John Henry Stuart 23rd Lord Borthwick - Obituary
13th September 1905 - 30th December 1996

Hohn Henry Stuart 23rd Lord BorthwickJohn Henry Stuart Borthwick succeeded his father in 1937 as Laird of Crookston, Baron of Heriotmuir, and Hereditary Falconer of Scotland to the Queen. Though the origins of the latter appointment are obscure, Borthwick was one of four representative Scottish barons charged with carrying the crown canopy, during the Queen's post coronation state visit to Scotland.

With the outbreak of the second world war, he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery. He was involved in the air defence of Birmingham and the defence of Clydeside against any invasion by sea. In 1944 he saw action in the northwest Europe campaign and at the end of the war, he served on the allied military government staff in Germany. He was put in charge of food and produce supplies for the north Rhine and west Phalia. His knowledge of agriculture came to the fore, and he obtained 100 ploughs to enable the local population to begin growing crops again and so feed themselves without having to call on food aid from Britain or the USA. His years in Germany were particularly fulfilling and happy. He made many friends, and these friendships lasted to the end of his life. He returned for many visits over the years, and was able to use his knowledge and connections with that country, when he started to export Galloway and Highland cattle in the 60's.

After demobilisation, he returned to the estate at Crookston. He found work with the Ministry of Agriculture, and spent many happy hours in the border valleys, punching calve's ears, and meeting many local characters. When the home farms came in hand, he built up a herd of pedigree north country cheviots. He took his place in county life and the farming community. He served as a County Councilor, and Justice of the Peace and was a Deputy Lieutenant of Midlothian. He served on the south east region of the Wool Marketing Board. He was President of the local branch of the NFU. And a committee member of the south east region of the Scottish Landowners Federation.

For about forty years, his great challenge in life was to claim the peerage of Borthwick, which had lain in abeyance since 1910. His claim was widely believed to be valid, but obtaining proof required great detective work. He eventually found documentary clues in a box under a table at Crookston. This led in turn to crucial evidence in the archives of the Vatican. A 1446 charter and a 1458 letter which had cast doubt on his forbears' lineage were proved to be forgeries. The Lord Lyon formally upheld his claim to be the 23rd Lord Borthwick in 1986. He was proud to take his seat in the house of lords and attended on a weekly basis, and took a great interest in all the proceedings, and served on several committees. His latter years were enlivened by the stimulation of the company he met in the most exclusive club in London. He always maintained he was working and learning all the time.
His pride in the family of Borthwick led to the formation of a Clan Association. He was a member of the standing council of Scottish Chiefs. In 1976 he was chairman of the monitoring committee of Scottish Tartans. He was an international delegate for the committee of the Baronage of Scotland.
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