Douglas Proby

Douglas James Proby DL, JP (23 September 1856 – 18 November 1931),[1] known as Douglas Hamilton until 1904, was a British politician and soldier.


Born Douglas Hamilton, he was the only son of Lord Claud Hamilton (1813–1884) and his wife Lady Elizabeth Emma, second daughter of Granville Proby, 3rd Earl of Carysfort.[2] John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn, was his great-grandfather and James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, his uncle.[3] In 1904 he assumed by Royal licence the surname of Proby in lieu of his patronymic.[4] He was educated at Eton College and went then to Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1879 and a Master of Arts in 1912.[2]

Military career

In January 1880, Proby was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant from the military college into the 109th Regiment of Foot.[5] He was exchanged to the Coldstream Guards in April[6] and when two years later the Anglo-Egyptian War erupted, he fought with the 1st Battalion .[2] He then became involved into the Mahdist War with the 2nd Battalion and took part in the Battle of Suakin in 1888.[2] After the end of the war in 1891, he was promoted to captain and transferred to the 5th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.[7] From 1897, he recruited new soldiers around Glasgow and in the following year, was advanced to major.[2] Proby was attached to the Irish Guards in 1900 and became lieutenant-colonel after another four years.[2] He was promoted to brevet-colonel in 1907 and retired in the following year.[2] From 1914 Proby commanded a regimental district until 1917.[8]

Political career

Proby entered the British House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Saffron Walden in the January 1910 general election.[1] However, he lost his seat in the December general election of the same year, and never returned to Parliament.[1] He was appointed High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1923 and was a Justice of the Peace for Northamptonshire and for Hampshire.[8] Proby represented the latter together with County Wicklow also as Deputy Lieutenant.[8] He was invested as an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (OStJ).[3]


On 6 July 1882, Proby married Lady Margaret Frances Hely-Hutchinson, daughter of Richard Hely-Hutchinson, 4th Earl of Donoughmore, and had by her four sons and a daughter.[8] Proby died in 1931 at his residence Elton Hall.[8] His oldest son Granville was a lord lieutenant and his third son Richard was created a baronet.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 "Leigh Rayment - British House of Commons, Saffron Walden".
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Who is Who 1926. London: Adam & Charles Black Ltd. 1926. p. 2374.
  3. 1 2 3 "ThePeerage - Colonel Douglas James Proby". Retrieved 2 January 2007.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 27701. p. 4977. 2 August 1904. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 24805. p. 342. 23 January 1880. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 24838. p. 2726. 27 April 1880. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 26164. p. 2726. 22 May 1891. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Burke, John (2001). Peter de Vere Beauclerk-Dewar, ed. Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain. p. 596. ISBN 0-9711966-0-5.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joseph Albert Pease
Member of Parliament for Saffron Walden
Jan 1910Dec 1910
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Cecil Tyrrell Beck
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