Frederick Guest

The Right Honourable
Frederick Guest
Secretary of State for Air
In office
1 April 1921  19 October 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Winston Churchill
Succeeded by Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt
Personal details
Born Frederick Edward Guest
14 June 1875 (1875-06-14)
Died 28 April 1937(1937-04-28) (aged 61)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Amy Phipps (1873-1959)
Children Winston Frederick Churchill Guest
Raymond R. Guest
Diana Guest Manning
Parents Baron Wimborne
Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill

Frederick Edward Guest, CBE, DSO, PC (14 June 1875 28 April 1937), often known as Freddie Guest, was a British politician best known for being Chief Whip of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's Coalition Liberal Party, 1917–1921. He was also Secretary of State for Air between 1921 and 1922. He won the Bronze medal with the British polo team in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Early life

The Guest family had made its fortune in the iron and steel industry in the 18th and 19th centuries and had married into the aristocracy. Frederick Guest was born in London, the third son of Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne (18351914) and Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill (18471927), daughter of John Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough. The Wimbornes were Conservatives who had been friends of Benjamin Disraeli. Guest was first cousin of Winston Churchill, son of Lady Cornelia's brother, the Conservative politician Lord Randolph Churchill. His four brothers were also politically active, notably Ivor Guest, 2nd Baron and 1st Viscount Wimborne, a junior minister and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In addition, Henry Guest and Oscar Guest were Members of Parliament (MPs), while Lionel Guest (18801935) was a member of the London County Council. His sister Frances Charlotte Guest (18651957) was married to Frederic Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, who served as Viceroy of India.


Education and military career

Educated at Winchester, Frederick Guest chose the military profession. He was commissioned as second-lieutenant in the Infantry militia, East Surrey Regiment, and promoted to lieutenant on 7 April 1894.[1] After apprenticeship in the militia, Guest was on 15 May 1897 appointed an officer in the 1st Life Guards, and promoted to lieutenant in that regiment on 23 November 1898. He was sent to Egypt in 1899, and in late November that year was part of a Camel Corps during the operations leading to the defeat of the Khalifa (mentioned in despatches 25 November 1899[2]). He served in South Africa during the Second Boer War from 1901, returning home in late June 1902, following the end of hostilities.[3] He was decorated for bravery, and rose to captain before retiring from active duty in 1906.

Political career

In 1904, during the controversy within the Conservative Party over adopting protectionism, Guest and other members of his family followed his cousin and close friend, Winston Churchill, into the Liberal Party in support of free trade — and perhaps also to accelerate their political careers. In 1906 Guest became private secretary to Churchill, by then a junior minister in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Liberal government. Guest attempted three times to enter the House of Commons before winning the vote in the East Dorset seat in the January 1910 general election. Although he remained unseated because of election irregularities by his constituency agent, he was reelected in December 1910. Known in the political world as "Freddie Guest," he was a popular backbencher, became a Liberal Party whip in 1911, in the same year was elected a charter member of the cross-bench Other Club of political insiders, and was appointed Treasurer of the Household (Deputy Chief Whip) in 1912.

When World War I began in August 1914, Guest returned to active service as aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France. Guest performed confidential missions for French, liaising with the War Office and with political leaders. In 1916 Guest served in the East African theatre of war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. After being invalided out of the army following serious illness, Guest resumed his political career. In May 1917 he joined Lloyd George's Coalition government as joint Patronage Secretary of the Treasury - effectively chief whip for the Coalition Liberals. On 3 December 1917 Guest sent Lloyd George a 14-page memo stating that although only around a third of Liberal MPs were staunch supporters of his predecessor H.H.Asquith, the time was not yet right to oust him from the Liberal leadership.[4]

Guest was appointed to the Privy Council in the 1920 New Year Honours,[5] entitling him to the style "The Right Honourable", and in 1921 was promoted to Secretary of State for Air, a post he held until the Coalition fell from power in October 1922. In the general election of November 1922 Guest lost his seat but in 1923 was returned for Stroud, then in 1924 for Bristol North. After losing as a Liberal in the 1929 election, he rejoined the Conservative Party, winning as a Conservative for Plymouth Drake in 1931 and remaining in this position until his death.


Olympic medal record
Men's Polo
1924 Paris polo

Guest competed for Great Britain in polo at the 1924 Summer Olympics.[6] The British Polo team received the Bronze Medal. He played alongside Frederick W. Barrett, Dennis Bingham and Kinnear Wise.

Guest can be found among the winners of the Roehampton Trophy. He would also lend horses to the English polo team for the International Polo Cup matches.

Family and private life

In 1905, Guest married Amy Phipps (18731959), daughter of American industrialist Henry Phipps (18391930). Amy was prominent as a women's suffragist, philanthropist and aviation enthusiast and owned valuable property in Long Island. The couple were frequent visitors to the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. They had a daughter and two sons who became American citizens:

Apart from his political career he was an amateur motor racing driver and airplane pilot. In 1930 he became deputy master of the Guild of Air Pilots, and master in 1932. He also played polo, was a big-game hunter in East Africa, and was a celebrated man-about-town in London and New York City society.

Guest died from cancer in 1937, at the age of 61.


  1. The London Gazette: no. 26501. p. 1954. 6 April 1894.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 27159. pp. 597–600. 30 January 1900.
  3. "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36811). London. 4 July 1902. p. 9.
  4. Koss 1985, p232
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31712. p. 1. 30 December 1919.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Henry Lyell
Member of Parliament for East Dorset
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Preceded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Member of Parliament for East Dorset
Succeeded by
Gordon Hall Caine
Preceded by
Stanley Tubbs
Member of Parliament for Stroud
Succeeded by
Frank Nelson
Preceded by
Walter Henry Ayles
Member of Parliament for Bristol North
Succeeded by
Walter Henry Ayles
Preceded by
James Moses
Member of Parliament for Plymouth Drake
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Political offices
Preceded by
William Dudley Ward
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
James Hope
Preceded by
Lord Edmund Talbot
Neil James Archibald Primrose
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
with Lord Edmund Talbot

Succeeded by
Leslie Wilson
Charles McCurdy
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
Secretary of State for Air
Succeeded by
Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt
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