About Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser
Major the Honourable Sir Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser MBE (23 January 1918 – 6 March 1984) was a British Conservative politician and first husband of the author Lady Antonia Fraser.
Life and work
Youth and military career
Fraser was a younger son of the 14th Lord Lovat and a prominent Roman Catholic.
He was educated at Ampleforth College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he was President of the Oxford Union, and at the Sorbonne. He was commissioned into the Lovat Scouts in 1936. Hugh Fraser served in GHQ Liaison Regiment. Lieut. Hon H C P J Fraser promoted to temporary Captain wef 14 April 1942 and became second in command of ‘C’ Squadron. On 11 September 1943, ‘E’ Squadron commanded by Maj. Hon. H C P J Fraser embarked on HMS Aurora for Taranto, Italy, but it was allowed just four Jeeps fitted with Radio. In June 1944, he was serving with 'F' Squadron. On 22 October 1944, he was serving in ‘F’ Squadron. In November 1944, he was posted to IS9 as an Intelligence Officer. Fraser was appointed MBE:
In February, March and April of this year, he was responsible for planning and organising infiltration and evacuation operations in Southern Holland. Throughout, his work with IS 9 (WEA) has been outstanding, and his powers of leadership and sympathetic handling of agents have largely contributed to the success the operational teams have had during the past months.
Fraser was awarded the 1940 Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm:
Capt Fraser was dropped by parachute near Somleuz in the Ardennes on 1 Sept 1944 to act as Liaison Officer between HQ SAS Troops and the Commander of Zone the Belgian Arme Secrete in whose zone SAS parties if the Belgian SAS Regt were then operating. The Armee Secrete in the Ardennes was very short of arms and it was largely as a result of Capt Fraser’s efforts that some 2000 arms were dropped to them in the next three weeks. He also organised the supply of local guides and of intelligence to the advancing US forces. From October 1944 until March 1945 Capt Fraser was in charge of an I.S. 9 Field Section in the Canadian Army sector in Holland where he did valuable work in arranging the exfiltration of allied evaders collected by Lt Kirschen (Belgian SAS Regt operation Fabian) in the Velune district.
Capt. Hon. H C P J Fraser MBE was entitled to the ‘1939-45’ Star, the Africa Star with First Army clasp, Italy Star, the France and Germany Star and ‘1939-45’ War Medal.
Fraser was elected Member of Parliament for Stone in 1945, later Stafford and Stone following constituency boundary changes, from 1950 until 1983, and then Stafford again until his death. He served as an MP continuously from 1945 until 1984 but did not become Father of the House as he was sworn in as an MP on 15 August 1945 while James Callaghan had been sworn in on 2 August 1945 and so he, rather than Fraser, became Father following the 1983 election. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Oliver Lyttelton (1951–54), a junior minister in the War Office (1958–60) and Colonial Office (1960–62), and Secretary of State for Air (1962–64). He was an unsuccessful candidate in the Conservative Party's 1975 leadership election, gaining 16 votes in the first round challenging incumbent Edward Heath, with the leadership eventually being won by Margaret Thatcher.
Fraser married the future author Lady Antonia Pakenham, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Longford, on 25 September 1956. They had six children, Benjamin Fraser, Damian Fraser, Orlando Fraser, Rebecca Fraser, Flora Fraser and Natasha Fraser. In 1975, while she was still married to Fraser, Lady Antonia Fraser met and started living with playwright Harold Pinter, who was also married at the time. The Frasers divorced in 1977; Lady Antonia married Pinter in 1980 when his divorce became final.
Sir Hugh and Lady Antonia, together with Caroline Kennedy who was visiting at the time, were intended targets of an IRA car bomb on 23 October 1975. The bomb had been fitted to one of the Fraser's cars outside their house at Campden Hill Square, London, W8. The well-respected cancer researcher Prof. Gordon Hamilton-Fairley was walking past the car when the bomb exploded prematurely, killing Hamilton-Fairley immediately. The Frasers, their nanny (who was just arriving for work) and 6 others escaped with shock and minor cuts.
Sir Hugh Fraser remained in parliament until his death from lung cancer in March 1984, aged 66. Bill Cash retained the seat for the Tories at the by-election two months later.