Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne

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About Roundell Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne,_3rd_Earl_of_Selborne

Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne, CH, PC (15 April 1887 – 3 September 1971), styled Viscount Wolmer from 1895 to 1941, was a British administrator, intelligence officer and Conservative politician.

Background and education

Born in the City of Westminster, Wolmer was the eldest son of William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne and his wife, the former Lady Beatrix Cecil, daughter of Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. He was educated at Winchester College and graduated from University College, Oxford in 1909.

Political career

A few months later, at the December 1910 general election Lord Wolmer entered Parliament as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Newton division of Lancashire. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to his uncle, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Robert Cecil in 1916 and Assistant Director of the War Trade Department from 1916 to 1918. At the 1918 general election, he did not stand in Newton (which was won by the Labour Party politician, Robert Young), but was elected to the newly formed constituency of Aldershot that year. From 1922 to 1924, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade and Assistant Postmaster-General from 1924 to 1929.

In 1940, Lord Wolmer left the Commons when he was called up the House of Lords in his father's barony of Selborne and was Director of Cement at the Ministry of Works from 1940 to 1942. In 1942, he inherited his father's earldom and his last political post was as Minister of Economic Warfare from 1942 to 1945. This put him in charge of the Special Operations Executive, which ran undercover operations of sabotage in Occupied Europe. He was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour after the war and in 1948 was Master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, then chairman of the National Provincial Bank from 1951 to 1953 and deputy chairman of Boots from 1951 to 1964.