a great part of the fighting in India in those days and were nearly always successful.
It only required a good lever and a good office to bring a Madrasi back to his proper place and, therefore, almost from the first week that I was in the country, I have impressed on the late Commander-in-chief and his successor the fact that Madrasis were as good as, if not better, than anybody else and they have fought, are fighting and would fight again, as well as any other people in India, or indeed in the whole world.’
Following the Japanese conquest of Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there were strong apprehensions about possible Japanese attacks on coastal Indian cities. On 18 April 1942, in a secret communication to Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India, Hope described reports of a Japanese force heading towards India. There were Japanese air raids on the coastal towns of Vizagapatam and Cocanada on 6 April 1942 followed by sea attacks on Madras port. Hope responded by evacuating commercial and administrative establishments and business offices along the Madras coast and moving them inland. As a result of the enemy action and also to the efforts of Hope, the Madras Regiment was revived in 1942 and Hope was appointed the regiment's first Colonel-in-chief. A training centre was raised at Madukkarai in Coimbatore district in July 1942 and the regiment fought with distinction in the Burma campaign.
Hope married Miss Grizel Gilmour on 2 June 1919, the daughter of Brigadier-General Sir Robert Gilmour, Bt. and his wife Lady Susan Gilmour, daughter of the 6th Earl Beauchamp. They had four daughters. A keen cricketer, he played one first class match, for the Army against the University of Cambridge at Fenner’s in the 1926 season, and batting at no. 3 scored 2 and 23 in his team’s five wicket loss, against a Cambridge side that included four future England test cricketers. Having retired from public life in February 1946, he succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Rankeillour on the latter’s death on 14 February 1949. Lord Rankeillour died on 26 May 1958, and was succeeded to the Barony by his brother. The title is extant.