Thomas Godfrey Polson Corbett

(2nd Lord Rowallan)

1895 - 1977

Statesman. Born into a Scottish family in London, Corbett was the son of Archibald Cameron Corbett (1856 - 1933). He was educated in London and at Eton College, spending his holidays at the family estate - Rowallan Castle in Ayrshire. He joined the Ayrshire Yeomanry at the outset of the First World War and served at Gallipoli, in Egypt and on the Western Front. He was wounded, awarded the Military Cross but invalided out of the army. In 1918, he married Gwyn Grimond, the sister of Liberal Leader Jo Grimond (1913-93), and inherited the title Lord Rowallan on the death of his father. Thereafter he engaged in agriculture, developed the family estates and was involved in his family company, the food manufacturer Brown and Polson. He served with the British Expeditionary Force in France at the beginning of the Second World War and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. Thereafter his efforts were directed into training and he was appointed Commandant at the new Highland Fieldcraft Training Centre in Glen Feshie, which later moved to Poolewe.

Corbett was elected Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire in 1945 and is credited with building the Boy Scout movement internationally. He served in this role until 1959, when he was appointed Governor of Tasmania (1959 - 1963). He served as a Governor of the National Bank of Scotland (1947-53).

Corbett was created a Knight of the Order of the Thistle in 1957 and granted Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in the same year. He died at Rowallan Castle but he is remembered in the names of scout camps in Wrexham (Wales), at Riddells Creek (Australia) and Nairobi (Kenya), together with Lake Rowallan, Rowallan Dam and Power Station in Tasmania. The National Library of Scotland holds his papers.

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