Willoughby was the second son of Godfrey Willoughby, 10th Baron Middleton and was educated at Wellington College and the Royal Military College. Graduating on 9 October 1907, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers). He transferred to the 17th Lancers 26 October 1907 and on 26 October 1909 to the 10th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers (Hodson's Horse) of the Indian Army. He was promoted Lieutenant 9 January 1910. He was stationed in India at the outbreak of the First World War, as the regiment was not selected to go overseas, but in March 1915 he was sent to Mesopotamia attached to the 16th Cavalry, being promoted acting Captain on 1 June 1915 and temporary Captain 1 September 1915. He also served as the 6th Cavalry Brigades Machine Gun officer January to June 1916 before returning to the 16th Cavalry. In July 1916 he was attached to the 12th Cavalry until August when he returned to India to take over the 10th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers (Hodson's Horse) depot at Multan, that regiment now being selected for active service. For his service in Mesopotamia he was awarded the Military Cross (London Gazette 22 December 1916) and was mentioned in dispatches three times (London Gazette 5 April 1916, 19 October 1916 and 12 June 1917). He was promoted from acting Captain to Captain 9 October 1916, later to be antedated to 1 September 1915. While at Multan he lead two scratch squadrons of the regiment on the Marri punative expedition between March and April 1918. Appointed acting Major commanding the depot 28 January to 12 August 1918. He was relived of command of the Depot in August 1918. Acting Major again whilst second in command of a regiment 26 October 1918 to 11 February 1919. Promoted Brevet Major 3 June 1919 and Major 9 October 1922.
He resigned his commission 1 November 1923. Willoughby's elder brother had been killed at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and so on the death of his father in 1924, Willoughby inherited the barony.
Lord Middleton rose through the ranks and became associated with Territorial regiments of the East Riding of Yorkshire. He first joined the Green Howards as a Lieutenant-Colonel and was promoted Colonel in 1928. In 1936, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire and commanded the 5th and 30th Battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment during the Second World War. From 1931, he was President of University College, Hull, (later the University of Hull) and was its first Chancellor from 1954 to 1970.
On 28 April 1920, Lord Middleton married Angela Florence Alfreda Hall, a daughter of Charles Hall, of Eddlethorpe, and the couple had four children:
- Digby Michael Godfrey John ( 1 May 1921 – 27 May 2011); holder of the military cross
- Angela Hermione Ida (born 5 May 1924)
- Jean Elizabeth Mary (26 January 1928 – 11 November 2008), married Sir Fergus Matheson, 7th Baronet and had issue
- Henry Ernest Christopher (born 12 June 1932), Brigadier
References[edit | edit source]
- Burke's Peerage & Gentry, 107th edition
- Obituary of Lord Middleton, The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2011
- The London Gazette
- Indian Army List (various dates)
- Hodson's Horse 1857-1922 by Major F. G. Cardew (William Blackwood & Sons Ltd, 1928)
The Lord Deramore
|Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
The Earl of Halifax
|Peerage of Great Britain|
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