Major Sir Hamish Stewart Forbes, 7th Baronet
, MC KStJ
(15 February 1916
- 3 September 2007
) was a British Army
officer who served in the Welsh Guards
in the Second World War
, spending over 5 years in German
custody as a prisoner of war
. In later life, he was patron of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society
from 1984 until his death.
Forbes was born in London
. He was the second but only surviving son of Lieutenant Colonel James Forbes and his wife, Feridah Taylor. He was educated at Eton
, at Lawrenceville
in the United States
, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies
Before the Second World War, he worked for health salts manufacturer Eno and for sugar broker Czarnikow.
Forbes was commissioned as a subaltern
in the 1st Welsh Guards
in 1939. After a short period in Gibraltar
, he served as battalion intelligence officer in the British Expeditionary Force
in France in 1940. Leading a reconnaissance patrol near Arras
in May 1940, he was captured by the Germans
. He was later awarded the Military Cross
for his conduct.
He was held in a series of German prisoner-of-war camps until the end of the war, but was involved in at least 10 attempts to escape from the four prisoner of war camps in which he was detained. He and six others escaped from Oflag IX-A/Z at Rotenburg. He was quickly recaptured and jailed. He was involved in three attempts to escape from Oflag VII-C at Laufen, and three further attempts at Oflag VI-B at Dössel (now part of Warburg).
He was moved to Oflag VII-B at Eichstätt then back to Oflag IX-A/Z, where another escape bought him eight days of liberty. Recaptured and marched west with other prisoners to prevent being released by the advancing Red Army, he slipped out of the column and managed to reach forward units of the advancing First United States Army, and was quickly returned to England.
His escape attempts led to a mention in dispatches in 1945, upgraded to an MBE (Military Division).
He continued to serve in the Welsh Guards after the war, in England, Germany and with CENTO forces in Turkey. He retired from the Army as a major in 1958.
After leaving the British Army
, he worked for Calmic Chemicals
and Shell-Mex BP
until 1964. He was also an amateur painter and sculptor, and also very interested in heraldry
. He retired to Strathdon
He was secretary of the Order of St John from 1973 to 1983, and president of the Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade Association from 1974 to 2000. He succeeded his third cousin, Colonel Sir John Forbes, as 7th Baronet in 1984, and also became patron of the Lonach Highland Society that year. The Society was founded in 1822 by his ancestor Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet, and preserves Highland dress and the Gaelic language.
He married twice. He married Jacynthe Underwood in 1945, and they had a son and three daughters. They divorced in 1981 and he remarried that year, to Mary Christine Rigby MBE.
He died in Aberdeen and was survived by his second wife, and son and daughters from his first marriage. His son James succeeded him as 8th Baronet.