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Lt. Colonel John (Jean) Eugène de Salis, 8th Count de Salis, FRGS, Graf v. Salis-Soglio,[1] (*Brussels 4 October 1891–†London 12 June 1949), eldest son of Sir John Francis Charles de Salis, KCMG, CVO, 7th Count de Salis, of the Holy Roman Empire, of Lough Gur House, Monasteranenagh, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, and the Grisons, Switzerland.

Photo of Count John Eugen de Salis, cropped from a press photograph showing the Reception of his father at the Vatican, c.1916–1922.

His mother, a descendant of Philipe de Croÿ, Duke of Aerschot (of the House of Croÿ), Pierre-Paul Riquet and both Émilie Pellapra and Thérésa Tallien, whom his father had married in Brussels on 6 December 1890, was Hélène Marie de Riquet, Comtesse de Caraman-Chimay (Château de Ménars 18 August 1864 – Bruxelles 31 May 1902). The eldest daughter of Marie Eugène Auguste de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay (Ménars 1847–Chimay 1881), (son of 17th Prince de Chimay), by Louise de Graffenried-Villars (1842–1901), she died aged 37, when John her eldest son was still only 10, a mere 13 days after the birth of her third son.

De Salis succeeded his father 37 years later in 1939, in the meantime he had been made and given a Bailiff Grand Cross, Order of Malta; the Order of the Crown of Roumania; a Chevalier Legion of Honour; and a Montenegrin Military Medal/Silver medal for bravery (1918).

He was educated at Jesuit Beaumont College and read modern history at Balliol College, Oxford 1910–1914, (4th class BA 1914, MA 1917). At Oxford he won the Officers' Training Corps' Company and Long Range Cups, and the Officers' Challenge Cup; was in the Snap-shooting team; won 2nd prize, Half-section Jumping, O.T.C. v Cambridge; was in the Oxford University Fencing Club (Sabres) v. Cambridge in 1913 and 1914. The 1914 varsity match was held at Tassart's Salle D'Armes, Oxford Circus, London. Tickets were 2/6.[2][3]

Loughgur House (formerly Grange Hill, probably built for Edward John Croker):[4] residence in the heart of County Limerick.

Soldier & Diplomat[edit | edit source]

Served in World War I, the European War 1914–19, in 1st Life Guards and Irish Guards (Lt. September 1914), twice wounded, 15 September 1916 and July 1917;[5] Captain on special service in the Balkans. Attached British Embassy, Paris, as an assistant to military attaché, 1918–19 (specially attached to Marshal Joffre);[6] entered Diplomatic Service, 1920; appointed 3rd Secretary, Washington; transferred Tokyo, 1921–22. Aide-de-Camp to the Earl of Lytton when Governor of Bengal, 1925–27; Adjutant Indian Army Rifle Team, 1927–29; Commandant Indian Army Rifle Team, Bisley,[7] 1930–34.[8] Delegate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem for revision of Geneva Convention 1929.[9] Served War of 1939–45; Captain on Military Mission under War Cabinet Office: France 1939–40, here Captain Count John de Salis was drafted last minute, replacing a Captain Purvis, nominally as the Duke of Windsor's translator for his controversial trip to France in October 1939 and in co-writing his Report on Visit to the First French Army and Detachments D'Army des Ardennes. Writing in 2012 in his book The Duke of Windsor's War, Michael Bloch describing this expedition speaks of: the brilliant and subtle de Salis, as a delightful secret service diplomatist with cosmopolitan connections who, by an extraordinary coincidence, had known the Duchess (then Mrs Earl Winfield Spencer) while attached to the Washington Embassy in the early 1920s.[10] They set off on 6 October 1939, the party comprised: five staff, Fruity Metcalfe, de Salis and the Duke.[11]

Later in World War II he was Senior Civil Affairs Officer (SCAO) for Asmara and Hamasien, Eritrea, 1943–44; Lt. Col.; Aide-de-Camp to Field Marshal Lord Alexander, who was commander-in-chief of the British forces in the campaign for the liberation of Italy from 1943 to 1945.

Wife[edit | edit source]

Priory Walk in July 2014. The grey house in the middle, no. 10: residence of the Counts de Salis, c. 1935– c. 1950.

He married in Rome 8 March 1947 Maria Camilla Presti di Camarda, (born 23 January 1926, died Richmond 1 May 1953), daughter of General Umberto de Presti by Teresa Vignola. They lived at 10 Priory Grove (now Priory Walk), South Kensington, SW10,[12] and had one son and heir: John de Salis.

(She married secondly, London, 10 July 1950, Lt. Colonel Rudolf Albert Freiherr v. Salis-Jenins-Aspermont, DSO, (born Mexico 3 July 1898, died London 27 May 1958), 4th Cavalry, Indian Army, Lt. 1917, then with 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse) in the Western Desert (within the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade), taken prisoner at Mechili, Libya, April 1941, escaped in Italy after July 1943. The son of Philipp Jacob v. Salis-Jenins, chemist, (1858–), by (married 7 April 1890) Lilly Robertson (d. Mexico 10 July 1908), Rudolf was a cousin of her late husband and had been Naturalized a British Citizen 6 December 1915. His grandfather was Jacob Freiherr von Salis (*1815-Jenins 1886), Holländischer and Schweizer Oberst and Divisionär.[13])

Clubs[edit | edit source]

Pratt's; Bachelors', and RAC.[14]

Brothers[edit | edit source]

  • Captain Count Anthony (Anton/Antoine) Denis (Dionys) Rodolph (Rudolf) (*Brussels 1897– †Paris 1952), educated at Downside and Balliol College, Oxford (two terms in 1915). Lt. Irish Guards April 1916; Guards Machine-gun Regiment; Military Mission 1919–21; Captain Scots Guards retired 1927, Major Scots Guards 1939; Commt. Tower of London; BEF, Special Unit; wounded and captured at Hazebrouck 28 May 1940; Spangenburg Castle Oflag, Upper Silesia Stalag.; repatriated Oct. 1943, and discharged for wounds June 1944.[15] Knight of Malta. Order of the Crown of Belgium. FRGS. (Clubs: Guards' and Marlborough).[16] Married (Monaie, 1925) Françoise Carmen Dagmar (1903–1985), daughter of general Louis Vicomte de la Panouse (d.1945), KCMG, CB., by Manuela Louise Consuelo Sabine de Wendel d'Hayange (1875–1941).
  • Count Peter Francis de Salis (*Brussels 1902 – †Bath 1982), educated Magdalen College, Oxford. Queen's Oxfordshire Hussars 1925–27; Lieut. Coldstream Guards 1930. Knight of St. John of Malta. Married (1934) Winifred Alice (1910–1977), younger daughter of Richard Atherton d'Anyers Willis (d.1923), of Halsnead Park, Prescot, Lancashire, by hon. Ethel Mary Clotworthy, daughter of 11th Viscount Massereene. (Clubs: Guards'; Pratts'; and RAC).[17] Served in Second World War; Lt. Col. Coldstream Guards, mentioned in dispatches; military representative to the European Defence Community, Paris, 1950.

Ancestors[edit | edit source]

Counts John, Anthony and Peter de Salis's ancestors in three generations
John, Count de Salis-Soglio
Sir John Francis Charles, 7th Count de Salis-Soglio, KCMG, CVO
(1864–1939)

John Francis William, 6th Count de Salis-Soglio
(1825–1871)

Peter, 5th Count de Salis-Soglio
(1799–1870)

Cecile Henrietta Marguerite Bourgeoise (Neuchâtel)
(1802–1892)

Amelia Frances Harriet Tower (1837–1885)

Lt. Col. Christopher Tower, DL, JP, MP, of Huntsmoor Park, Cornwalls Manor and Delaford Park, Iver, co. Buckingham (& Weald Hall)
(1800–1884)

Lady Sophia Frances Cust (1811–82), eldest daughter of 1st Earl Brownlow, GCH, MP

Hélène Marie de Riquet, Comtesse de Caraman-Chimay
(1864–1902)

Marie Eugène Auguste de Riquet, Prince de Caraman-Chimay
(1847–1881)

Joseph Philippe de Riquet de Caraman, 17th Prince de Chimay and 1st Prince de Caraman, of Chimay, Ménars, etc. Son of 16th Prince de Chimay by Madame Tallien
(1808–1886)

Émilie Louise Marie Françoise Joséphine Pellapra
(1806–1871)

Barone Louise de Graffenried-Villars
(1842–1901)

Denis Bernard Fredéric baron de Graffenried-Villars (of this family & see)[18]
(1815–1886)

Césarine Aimable Louise Fleming (1821–1897)
Daughter of Jean Louis Cuchet by Ernestine de Houdetot, and posthumous step-daughter of Seymour Dorothy Fleming.[19][20][21]
Regnal titles
Preceded by
7th Count de Salis
Count de Salis-Soglio
1939–1949
Succeeded by
John, 9th Count de Salis-Soglio

References[edit | edit source]

Lady Worsley, a glamorous but posthumous ancestral step-mother.

  • Burke's Peerage, Foreign Noblemen / Foreign Titles sections: 1851, 1936, 1956, etc.
  • Debrett's Peerage, Foreign Titles section, 1920, 1925, etc.
  • Burke's Irish Family Records, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Burke's Peerage Ltd, London, 1976.
  1. Der Grafliche Hauser, Band XI [volume 11], Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg an der Lahn, 1983 (pps 331–356)
  2. OUFC history, 2012
  3. Balliol College Register, 1900–1950, edited by Sir Ivo Elliott, Bt, 1953
  4. http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/property-show.jsp?id=2348
  5. The Irish Guards in the Great War, Edited and Compiled from Their Diaries and Papers, Volume II, The Second Battalion and Appendicies, 1923, by Rudyard Kipling, http://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/IrishGuardsv2/appendixa.html
  6. The Times, 30 June 1919, describes Joffre's departure from London: 'Marshal Joffre, accompanied by Commandant Blanchard and Commandant Gillot, and Captain Count de Salis, of the Irish Guards, who had been specially attached to the Marshal's staff during his stay in this country, left the Ritz Hotel shortly before 8.30 on Saturday morning in a Royal motor-car for Victoria Station, leaving there by the 8.50 boat train for France...
  7. Kelly's Handbook, 1936, page 579
  8. Who's Who
  9. Who's Who
  10. The Duke of Windsor's War, Michael Bloch, Hachette, 2012
  11. Hidden Agenda: How the Duke of Windsor Betrayed the Allies, 2002, by Martin Allen, (pages 129–131, 133, 154, 188)
  12. He was living there at least as early as 1935, Kelly's Handbook, 1936, page 579
  13. Gotha, 1910
  14. Kelly's Handbook, 1936, page 579
  15. Balliol College Register, 1900–1950, edited by Sir Ivo Elliott, Bt, 1953
  16. Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed, and Official Classes, 62nd annual edition, London, 1936, page 579
  17. Kelly's Handbook, 1936, page 579
  18. Dorothy Gould Burns
  19. Césarine Fleming inherited (some sold 1851) at least four acres at Brompton Heath, west of Onslow Square, South Kensington, London
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20140506050326/http://www.southkenliving.co.uk/history/harrington_villars_estate.htm. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  21. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=47510

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