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Capt. W.E. Elliot MP

A tragic death

Captain Walter E. Elliot MP is best known for his becoming Member of Parliament for Lanark. The son of a Lanarkshire farmer, Elliot was raised in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he studied science and medicine. He then became a medical officer to the Scots Greys and served in the First World War where he gained a Military Cross.

Elliot then entered politics and was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Lanark in the 1918 general election. He lost this seat in the 1923 general election but, a year later in the 1924 general election, he was elected as MP for Glasgow Kelvingrove. He was seen by many as a rising star. In 1932 he entered the Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture and subsequently served as Secretary of State for Scotland and Minister of Health. Amongst his achievements were the Agricultural Marketing Act which sought to protect food producers from going bankrupt amidst massive surpluses and collapsing prices, the introduction of free milk for school children and formation of the National Housing Company which built prefabricated "Weir Houses" in Clydeside.


On 29th March 1939, Elliot passed the Cancer Act 1939 - "An Act to make further provision for the treatment of cancer, to authorise the Minister of Health to lend money to the National Radium Trust, to prohibit certain advertisements relating to cancer, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid". All provisions in the Act for improving the treatment of cancer nationally have since been stripped, leaving only the prohibition against advertisements relating to cancer treatments.

The story on the left page is the tragic account of the death in 1919 of his newlywed spouse on their honeymoon in the Cullin Hills on the Isle of Skye.

Read more stories from the First World War section
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2nd Lieutenant Andrew Stewart
Capt. Ernest Broun
CPHS Weekly image from our 1914-18 gallery
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William Watson 5th Scottish Rifles

Created before 2012