Obituary: Major-General Sir John Swinton, Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire

Major General Sir John Swinton
Major General Sir John Swinton
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Major-General Sir John Swinton of Kimmerghame, KCVO, OBE.

His many friends in Berwickshire and beyond learnt of the death of Major-General Sir John Swinton with great sadness. He died peacefully at the age of 93 at home at ­Kimmerghame in the early hours of 4 October.

Sir John was a very popular Lord Lieutenant for Berwickshire from 1989 to 2000. ­During this time, he organised a number of Royal visits, including a very successful one by The Queen and Prince Phillip in 1994.

Sir John was born on 21 April 1925, appropriately sharing that birthday with The Queen. Commissioned into the family regiment, The Scots Guards in 1944, he saw active service in Europe, being wounded twice.

He celebrated VE Day in a hospital ship returning to the United Kingdom having lost a leg at a place very close to where his father had suffered a similar wound in the Great War.

He saw further active ­service in Malaya from 1948 to 1951 being mentioned in dispatches. He was ADC to Field ­Marshall Sir William Slim, Governor General of Australia, and it was there that he met and married Judith.

He commanded 2nd ­Battalion Scots Guards from 1966 to 1968, the 4th Guards Armoured Brigade as a ­Brigadier between 1972 and 1973 followed by the Scottish Lowlands centred on Edinburgh Castle from 1975 to 1976.

He was then appointed ­General Officer Commanding London District and Major-General commanding the Household Division from 1976 to 1979, being appointed KCVO on relinquishing that command.

During that time, he organised the state funeral of Lord Mountbatten and was in charge of London’s emergency services during the fireman’s strike.

In addition to being Lord Lieutenant, John Swinton held chairmanships of The Royal British Legion Scotland, Borders Area SAAFA, the ­Berwick Military Tattoo, the Thirlestane Castle Trust and the Berwickshire Civic Society. He was not a man who could be an idler.

He was also a member of the Queens Bodyguard for Scotland (The Royal Company of Archers), being Captain from 2003 to 2007.

He enjoyed fishing and shooting, being active in both into his 90s. Most of all he enjoyed being at home with his family at Kimmerghame. He will be greatly missed.

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