Robert Boothby

Robert Boothby


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I received a telephone call from my friend 'Putzi' Hanfstaengi, who was at that time Hitler's personal private secretary and court jester. He told me that the Führer had been reading my speeches with interest, and would like to see me at his headquarters in the Esplanade Hotel.

It is true that when I walked across the long room to a corner in which he was sitting writing, in a brown shirt with a swastika on his arm, he waited without looking up until I had reached his side, then sprang to his feet, lifted his right arm, and shouted 'Hitler!'; and that I responded by clicking my heels together, raising my right arm, and shouting back: 'Boothby!'

I talked with Hitler for over an hour; and it was not long before I detected the unmistakable glint of madness in his eyes. I was much impressed by his grasp of Keynesian economics at that time. He said that I was quite right about economic

expansion, and the means by which it could be achieved. But he added that this was now a political crisis, and that political forces would bring him to power. "After that," he said, "I shall bend economics to my will; and I have in my hands the necessary instrument, a man called Schacht." He had no sense of humour. He asked me how I would feel if Germany had beaten us in the last war, and driven a corridor between England and Scotland. I said: "You forget, Herr Hitler, that I

come from Scotland. We should have been delighted." He did not smile. Instead he brought his fist down with a crash on the table and said: "So! I had no idea that the hatred between the two peoples was so great." Perhaps this was one of the reasons why he sent Hess to Scotland in 1940, for I am sure that he did; and why he never bombed Edinburgh.

I then asked him, point-blank, what he was going to do to the Jews. I thought Hanfstaengi was going to faint, but only a flicker of irritation crossed his face. After a moment he said: 'There will be no pogroms.' I think that, at the time, he probably meant it. He had already planned to take over the whole of central and eastern Europe, and intended to deport all German Jews to those countries. What I cannot bring myself to believe is that he was unaware of what Himmler ultimately did to them.

That night I thought long and earnestly about the interview. I came to the conclusion that his plans were far more advanced than I had thought. He did not then wish to attack Britain and the British Empire, or even France. What he was determined to do was to bring the whole of central and eastern Europe under German control; and for this purpose Austria, and above all Czechoslovakia, were the key points.

If those of us who believe in freedom refuse to fight for our faith under any circumstances, then assuredly we will succumb to the military forces of Fascism or Communism, and most of the things which seem to make life worth living will be swept away.

There is little enthusiasm for the National Government; and I am firmly convinced that we are now moving towards a very considerable electoral debacle.

This seems to be to be due

(1) to the absence of any political philosophy, or theme, or policy, adequate to the needs of the time; and

(2) to the lack of constructive measures, and a reactionary tendency on the part of the Government which has become apparent lately. e.g. ineffective housing policy; continued and unwarranted retardation of public works; and, last but not least, the financial provisions of the Unemployed Insurance Bill.

I don't share the views of some regarding the necessity for State 'planning' of industry, although I think that some new guiding principles will have to be laid down to enable us to deal with certain industries of national importance along modern scientific lines.

But I do jib at starving the unemployed. And that is what it amounts to in some districts at the present time.

If the Government is to prosper, the people must be given something in which to believe.

But my immediate purpose in writing to you is simply to say that if something isn't done to mitigate the sufferings of the unemployed either in this Bill or in the Budget, I personally could not go on supporting the Government.

It isn't fair to ask people to vote down a proposal to give an extra shilling to the first two dependent children, and vote for the purchase of a Bible which no-one can read.

Those who gave their lives in the war did so to save freedom and to gain peace; but today tyranny has regained the upper hand in Europe, and the danger of war is as great as in 1914.

The cream of Britain's manhood was killed in the last war, and those who survived were never allowed to play any part in the rebuilding of Europe. The result is that there is little but brute force left.

Today Germany is governed by a group of able and ruthless men, who have persuaded the German people that they can never become great again except through armed force.

I tell you they are rearming. And I say this - that if we go on as we are today, in a year or eighteen months' time they will be in a position to strike a vital blow at the very heart of the British Empire.

It is not too late to save the situation if only we learn the lessons of the past. The British Empire still stands for the things those men died to win - freedom and peace. But I would not care to share the responsibility of those who today are exposing us to mortal peril.

In relation to the facts of the present situation our Air Force is pitifully inadequate. If we are strong and resolute, and if we pursue a wise and constructive foreign policy, we can still save the world from war. But if we simply drift along, never taking the lead, and exposing the heart of our Empire to an attack which might pulverize it in a few hours, then everything that makes life worth living will be swept away, and then indeed we shall have finally broken faith with those who lie dead in the fields of Flanders.

Reflecting the mood of the country, the Conservative Party was rotten at the core. The only thing they cared about was their property and their cash. The only thing they feared was that one day those nasty Communists would come and take it. The Labour and Liberal Parties were no better. With the exception of Hugh Dalton (and even he, speaking from the Front Opposition bench, announced that they would give no support of any kind to resistance to Hitler's military occupation of the Rhineland), they made violent, pacifist speeches; and voted steadily against the miserable Defence Estimates for the years 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938. Churchill did not forget this after he came to power. When he was once asked why he did not sack more Conservative ministers, and appoint more from the Labour and Liberal Parties, he said: "They were worse."

The terms of the Munich Agreement turned out to be even worse than we had supposed. They amounted to unconditional surrender. Even Goering was shocked. He said afterwards that when he heard Hitler tell the conference at Munich (if such it could be called) that he proposed to occupy the Sudeten lands, including the Czech fortifications at once, 'we all knew what that meant'. But neither Chamberlain nor Daladier made a cheep of protest. Hitler did not even have to send an ultimatum to Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain did that for him. Ashton-Gwatkin of the Foreign Office brought it from Munich to Prague for presentation to the Czech Government. He had breakfast with our Military Attaché, Brigadier Humphrey Stronge, before he showed it to the British Minister, Basil Newton. Stronge said that Czechoslovakia could never accept such terms, as they involved, amongst other things, surrendering all the fortifications, and thereby rendering her defenceless. Ashton-Gwatkin said that they had got to accept, and that there was no alternative. Stronge, in his own words, was 'staggered'; and wondered what the outcome could possibly be. Later that day, after a heated argument with some of his generals and politicians, Benes capitulated.

I was lucky to go to the Ministry of Food. Lord Woolton was not only a great administrator, but he knew how to treat his Under-Secretary as few ministers ever do. Since I was responsible to the House of Commons for policy over the whole field, he gave instructions that I should be kept fully informed about every aspect of it. But he went further than that. He gave me specific jobs to do. For example, he said to me: "One thing we are not short of is milk. We need a National Milk Scheme. Draft one for me, and let me have it by the end of next week. The whole resources of the Ministry are at your disposal." I did this, and after he had made certain amendments, he told me to submit it to the Cabinet on his behalf. It was approved, and I got it through the House of Commons without opposition, and even without debate, during the evacuation from Dunkirk. Thus the National Milk Scheme, which provided ample supplies of cheap milk for children and nursing mothers, came into existence. Scientists are now generally agreed that this did more than anything else to nourish, and sustain the health of, the youth of this country throughout the war.

Then came the Blitz. After Coventry, the East End of London had to bear the brunt. Every night, from dusk to dawn the German bombs fell upon them. Woolton suggested that I might go down there every morning about six o'clock when the 'All-clear' sounded, and see what I could do to help. I found that, as they came out of the shelters, what comforted them most was a kiss and a cup of tea. These were easily provided. Almost overnight I got the Ministry of Food to set up canteens all over the East End, manned by voluntary workers, where the tea was free. When we took them back to their

homes, often reduced to rubble, their chief concern was what had happened to the cat. I am afraid that the cat searches which I tried to organize were less successful than the canteens.

A number of people, including Kingsley Martin, the Editor of The New Statesman and Ritchie Calder, now Lord Ritchie- Calder, came down to help. But the dominant figure was a priest called Father Grozier. He never failed. He seemed to be everywhere all the time; and his very presence brought comfort, and revived confidence and courage, to thousands of people.

The people of the East End of London - the true cockneys - are a race apart. Most of the men were dockers, all the women cosy. Taken as a whole, they were warm, affectionate, gay, rather reckless, and almost incredibly brave. Sometimes the language was pretty rough, but it was so natural and innocent that it never jarred. One day I came across a small boy crying. I asked him what the matter was, and he said: "They burnt my mother yesterday." Thinking it was in an air-raid, I said: "Was she badly burned?" He looked up at me and said, through his tears: "Oh yes. They don't muck about in crematoriums." I loved them, and I am glad to have been close to them in their hour of supreme trial.

I soon came to the conclusion that the policy of area bombing of Germany, then being pursued mainly by Wellington bombers, was not paying off, because the expenditure of our resources and, still more, of our skilled manpower, was far greater than the results achieved. Too many of our bombs were dropped in fields. German arms production was not being seriously interfered with. The best that could be said for it was that a considerable number of Goering's fighter aircraft, which might have been sent to other fronts, had to be kept in Germany. The truth is that in those days the instruments for accurate navigation did not exist. There were high hopes of one gadget, which I did not begin to understand; and which was brought to us one day in a brand-new Wellington bomber. All the navigators in the squadron went up to see how it worked. Five minutes after take-off, a wing fell off the plane, and they were all killed.

Early in 1942, Lindemann, by then a member of the Cabinet, circulated his famous paper on strategic bombing. This said that if it was concentrated entirely on German working class houses, and 'military objectives' as such were forgotten, it would be possible to destroy fifty per cent of all the houses in the larger towns of Germany quite soon. Charming! The paper was strongly opposed by the scientists, headed by Sir Henry Tizard and Professor Blackett. Tizard calculated that Lindemann's estimate was five times too high, and Blackett that it was six times too high. But Lindemann was Churchill's man; and Lindemann prevailed. After the war the bombing survey revealed that his estimate was ten times too high.

The story of the Lindemann-Tizard controversy has been well told by C. P. Snow in his book Science and Government; and I have not seen it seriously contradicted. But one thing remains to be said. I think the scientists underestimated the psychological effect of our bombing policy not upon the German but upon the British people. They themselves were under heavy bombardment; and between 1941 and 1944 bombing was the only method by which we could directly hit back. I am sure that it gave a tremendous boost to British morale; and that, to this extent at least, the thousands of brave and skilled young men in Bomber Command did not give their lives in vain.

(4) The Sunday Independent (1st January 1995)

In it's dying days in the summer of 1964, Sir Alec Douglas-Home's Tory government feared it was about to face another sex scandal similar to the the Profumo case the year before.

John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, had been forced to resign after it emerged that he had slept with a woman who was also having an affair with a Soviet diplomat.

On 12 July 1964, the Sunday Mirror published a front page lead story under the headline: "Peer and a gangster: Yard probe." The newspaper claimed police were investigating an alleged homosexual relationship between a "prominent peer and a leading thug in the London underworld", who is alleged to be involved in a West End protection racket.

It said the peer was a "household name", and that the inquiries embraced Mayfair parties attended by the peer and the thug, and "the private weekend activities of the peer and a number of prominent public men during visits to Brighton". Scotland Yard was also looking at "relationships between the East End gangsters and a number of clergymen". It also spoke of allegations of blackmail.

Although the peer was not named, Fleet Street and the Commons had heard the rumours, and identified the peer as Lord Boothby, a former Conservative private secretary to Churchill, and then a radio and television personality. The Kray's had not yet achieved their notoriety.

Other newspapers did little about the story, and Scotland Yard denied it, but the Home Office and the Prime Minister's office were taking it seriously. The Profumo scandal had similarly simmered beneath the surface for months before exploding.

Sir Tim Bligh, the Prime Minister's private secretary, illustrated how the rumour mill had begun to operate when he sent a note to Douglas-Home on July 18 saying he had spoken to the chief whip, who had heard from two backbench Tory MPs that "Lord Boothby and (Tom) Driberg, (a Labour MP) had been importuning males at a dog track and were involved with gangs of thugs who dispose of their money at the tracks".

Bligh, apparently believing the tales, said the information "has been passed on to the Home Office", and that "the chief whip's (Martin Redmayne) view remains that if a prosecution was impending and was being held up, it should proceed".

The next day the Sunday Mirror splashed again on the story, saying it had a picture of the peer and the gangster sitting on a sofa.

At Chequers that day the story and its implications were debated by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, the Home Secretary, Henry Brooke, and the Prime Minister.

Later another backbench MP told Brooke's personal private secretary he knew the photograph of Boothby and Kray was incriminating, although he had not seen it.

Boothby had by now returned from holiday abroad with Sir Colin Coote, editor of the Daily Telegraph, and sent a detailed letter to the Home Secretary explaining his innocence. The photograph had been taken when Ronald Kray had come to his house six months earlier to discuss a legitimate business proposition. Boothby had not known Kray was a criminal, and had in any case turned down the business plan. Kray had wanted to be pictured with Boothby because he was a personality, and it would have been churlish to refuse. Boothby was not a homosexual, he told Brooke.

On 21 July the Home Secretary chaired a secret meeting of senior Conservatives to discuss what is now being seen as an impending crisis. At his request, the editor and reporter at the Sunday Mirror were interviewed but said nothing.

At this stage MI5 was asked what it knew, and said it had nothing on Boothby or Kray. The chief whip said he believed there was a conspiracy between the Labour Party and the Mirror.

Given a note about the meeting, the unworldly Douglas-Home, out of touch with the subtleties of London gossip, scribbled a note puzzling that if it is politically motivated, why is Boothby involved?

William Deedes, future editor of the Daily Telegraph and then a minister without portfolio, tried without success to find out from Fleet Street the source of the Mirror's story.

Bligh, the Prime Minister's private secretary, by now had the story completely out of proportion, and had picked up the fact that Coote had been peripherally involved with characters in the Profumo scandal.

Then almost as suddenly as it had blown up, the story went away. The Mirror later conceded it had no justification, apologised and paid the peer £40,000 in out of court damages, a massive sum 30 years ago.

Boothby, although always in precarious financial state, partly because of his gambling, gave the money away, mainly to members of his family and children of his friends for their education.

(5) John Pearson, The Sunday Independent (15th June, 1996)

Anyone who needs reminding how effortlessly corruption can occur in the highest - as well as the lowest - reaches of society and politics should watch next week's `Secret Lives' documentary.

Startling new evidence, presented here for the first time by the Kray twins' official biographer, shows that an extraordinary establishment cover-up resulted in London's most notorious villains being given the freedom of the city. Thanks to what took place, the Krays became `untouchables', who over four long years were allowed to create the most elaborate crime ring this country has ever seen.

More than 30 years on, the true story of Lord Boothby and the Krays can finally be told - it is a story that today's politicians might do well to ponder By 1964, Robert John Graham Boothby, first - and last - Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head, had become famous but not in quite the way that he had expected.

As a Conservative politician his background was impeccable - rich father, Eton and Oxford - and, on entering parliament at the age of 24, he became the type of young MP who gets tipped as a future premier. He became the friend and follower of Winston Churchill who, in 1939, gave him his first big chance as Minister for Food in the wartime government.

But Boothby had certain flaws in his character. In the first place he was an addicted gambler and something of a liar - and it was for lying to a parliamentary committee over a financial deal by which he had hoped to pay his debts, that Churchill sacked him.

He was also a promiscuous bisexual. At Oxford he relied on men for pleasure, but later was also inclined to women and, as a young MP, he started a long affair with Lady Dorothy Macmillan, wife of his friend and fellow MP Harold Macmillan and daughter of the Duke of Devonshire. Besides a daughter, this affair produced some curious results.

Harold Macmillan wouldn't agree to a divorce, and to divert himself from domestic misery, put all his energies into politics - which could be why he and not the more flamboyant Boothby finally became Prime Minister. It was towards the end of the affair that Prime Minister Macmillan, in a show of absurdly stylish condescension, offered his wife's old lover a life peerage.

A vain man, Boothby loved his title, and it coincided with a period of remarkable success for him on television. Never at a loss for an anecdote or an aphorism, Boothby with his battered looks and maverick charm was a natural for the medium, and rapidly became a celebrity.

But then, in July 1964, his enviable life seemed suddenly derailed by a front-page story in the Sunday Mirror. Under the headline "Peer and a Gangster: Yard Probe", the story claimed that Scotland Yard had virtually completed an investigation into a homosexual relationship between a peer "who is a household name" and a notorious London gangster.

The following week, the paper repeated its allegations and this time effectively libelled Boothby by stating that it had a photograph of the gangster and the peer taken together in the latter's Mayfair flat. By now photographs were circulating in Fleet Street of Ronnie Kray, the gangster, decorously perched on a sofa with Lord Boothby in his flat in Eaton Square.

In Germany, Stern had run an article actually naming him in its headline: "Lord Bobby in Trouble". Boothby was on holiday in France when the story broke, and claimed to have been puzzled initially by the peer's identity. It is interesting that when he was back in London, the first person he rang to find out who it was, was his friend, the journalist and former Labour party chairman Tom Driberg.

According to Boothby, Driberg's reply was brief and to the point: "I'm sorry Bob, it's you." For a man of his exalted situation, this placed Boothby in a tricky position. While admitting that somebody called Ronnie Kray had visited his flat to discuss a business deal, he emphatically denied the rest of the Sunday Mirror allegations.

This left him two alternatives. By doing nothing he would tacitly accept the Sunday Mirror's accusations. On the other hand, to sue for libel would mean facing lengthy and expensive court proceedings which could ruin him financially - apart from whatever revelations the Sunday Mirror could produce to support its story.

According to a friend, he was on the point of suicide when help appeared from an unexpected quarter. It came in the shape of two of the Labour party's legal heavyweights - Gerald Gardiner, QC, who would become Lord Chancellor in that autumn's newly elected Labour government, and Harold Wilson's portly "Mr Fixit", the overweight solicitor Arnold Goodman, who was soon to join Gardiner in the House of Lords. They offered to represent him.

At their appearance Boothby's troubles vanished as if by magic. Sir Joseph Simpson, the Commissioner for Police, denied ordering the Yard investigation that the Sunday Mirror mentioned. The Sunday Mirror suddenly discovered that it had no evidence to support its story.

And, advised by Gardiner, Boothby penned a famous letter to the Times specifically denying all of the Mirror's allegations. He firmly stated he was not a homosexual and that he had met the man "who is alleged to be king of the underworld, only three times on business matters and then by appointment in my flat, at his request and in the company of other people ... In short, the whole affair is a tissue of atrocious lies."

Backed by this letter, Goodman jumped into action, and by winning a swift agreement from the International Printing Corporation, owners of the Sunday Mirror, saved Boothby from the court case he was dreading. He did more than that. Like the tough negotiator he was, Goodman won his client a record out-of-court settlement of pounds 40,000 and a grovelling public apology signed by Cecil Harmsworth King, the chairman of IPC.

At the time it seemed that justice had been done, and that Boothby had indeed deserved this massive sum - over half a million pounds in today's inflated currency. It also seemed as if this settlement would put an end for ever to the doubts and queries raised by the Sunday Mirror article.

In fact, they were just beginning. I got to know the Krays in 1967 when, in a fit of investigative zeal, I agreed to write their joint biography with the promise of their full co-operation. This was nine months before they were arrested, and the more I saw of them the more worrying Found them.

These were emphatically not the cheery cockney villains of popular perception, keen to help old ladies and steer clear of honest citizens. Ronald, a homosexual, was seriously psychotic, and his identical twin brother, Reginald, was living on his nerves - and Gordon's gin.

Both were palpably dangerous. But despite, or possibly because of this, the twins were extraordinarily successful in their chosen line of business.

In their dark blue suits and chauffeur- driven cars they were essentially early figures of the enterprise culture, criminal entrepreneurs who made large amounts of tax-free money from a vast and efficiently administered protection racket, mostly operated with other criminals.

They were the enforcers of the underworld, "Percentage Men", whose reputation was so fearsome that hardened criminals obeyed them. Much of the Krays' money came from the arsonists, gamblers and fraudsters they saved from trouble.

They had connections with the American Mafia, "protecting" their gambling interests in London together with the sale of stolen bearer bonds in Europe. Many West End clubs paid them to keep out of trouble, and the Krays had a knack of getting money out of any crime they heard of either by threats or extortion.

They could be useful if expensive allies - and lethal enemies. Like the big businessmen they were, they were always anxious to expand their operations. One of the last discussions I had with Ronnie Kray, a night or two before he was arrested, was over whether he should get involved with some stolen uranium on offering Switzerland - and I remember him adding that "the Firm" would soon be moving into sophisticated drugs.

He knew someone in the Pakistani Embassy who could use his diplomatic immunity to bring heroin into Britain, and clearly saw this as only the beginning. The Krays also murdered people. How many was a matter for speculation. The rumours of their gangland killings were an important part of their mystique, for what particularly impressed the underworld was the way they seemed to murder with impunity.

Bodies were rarely found, no one dared give evidence, and the police evinced no eagerness to catch them. The twins were expert in what they termed "propaganda"; spreading the rumours round the underworld which formed the basis of the fear they marketed.

Much of this fear depended on the sense of their invulnerability. I was impressed by it myself. The press steered clear of them. So, it seemed, did the police, and they claimed to have protectors and informants in the highest places - "even in the House of Lords," as Ronnie said to me on one occasion.

Certainly their inside knowledge was uncanny. Some thought Ronnie Kray was psychic but I suspected more prosaic sources of protection.

From all that I could gather, the twins' immunity had started at around the time of their "victory" over the press and the police in the Boothby case in 1964, but this was something they would not discuss. So I interviewed Lord Boothby on the subject in his flat in Eaton Place.

Despite his celebrated charm, it was not the easiest of conversations. Unsurprisingly Boothby was very guarded on the subject of the twins. He insisted that he barely knew them, and that "the truth about my relationship with the Krays is contained in my letter to the Times" .

Boothby added one thing that I've always remembered. I asked him why, as a lifelong Conservative, he was assisted in his troubles by important members of the Labour party. "That was all down to the little man, " he said. "What little man?" I asked him. "Harold Wilson," he replied.

"He was always one of my admirers." I took his word for it, and there the matter rested until July 1968 when, in a series of dawn raids across London, a great policeman, Commander Leonard "Nipper" Read, arrested the Krays and their henchmen in their beds.

Their years as criminal "untouchables" were over. When dealing with gangsters it's advisable to get on with their mothers. I genuinely liked the Kray twins' mother, Violet, and a few days later, when I visited her in her top-floor tower-block flat in Moorgate, she said she wanted me to have a small,brown suitcase "which might be useful for your book".

Along with old newspaper cuttings of the twins, it contained a personally inscribed copy of Lord Boothby's memoirs, and a photograph. The picture was of Ronnie Kray and Boothby and a pair of criminals I recognised, sitting with a teenage boy in Jermyn Street's Society Club - now Tramp.

There were also some letters to Ronald Kray from Boothby, written on headed paper from the House of Lords, which began, "Dear Ronnie" . One of them thanked him for the gift of an expensive vase. Another proposed to call to see him at his Knights, Esmeralda's Barn.

The letters were dated 1963, the year before the three brief business visits to the flat in Eaton Place which he had specifically stated were the only times they'd met. These letters made it clear that in his letter to the Times, Lord Boothby had lied.

This lie had important implications for the book that I was writing, but it was made apparent by lawyers on both sides that if I mentioned it, I could face a libel action that would ruin me for ever. I was also coming up against another wall of silence from a different quarter.

Lord Goodman refused to see me, as did Cecil King and Lord (Hugh) Cudlipp of the Mirror. It was explained to me that when Goodman had made the deal with IPC, he had insisted on a clause forbidding anyone involved from subsequently discussing it in public.

This meant that when my book about the Krays, The Profession of Violence, was published, it lacked what I knew to be a crucial section of the story. But once the Old Bailey trial of the Krays was over, people around them talked more freely, and I found out more about the curious relationship between Ronnie Kray and Robert Boothby.

There was considerably more to it than I suspected. Not only did they share a love for teenage boys, which Ronnie Kray provided, but Boothby clearly had a fascination for dangerous company, coupled with a reckless disregard for its consequences.

There was evidence that when he dined Ronnie Kray in the House of Lords and took him for a drink at White's Club in St James's, members of Scotland Yard's Intelligence section already had him under surveillance. There was also evidence that, in return, Ronnie Kray could offer Boothby something more exciting than dinner at the Lords.

As well as boys there were East End orgies and sex shows involving criminals. One account described Boothby lying under a glass-topped table while boys were made to defecate above him. Another described him sitting naked in a room with a number of criminals and boys around him, and "love beads" protruding from his anus.

Normally such behaviour would have been Lord Boothby's own affair but for someone so famous - and so recognisable - it was madness, and one must wonder if he was seeking self- destruction.

Certainly it made him subject to blackmail by the Krays. More to the point, it raised again the crucial question of why, in that early summer of 1964, distinguished members of a future Labour government should have let themselves become involved in saving such a character from a disaster of his own making.

From what I knew of Harold Wilson, Boothby's suggestion that "the little man" had done it from the kindness of his own heart appeared unlikely. The heart of Harold Wilson didn't operate like that, and the idea of two top legal members of the Labour high command taking on a case like this on their own initiative - and on the eve of a general election - struck me as improbable.

From what I finally discovered, the answer seemed to lie with Cecil Harmsworth King, who had eagerly insisted on running the original story in the Sunday Mirror, in the hope of impressing the Labour leader with what he thought would be an election-winning scandal.

But Wilson and his close adviser Arnold Goodman felt otherwise. Just the year before, during the Profumo affair, Wilson followed Goodman's wise advice not to make party capital from scandal, and enhanced his image as statesman. Now it was even more important for Labour not to spoil its chances in the election by exploiting an even murkier affair.

It was an awkward situation. But, not for the first or the last time in his life, Harold Wilson's clever Mr Fixit came to the aid of the party. In 1994 a further twist was given to this extraordinary saga when cabinet papers, released under the 30-year rule, showed that back in June 1964 members of the Conservative government led by Alec Douglas Home had been even more alarmed at the prospect of a Boothby scandal on the eve of the election than their Labour counterparts.

This was not because they thought their man was innocent and had been cruelly libelled by the Sunday Mirror. Quite the contrary. Only a few weeks earlier, two Conservative back-benchers had reported to the chief whip that they had seen Lord Boothby at a dog track importuning boys with none other than his friend Tom Driberg.

The Tories were so shell-shocked from Profumo, that the situation called for a crisis meeting at Chequers to decide what to do. As no one apparently had the least idea, the Conservatives must have felt extremely grateful when Arnold Goodman inadvertently saved them - even if pounds 40,000 for a rogue like Robert Boothby did strike some of them as at ouch excessive.

The most interesting fresh evidence to come to light, and in its way the most pathetic, is the story of how Boothby met the Krays. This was through Leslie Holt, a young, good-looking cat burglar, with whom Boothby fell in love after meeting him at gambling club in 1963.

Holt was also one of Ronnie Kray's drivers and lovers, and Ronnie clearly used him as a lure for Boothby, who was all too willing to be caught. To his credit, Boothby tried to save Holt from the dangers of the life he was living,and it was not the fault of Boothby - or the Krays - that Holt was later murdered by a Harley Street anesthetist.

There is also new and probably conclusive further evidence of why Labour's high command moved so swiftly into action on behalf of Robert Boothby. This involves yet another future member of the House of Lords, Boothby's fellow enthusiast for boys and dog tracks.

Tom Driberg - just as Boothby became involved with the Krays through Leslie Holt so Driberg got to know them through "Mad" Teddy Smith, a good-looking psychopathic gangster who was a friend and occasional enemy of the Krays. Driberg,described as a "voracious homosexual", is said to have given Smith the addresses of his rich acquaintances, whose houses he might burgle in return for sexual favours.

Knowing Driberg, this is not unlikely, but if Boothby was self-destructive, Driberg had a famous knack of getting out of trouble. As Boothby's friend he was very much aware of his situation from the start. He knew that if the case went to court he would almost certainly be named and ruined along with Boothby.

But as an important member of the Labour executive, Driberg had a lot of influence, particularly over Harold Wilson, and he would certainly have used it to encourage Arnold Goodman's rescue operation which would save Boothby and himself.

All of which undoubtedly explains why, after the settlement, there was not a squeak in parliament about the case - and why instead there seemed an overwhelming cross-bench willingness to let sleeping dogs, however dirty, lie - and go on lying. Which Lord Boothby did until he died in 1986.

Whatever the reasons for the rescue of Lord Boothby, what can never be disputed is the dire effect it had upon the three great institutions which are meant to protect us from dangerous criminals like the Krays. First in responsibility were the politicians in parliament who had previously been concerned about the growth of organised crime and protection rackets but who now fell silent.

To have mentioned the Krays would have meant reviving their involvement with Lord Boothby, and who could tell where that would lead? The press fell silent, too; pounds 40,000 was a lot of money, and there was little point in risking a similar performance with such tricky characters.

The press, once so vociferous against the Krays, found other targets. But the worst effect was on the police. Here, the crucial point was that the Sunday Mirror story was correct. A Scotland Yard investigation had been observing and reporting on the obvious relationship between Boothby and the Krays. It had been conducted by the Yard's Intelligence section, on the initiative of its then commander, Detective Superintendent John E Cummings.

But, worried by the prospect of trouble from the politicians, the Commissioner, Sir Joseph Simpson, had chosen to deny it, and from then on there was no real incentive at the Yard to catch the Krays. What Sir Joseph wanted was a quiet life.

An Old Bailey trial against the Krays for criminal protection foundered - thanks partly to the way they interfered with members of the jury, and also because of a lack of commitment from the top. It was while the Krays were on remand that Boothby infamously felt obliged to ask a question on their behalf in the House of Lords.

For the next three years the police would leave the Krays alone. Even when they turned to murder, there was no attempt to catch them, and when "Nipper" Read finally obtained permission for a full-scale offensive from a new police Commissioner, Sir John Waldron, in 1967, he wisely insisted on conducting the entire operation away from Scotland Yard itself. It could be argued that, as political scandals go, the Boothby case was an exception.

But scandals are exceptional by their very nature, and now that it is part of history, the Boothby case should be remembered for what it was - an exemplary and most extraordinary cause celebre among British political scandals.

It embodied almost everything that makes us cynical about politicians - the neat manipulation of events, the bland suppression of the truth, and the way the establishment protects its own.It is also a fascinating demonstration of the way the fault lines of corruption run in our society, how the law can be manipulated, how class solidarity is exerted, how secrecy becomes a curse and how power corrupts.

The lessons are endless and I recommend them to a new and - we hope - less gullible generation of British politicians. It would be good to think that Lords Boothby, Driberg, Goodman - and the Krays - could not have got away with it today.


Politicians Behaving Badly: 7 British Government Scandals

Greed and corruption abound in the fictional Roadkill, but British Parliament members have a very real record of getting themselves into hot water. We turned to modern British history experts Dr. Laura Beers of American University and the North American Conference on British Studies and Dr. Catherine Haddon from London’s Institute for Government for a round-up of scandals that rocked recent UK politics—from a swinging sixties affair at the height of the Cold War to a staged death on a Florida beach.

1929-1964: Politician, Commentator, Bounder

Robert “Bob” Boothby was a Conservative party member as well as a recurring BBC commentator on public affairs. He entered parliament in 1924, at a time when politicians’ private lives and private infidelities, however well known within Westminster, almost never made the headlines. During his more than 30 years in parliament, Boothby had a protracted affair with Dorothy Macmillan, the wife of his Conservative colleague Harold Macmillan, beginning in the 1930s and continuing through Macmillan’s succession to Prime Minister in 1956. Boothby also had a gay affair with notorious East End gangster Ronnie Kray, who with his identical twin Reggie, dominated London’s underworld for twenty years. That illicit relationship was hushed up by the largely pro-Tory tabloid press for years before being inferred by the Daily Mirror in 1964, a year after John Profumo (see below) rose to notoriety. The revelations sparked an MI-5 investigation but did not derail the career of the now Baron Boothby, who continued to sit in the House of Lords until his death in 1986.

1961-1963: The Profumo Affair

If Bob Boothby had entered politics a generation later, he may well have met the same fate as his Tory colleague John Profumo. Profumo was British Secretary of State for War when he began an affair with 19-year-old model, Christine Keeler. The two were introduced at an exclusive party at Lord Astor’s Cliveden estate, adding an extra layer of aristocratic debauchery to the story. At the time of their relationship, Keeler was also involved with Soviet naval attaché and suspected spy, Yevgeny “Eugene” Ivanov. Rumors of the affair and its potential security implications spread rapidly and, unlike Boothby’s underworld associations, did not stay quiet. Profumo denied the affair to the House of Commons. The police became involved and Keeler testified to the relationship, leading to Profumo’s resignation on June 5, 1963.

Profumo’s wife Valerie stood by him, and a “chastened and redemptive” Profumo became an anonymous volunteer with the poor. After his death, declassified M15 documents from the 1930s revealed Profumo had also had an affair with a Nazi spy.

1961-1979: A Very British Scandal

The true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy to murder was featured in the 2018 miniseries starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. Jeremy Thorpe was the stylish and charismatic Liberal party leader, desperate to hide a previous affair with Norman Scott, a stable hand he met while visiting a friend in 1961. When Scott refused to stop contacting Thorpe after the married MP ended their relationship, Thorpe allegedly paid to have his former lover killed. The October 1975 attempt on Scott failed, though his beloved Great Dane Rinka was shot.

Scott publicly accused Thorpe, who was forced to resign as leader of his party in May 1976. But the resignation did not end the scandal, which dragged on in the press and ultimately in the courts, with Thorpe becoming the first sitting MP to stand trial for murder in May 1979. While Thorpe was ultimately acquitted, the scandal ended his political career.

1974: A Faked Death

Even among British political scandals the story of John Stonehouse is a standout. Stonehouse was a former Labour cabinet minister who fell into financial trouble and came under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry. Rather than face prosecution, he allegedly deposited his clothes on a beach in Miami, Florida to leave the impression that he had drowned.

As Miami police investigated his apparent demise, Stonehouse and his secretary fled to Australia to start a new life under assumed names. The pair lasted only a month before being discovered by chance. They were eventually deported to England where Stonehouse would stand trial in 1976 for fraud, theft and forgery. Remarkably, Stonehouse refused to relinquish his parliamentary seat after his “resurrection” and sat in parliament until conducting his own defense. He was convicted, served time in prison, and eventually wed his secretary.

1993: “Back to Basics”

The 1980s lacked the political drama of the preceding decades, but there was nonetheless a sense within the Conservative Party that the Tories needed to change their image. While many admired Margaret Thatcher as the “Iron Lady,” others saw the Tories as the “nasty party.” When John Major took over for Thatcher in 1990, he set out to change the party’s image. In a 1993 speech, he famously declared that the country should go ‘back to basics’, returning to core values of “neighbourliness, decency, courtesy”. The slogan came to be a source of ridicule for the government over the next few years as ministers were caught in a quick succession of sex and money scandals that harkened back to those of the 1960s and 1970s.

Chancellor Norman Lamont was revealed to have a sex therapist living in his rented-out London flat. David Mellor resigned as a minister after sordid revelations of an extra-marital affair with actress Antonia de Sancha. Transport minister Steven Norris was reportedly having simultaneous affairs with three women who did not know about each other. Conservative MP Stephen Milligan was tragically found dead on his kitchen table as a result of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Major himself denied an affair with Downing Street caterer Clare Latimer. Years later, it was revealed he’d had a four-year affair with fellow conservative MP Edwina Currie. (Their relationship is assumed to have provided fodder for Currie’s political novels, including A Parliamentary Affair.)

In addition to press revelations of sexual improprieties, The Guardian brought the financial misconduct of certain ministers to light. The newspaper accused two MPs of being paid thousands of pounds to ask questions in Parliament on behalf of Harrod’s owner Mohammed Al-Fayed: Tim Smith resigned as Northern Ireland minister and later admitted to accepting the money Conservative MP Neil Hamilton lost his libel suit against Al-Fayed when the court was satisfied the Harrod’s owner had, indeed, made his case. The Guardian and ITV’s investigative series both alleged that Conservative Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken had improper commercial relations with Saudi businessmen. Aitken sued the news outlets but was later jailed for perjury after lying under oath. A far cry from the “decency” which Major had promised the British people!

1998-2010: Third Time’s a Charm

“Decency” is a word few have ever associated with Tony Blair’s longtime confident and New Labour mastermind Peter Mandelson, the political Svengali who orchestrated the 1997 election campaign resulting in Labour’s landslide victory.

Blair rewarded Mandelson by making him a Minister with Portfolio, or senior cabinet advisor, before moving him to the Department for Trade and Industry. “Mandy” was forced to resign this post after only five months when he was discovered to have accepted (and failed to declare) an Interest-free loan from a fellow ministerial colleague. He was back in government less than a year later, however, when Blair appointed him Minister for Northern Ireland. This time he lasted a year before being accused of inappropriately helping an Indian billionaire secure a British passport and resigned again In 2001.

In 2004, Peter Mandelson left parliament for the European Commission, where he served four years as a trade commissioner. Blair brought him back to Westminster in 2008 and Mandelson was appointed to the House of Lords, returning to government for a third time as Business Secretary. This time, he survived the post until the government lost office in the 2010 election.

2009: Expenses Crisis and the Duck House

MPs were perhaps willing to overlook Mandelson and others’ financial improprieties in part because they were worried about the skeletons in their own closets.

In addition to their official salaries, ministers are entitled to reimbursement for expenses associated with their parliamentary careers, including the costs of maintaining two homes—one in London and one in their constituency. These parliamentary “perks” had previously been kept from taxpayers’ prying eyes, but in 2009, stories of widespread abuses led journalists to launch a Freedom of Information Request to obtain access to ministers’ expenses. Two months before the official disclosure, The Telegraph newspaper obtained a leak of the records. Offenses included MPs falsely designating a second home in order to claim more expenses submitting extra expenses for renovations or refurnishing homes and evading or avoiding tax. One conservative MP was discovered to have claimed nearly £2000 for a new duck house. Several ministers and the Speaker of the House of Commons had to resign from their posts and five MPs were sent to jail as a result of fraudulent claims.

While less egregious than attempted murder or affairs with gangsters and feigned death, these “everyday” revelations of graft and dishonesty proved ultimately more damning to public confidence in ministers and in British politics more generally.

Editorial assistance for this feature provided by:

Dr. Laura Beers, Professor of History at American University and Executive Director of the North American Conference on British Studies.

Dr. Catherine Haddon, resident historian at London’s Institute for Government.


Boothby, Nellie Olive (1891-1993)

This is the ancestry of Grandpa Rust’s grandmother, Nellie Olive Boothby, beginning with her immigrant ancestor, Henry Boothby, born in England in 1672.

Nellie Olive Boothby is Aidan, Ashley and Haley’s 2nd great grandmother. Henry Boothby is their 9th great grandfather.

From:
Burrage, Henry Sweetser and Albert Roscoe Stubbs. Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 4 (Maine: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1909), 1,674. (free Google eBook): “The name and family of Boothby are of great antiquity, and may be traced back at least a thousand years. One distinguished antiquarian states that about the year 800, King Egbert divided the Saxon nation into counties, hundreds, and wapentakes, and that one of the latter sections in Lincolnshire was named Boothby.”

First Generation in America

1.HENRY¹ BOOTHBY, born in England in 1672 and died in Scarborough, York, Maine.

From: Burrage, Genealogical and Family History, 1,674-1,677. “(I) Henry Boothby was born in England, migrated to Ireland, married and had children there and came to Kittery, now in Maine, about 1720. His brother, Thomas, who had been with him in Ireland, came by way Halifax, Nova Scotia to Wells, Maine. It is possible that Henry Boothby moved to Scarborough with his sons and was the Henry Boothby whose name appears as a charter member of the Black Point church. It known that he had two sons, Thomas, whose sketch follows, and Samuel, who settled in Scarborough. There was also a Jane Boothby, who might have been a daughter of Henry, who was published with John Moore 2 Kittery, December 18 1742. (II) Thomas, son of Henry Boothby, born in Ireland, in 1700, and died, at Scarborough, Maine, March 25 1758. He came to Kittery, Maine, with his father about 1720, and settled at Scarborough, between 1730 and 1736. The intention of his marriage to Lydia Came, was recorded at Kittery, January 8 1725. They had seven children: 1 Jonathan born December 1 1725 2 Samuel whose sketch follows 3 Joseph May 19 1729 married Susan McClellan of Portland and lived at Scarborough 4 Miriam April 17 1733 married John Deering at Kittery 5 John April 27 1735 died young 6 Eunice November 22 1736 married Philip Aubin and died in 1756 7 Lois November 22 1736 married Isaac Deering.” From: Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Volume 4, by Henry Sweetser Burrage, Albert Roscoe Stubbs, pp. 2116-2117.: “(IV) John 3, son of Ebenezer Moore, was born about 1715. He married at Kittery, intentions dated, December 18, 1742, Jane Boothby. The history of Saco states that their descendants are scattered through York County, Maine. She was the daughter of Henry Boothby, born in England, settled in Ireland, married there, and came with children to Kittery, about 1720. It is possible that he removed to Scarborough with his sons, and was the Henry Boothby, whose name appears as a charter member of the Black Point Church. If so, and the proof is convincing, he was ancestor of all of the name, in Scarborough, and vicinity. Children of Henry and Thomas Boothby: i. Richard, born about 1700, died January 2 1782, was a prominent citizen of Wells ii. John died in the expedition to Canada, in 1756 iii. Henry married Sarah Trafton, of York, and settled in Wells iv. Thomas, born in Ireland, about 1710, married Lydia Came, in Kittery, and settled in Scarborough, died March 25 1758v. Samuel, born in Ireland, came to Kittery, in 1720, settled in Scarborough, in 1736, and was progenitor through his youngest son of nearly all of the name in Saco vi. Jane mentioned above. The last three were children of Henry, the first three of Thomas Boothby his brother. John Morr, Jr., as he was called at the time of his marriage, doubtless to distinguish him from his cousin and uncle of the same name in Kittery, removed from Kittery, to Scarborough where his wife’s people lived. Children born [to John and Jane] in Kittery: 1 Dennis, born March 25 1744 2 Mary, born April 26 1746 married 1765 Lemuel Remick 3 Ebenezer, born March 28 1750, 4 Isaac, 5 John mentioned below, 6 Abram.”

Children of Henry Boothby:
i. THOMAS² BOOTHBY, b. in Ireland 1710 d. in Maine in 1758
ii. SAMUEL² BOOTHBY, born in Ireland about 1713
iii. JANE BOOTHBY b. in Ireland about 1719 married John Moore

Second Generation

2. SAMUEL² BOOTHBY , (Henry¹), born in Ireland about 1713. He married in Scarborough, York, Maine in 1736, ESTHER BURBANK , she was born in Kittery, , Maine.

From: Burrage, Genealogical and Family History, 1,674-1,677.

“v. Samuel, born in Ireland, came to Kittery, in 1720, settled in Scarborough, in 1736 and was progenitor through his youngest son of nearly all of the name in Saco.”

Children of Samuel and Esther (Burbank) Boothby:
i. JOSIAH³ BOOTHBY , born 12 Nov 1738 in Scarborough, Cumberland,Maine.

Third Generation

3. JOSIAH³ BOOTHBY , (Samuel², Henry¹), born in Scarborough, York, Maine on 12 Nov 1738 and died in Clermont County, Ohio on 30 Nov 1804 . He married SARAH STUART , in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine.

Child of Josiah and Sarah (Stuart) Boothby:
i. JOSIAH4 BOOTHBY , born about 1 Jan 1775 died 31 Dec 1834

Fourth Generation

4. JOSIAH4 BOOTHBY , (Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹), born in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine on 1 Jan 1775 and died in Brown County, Ohio, on 31 Dec 1833. Married, first, MARY ROUNDS , on 3 Sep 1802, she was the mother of all his children married, DELIVERANCE HANNA , in Brown County, Ohio after the death of Mary.

Following are records of probate and the estate sale after the death of Josiah BOOTHBY on 31 Dec 1833: Probate, 11 Aug 1834 “KNOW all men by these presents, that we, Robert Hamilton, James BOOTHBY, Matthew Day and James McFadden, all of Brown County, and state of Ohio, are held and firmly bound unto the state of Ohio, in the penal sum of six hundred dollars, current money, to the payment of which well and truly to be made to the state of Ohio, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents. Witness our hands and seals, this eleventh day of august, one thousand eight hundred and thirty four. Whereas Robert Hamilton, James BOOTHBY, were this day appointed administrators of all, and singular, the goods, and chattels which were of Josiah BOOTHBY, deceased, late of this county, dec’d. NOW THE CONDITION of the above obligation is such, that if the above bound Administrator as aforesaid, shall and will faithfully perform all the duties required of them by law, then this obligation to be void, otherwise remain in full force and virtue. signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of Andrew Ellison (signed), Robert Hamilton (seal), James Boothby (seal), James McFadden (seal), Matthew Day (seal)

Inventory of personal property belonging to the personal estate of Josiah Boothby of the County of Brown, Ohio which was sold on the 2nd and 4th days of September 1834:

To Whom Sold – Articles Sold – Amount Sold For $ C Thomas Gilmore, 5 barrels salt, $13.13
Omega Young, 5 barrels salt, $11.11
Sanford B. Allen, 25 barrels salt, $56.90
Wm. Davidson, 13 barrels salt, $31.35
Wm. Doudney, 12 barrels salt, $25.38
Vincent Grubb, 14 barrels salt, $30.82
James Cochran, 8 barrels salt, 18 19
Herman Hanna, 10 barrels salt, $23.45
Kyte & Thrasher, 14 do do 34 12
Daniel Moon, 1 do do, $2.49
James Norris, 1 do do, $2.00
George Richardson, 1 do do 1 68 3/4
Robert Hamilton, 1 empty barrel, 0 06 1/4
Wm Holden, 1 flat boat, $45.00
Joshua Musgrove, 3 barrels, 00 43 3/4
Joshua Musgrove, 4 barrels, 00 37 1/2
Deliverance Boothby, 1 Spinning Wheel, 00 25
George Landon, 1 do do, 00 25
Joshua Musgrove, 1 box iron, 00 50
Alexr Hanna, 1 brass kettle, 2 26Deliverance Boothby, 1 kettle and lid, 0 80
Deliverance Boothby, 1 kettle, 0 20
James Land, 1 salt kettle, 2 62 1/2
Wm. Hight, 1 kettle, 1 75
Mr ?, 1 pair of steelyards, 1 25
Thomas Taylor, 1 bridle, 1 00
James Martin, 1 lot of shoemaster’s tools, 1 44 3/4
James McFadden, 1 lot of tools, 0 65
Joshua Musgrove, 1 Box & Half bushel, 0 15
James Young, 1 waggon, 35 50
James Young, 1 pair of break hands, 0 45
Thomas Taylor, 1 pair of check lines, 00 50
David Hanna, 1 lot of chains, 18 3/4
Willis Bent, 1 lot of utensils, 62 1/2
Alx Hanna, 1 pitch-fork, 50
Thomas Taylor, 1 table, 4 00
Deliverance Boothby, 1 table, 1 12 1/2
James Mc Fadden, 1 Bureau, 5 50
John Fiscus senior?, 1 waggon, 18 3/4
Lemuel Rounds*, 1 cupboard, 1 37 1/2
Deliverance Boothby, 1 bookcase, 37 1/2
Milton Ross, 2 pair of gears, 2 12 1/2
Everet D. Smith, 1 red calf, 1 62 1/2
Everet D. Smith, 2 white calves, 2 06 1/4
Joseph Barns, 1 cow, 12 62 1/2
Samuel D Price, 1 cow, 12 43 3/4
Thomas Taylor, 1 plow, 2 62 1/2
William Hight, 3 Barrels, 43 3/4
Deliverance Boothby, 6 sheep, 3 53 1/2
Milton Ross, 1 lot of corn, 3 00
Robert Hamilton, 1 pair of steelyards, 1 25 true $ 443. 82 1/2
James BOOTHBY and Robert Hamilton Administrators

Notes on names in Bold: *Lemuel Rounds, probably the brother in law through Josiah’s first marriage.
Herman, Alexander, & David Hanna, probably relatives of the widow, her maiden name was Hanna, and of course, Deliverance is the widow of Josiah, but not the mother of all of the children.

Children of Josiah and Mary (Rounds) Boothby:
i. JAMES5 BOOTHBY , (Josiah4, Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹)

Fifth Generation

5. JAMES5 BOOTHBY , (Josiah 4, Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹), born in Brown County, Ohio in 1803. He married ELIZABETH DIVES .

Sixth Generation

6. WILLIAM J. D.6 BOOTHBY (James 5, Josiah 4, Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹), was born in Brown County, Ohio in 1835. He married REBECCA JANE SMITH .

Seventh Generation

7. JOHN AUGUSTUS7 BOOTHBY (Wm. J. D.6, James5, Josiah4, Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹), was born in Mt. Orab, Brown County, Ohio on 11 Oct 1861. He married LENORA ANN MILLER.

Children of John Augustus and Lenora Ann (Miller) Boothby:
i. NELLIE OLIVE8 BOOTHBY b. in Illinois on 1891

Eighth Generation

8. NELLIE OLIVE8 BOOTHBY ( John Augustus 7, Wm. J. D. 6, James 5, Josiah 4, Josiah³, Samuel², Henry¹), born 27 Sep 1891 in Baylis, Pike County, Illinois. She married ALFRED GEORGE PAGET .

Children of Alfred George and Nellie Olive (Boothby) Paget:
i. FREDERICK PAGET b. Hawaii in 1924
ii. ELIZABETH ANN9 PAGET b. in San Francisco, Calif. on 24 Jul 1927


Alternate Boothbys

Kathryn Janeway with a replicant of Boothby

Species 8472 replicant

In 2375, Species 8472 established a training facility somewhere in the Delta Quadrant, recreating Starfleet Command, Starfleet Medical, and Starfleet Academy in perfect detail. They intended to instruct members of their species to act as Humans and other Alpha Quadrant species in order to infiltrate the Federation, which they saw as a threat to their existence. The leader of the group took on the role of Boothby, and met Commander Chakotay of Voyager when he transported aboard the facility to investigate it. Captain Janeway later negotiated a cease-fire with the Boothby replicant, where Species 8472 would receive information about the nanoprobe weaponry and the Starfleet crew would be allowed to inspect Species 8472 technology and visit their simulation of Earth. The replicant gave Janeway roses as a parting gift before Voyager left to continue their journey. ( VOY : " In the Flesh ")

Chakotay's hallucination

Later that year, Chakotay saw Boothby in a series of hallucinations while in a vision quest induced by a group of aliens trying to communicate with him telepathically. ( VOY : " The Fight ")


Gay History: Ronnie Kray – “The Queen Mother”.

It is pretty hard not to have heard of the Katy twins, Reggie and Ronnie, especially after the film “Legend”. The two London gangsters robbed, bashed and murdered their way through the London underworld in the 60s, and owned and ran a string of nightclubs and protection rackets.

As boys in 1940s England, Ronald and Reginald Kray were wartime evacuees. They called Bethnal Green home, had a dog named Freda, an older brother named Charlie, and a sister who died as a baby.

No strangers to malfeasance, the two got started early, racking up a lengthy rap sheet before they could even order a pint. Violence, gang activity, and running from the law were all just after-school activities for the twins. They even knocked a police constable around and were briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London—two of the last inmates to be locked up in the infamous facility.

In the early 1950s, the Kray twins displayed a talent for boxing as young men. Reggie was a particularly potent force in the ring. Yet a life of crime kept calling them back. So a life of crime it was.

Glamorous as they were, trouble loomed in the shadows. Ronnie was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 1959, a disorder that came to haunt him in the coming years. After helping a criminal associate named Frank “The Mad Axeman” Mitchell escape prison in December 1966, the brothers struggled to keep their newly freed friend under control and allegedly had him killed. Ronnie had a thing for orgies mixed with politics and carried on an affair with Tory peer Lord Boothby. And while Ronnie was known as “The Queen Mother” in London’s gay underworld, they both had alleged bisexual tendencies. Reggie married a woman named Frances Shea in 1965, though the tumultuous relationship allegedly involved Reggie’s attempted rape of his wife’s brother.

It is rumoured that both brothers had gay sex encounters, though Reggie has been labelled more as a bisexual than a gay male. In a Mirror (UK) article dated 31 August, 2015, Deputy Features Editor, Steve Myall, headlined an article claiming that the brothers had had secret gay sex with each other. The eye-opening revelation was made by author John Pearson, who interviewed them both. “Ronnie and Reggie Kray had a secret incestuous relationship with each other (as they were growing up) so criminal rivals would not discover they were gay”, he claimed. The cruel and violent East End pair were terrified of coming out (as gay). He further revealed “They were worried that rivals would see their sexuality – Ronnie was a homosexual and Reggie was bisexual – as a sign of weakness so only had sex with each other in order to keep the secret”.

It has long been known that Ronnie was a homosexual and Reggie was bisexual but the news they had a sexual relationship with each other gives a telling insight into their close connection. John said the pair were spoilt by their mother Violet, Grandma Lee and their two aunties, May and Rose, while their father was soon dominated by the increasingly violent brothers.

Smart: Twin brothers and organised crime bosses Ronnie and Reggie Kray (Image: Getty)

He says while he knew about the the incest he waited until the brothers were both dead before revealing it for fear of retribution. John wrote: “All of which conformed, of course, to a classic pattern and with their warm, indulgent mother, their ineffectual father, and their surrounding cast of loving women, it was not surprising that, with adolescence, the Twins discovered that they were gay “. The brothers ran a notorious criminal network in the 1960s building up an empire of nightclubs though hijacking, armed robbery and arson. As they moved from the East End to the West End they became big names, rubbing shoulders with Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland and being photographed by David Bailey.

Brotherly love: Amateur boxers Reggie (left) and Ronnie Kray with their mother Violet Kray (Image: Getty)

Veteran entertainer Jess Conrad was a young man in London and in awe of the Kray twins and recalls the fear they instilled, the protection they offered to stars like Barbara Windsor and Diana Dors and a very strange gig in Broadmoor Prison .

Ronnie Kray was a predatory homosexual who terrified young men in Soho in the 1960s so much they hid when they knew he was coming. According to legendary singer and actor Jess Conrad, who knew the Kray twins well, good looking young men used to vanish for fear of catching Ronnie’s eye and being invited back to “a party”. He said: “You had to keep your wits about you if you were a young man and Ronnie really fancied you. Word used to go out that the Krays were on their way to a certain pub and all the good looking boys used to piss off. Because otherwise if he asked you to go back to the house you had to go back and that was it “.

It’s always been known Ronnie Kray was gay with a fondness for violence but Jess’ recollection is one of the few accounts of how he exerted power for sexual ends. Jess said many men, including himself, were in awe of the gangsters and the way they dressed and carried themselves and were attracted to them.

Sharp dressers: Ronnie and Reggie Kray in their heyday (Image: Mirrorpix)

In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie indicated he identified with the 19th century soldier Gordon of Khartoum (Lawrence of Arabia): “Gordon was like me, homosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.” A British television documentary, The Gangster and the Pervert Peer (2009), showed that Ronnie Kray was a rapist of men. The programme also detailed his relationship with Conservative peer Bob Boothby as well as an ongoing Daily Mirror investigation into Lord Boothby’s dealings with the Kray brothers.

Ronnie Kray shocked his older brother Charlie by admitting his homosexuality and goaded his twin brother Reg into experimenting with gay sex, a new (2001) biography reveals.

Laurie O’Leary, author of A Man Among Men and a childhood friend of the Krays, says Ronnie summoned him to Broadmoor Hospital eight weeks before he died. Kray asked him to write the ‘warts-and-all’ story of his life. ‘Don’t make me into a nice person,’ he told O’Leary. ‘Just say I was nice with nice people, but a bastard with bastards.’

The biography, containing previously unpublished photographs and poems by the twins, describes how Ronnie had considered bringing an Arab boy back to London after falling in love with him while on holiday, and how he refused to hide his sexual preferences from the law or his fellow gangsters.

O’Leary, who grew up next door to the Kray brothers, was a pallbearer at Reggie Kray’s funeral on 11 October last year. ‘Ron discussed his homosexuality with only a very few people, but put simply it was a part of his nature he discovered, explored and enjoyed,’ O’Leary said. ‘He was at ease with it. It did not seem to conflict with his “tough guy” image or cause him any problems on any level.’

Ronnie Kray first admitted to O’Leary he was gay in his mid-teens, after falling in love with a younger boy called Willy. But when O’Leary told Willy, who ran an unofficial school for card sharps, of Kray’s attachment, he reacted badly.

‘He was terrified and said he would never dare go round to Ron’s house again unless I was there too,’ O’Leary said. ‘But I refused: Ron would have assumed [Willy and I] were having an affair.

‘I could easily understand Willy’s feelings, though_ [Ron] could be frightening.’

The members of the twins’ gang, known as the Firm, were overwhelmingly tolerant of Kray’s homosexuality. ‘Even if they objected, Ron just smiled at them and told them they didn’t know what they were missing,’ O’Leary said.

Kray’s mother, Violet, was comfortable with her son’s homosexuality, but his father and older brother, both called Charlie, were horrified.

‘Ron’s father thought it was degrading and disgusting, and his older brother was totally flabbergasted,’ O’Leary said. ‘But Ronnie told him that he had been like it for years and that not only could nobody change him but that he wouldn’t let them try. He said his brother Charlie just had to accept him as he was.’

Ronnie further shocked Charlie by telling him that Reggie was a bisexual. When Charlie confronted Reggie, according to O’Leary, the twin confirmed the claim, adding: ‘Don’t you think that boys are nice, Charlie? I think I could fancy a few myself.’

Despite this acknowledgment, Reggie habitually denied he was a bisexual. ‘I would say that Reg fought the fact he could also be bisexual more than Ron, but I knew of his affection for quite a few young male teenagers with whom he kept company,’ said O’Leary.

‘Ron would goad Reg when he went out with women and tried to influence Reg with his own appetite for young men.’

Although Ronnie Kray did have a number of regular sexual partners and strong friendships with other homosexual men – including Lord Boothby, for whom he obtained youths – O’Leary says he had a particular penchant for dark, clean-cut, boys with very white teeth.

During the Sixties, Ronnie fell in love with a young Arab boy on one of his many trips to Tangier in North Africa. ‘Ronnie showed me a photo,’ O’Leary said.

‘He told me that the boy loved him and showed me a letter the boy had written. It was a real love letter that said how much the boy wanted to come to England and live with Ronnie.’

Although Kray lost interest in the Arab boy, O’Leary says Ronnie was often very possessive of his boyfriends. ‘When he was sentenced, he still had many boyfriends and would do anything he could to make them happy,’ he said.

But perhaps Ronnie’s greatest claim to notoriety was his headline grabbing involvement with Tory peer, Lord Boothby.

According to BBC News, 23 October, 2015 “An association between Conservative peer Robert Boothby and London gangster Ronnie Kray was the subject of an MI5 investigation, documents have revealed. The men went to “homosexual parties” together and were “hunters” of young men, declassified MI5 files claim.

Allegations in 1964 about the pair’s relationship caused such concern within Downing Street that the then head of MI5 was summoned to the Home Office.

The government feared a scandal greater than the so-called Profumo Affair.

Rumours that notorious gangster Kray and Lord Boothby – a popular TV presenter and former MP for East Aberdeenshire – were having an affair were published in 1964.

The Sunday Mirror – which did not name the pair – claimed to have a photo of Kray and Boothby together with the bisexual peer’s chauffeur and lover, Leslie Holt.

The men were later identified in a German magazine.

Lord Boothby publicly denied having a homosexual or any other close relationship with Kray.

At the time, he said the photograph showed them discussing “business matters”, dismissing rumours about his personal life as a “tissue of atrocious lies”.

The Sunday Mirror ended up paying £40,000 in damages to Boothby.

But the papers – released as part of 400 declassified files by the Security Service (MI5), Foreign Office and Cabinet Office – reveal new information about their association.

They show how home secretary Henry Brooke was so concerned about the matter he summoned the head of MI5, Sir Roger Hollis, to ask what the security services knew.

Brooke feared the allegations might erupt into a scandal to rival the Profumo affair, which helped to bring down the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan.

Sir Roger told the home secretary how MI5 had received reports that Lord Boothby was bisexual and had contacts with the Krays.

But, since he had no access to official secrets, MI5 concluded that Boothby’s private life was of no concern, the papers reveal.

According to an MI5 source, Lord Boothby was in a relationship with Holt – his chauffer and ex-boxer who also went by the name Johnny Kidd.

Holt told the source how Lord Boothby and Kray had “been to a couple of (homosexual) parties together”.

The report suggested the Sunday Mirror was tipped off about the “affair” between Lord Boothby and Kray by the rival Nash gang.

The MI5 report said: “Certainly the suggestion that Boothby has been having an affair with the gangster Kray is hardly true.”

Dr Richard Dunley, records specialist at the National Archives, said the story was “one of the greatest scandals that never was”.

“If this had come out in 1964 it would have been a huge scandal,” he said.

Dr Dunley said the files do not mention well-known claims that Lord Boothby had a long-term relationship with former prime minister Harold Macmillian’s wife.

“As tabloid headlines go, you can imagine what would have happened,” he said.

“The Mirror did effectively get hold of the story but couldn’t publish it, they got sued for libel.”

Lord Boothby, left, with Ronnie Kray, centre, and Leslie Holt, the former’s chauffeur and lover ( )

9 Interesting facts about the Kay brothers.

1) In 1952 after refusing to do National Service the twins were jailed and became among the last prisoners held at the Tower of London, before being transferred to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset for a month, to await court-martial.

2) In 1960 the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman gave Reggie a nightclub called Esmeralda’s Barn in Wilton Place where the Berkeley Hotel now stands.

3) In 1964 the Sunday Mirror reported Scotland Yard was investigating a homosexual relationship between an unnamed peer and a major figure in the criminal underworld – Ronnie and Conservative MP Robert Boothby. Despite the pair not being named Boothby chose to go public with a letter to The Times in which he denied being gay and stated that he had only ever met Kray three times, always to discuss business matters and always in the company of other people. Facing the threat of a libel defeat, the Sunday Mirror issued an apology to the peer and paid out £40,000, equivalent to £500,000 today while newspaper’s editor, Reg Payne, lost his job over the affair.

4) In 2000 when Reggie died those sending wreaths included Barbara Windsor, Who singer Roger Daltry and pop star Morrissey. There was also a wreath believed to be from the American Mafia – next to a photo of Manhattan was the message: “In deep respect, from your friends in New York.”

5) Jack “the Hat” McVitie, was a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance to kill a rival. As punishment McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Stoke Newington, on the pretence of a party. As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Instead Ronnie held McVitie in a bearhug and Reggie stabbed him to death with a carving knife – at one stage his liver came out and had to be flushed down the toilet.

6) In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ronnie’s, which prompted an investigation.It revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – plus their older brother Charlie Kray and an accomplice were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars” called Krayleigh Enterprises. Documentation of the investigation showed that Frank Sinatra hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises during 1985.

7) In prison Reggie claimed to have become a born-again Christian while Ronnie got married in Broadmoor to a twice-divorced former topless kissogram girl.

8) Patsy Kensit’s dad James ‘Jimmy The Dip’ Kensit was not only a member of the notorious Richardson gang – who made most of their money from fraud and earned a terrifying reputation as ruthless torturers who nailed their victims to the floor – but was also a close friend of their rivals, Reggie and Ronnie Kray.

9) Artist Lucian Freud ran up half a million pounds in gambling debts with the Krays. The late artist confessed he once cancelled an exhibition out of fear they would demand more money if they saw he was earning.

Splash: Daily Mirror announces the pair GUILTY OF MURDER (Image: Daily Mirror)


Early life

The only son of Sir Robert Tuite Boothby, KBE, of Edinburgh and a cousin of Rosalind Grant, mother of the broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Boothby was educated at St Aubyns School, Eton College, and Magdalen College, Oxford. Before going up to Oxford, near the end of the First World War, he trained as an officer and was commissioned into the Brigade of Guards, but was too young to see active service. Boothby read History at Oxford University the shortened war course was not classed, being marked either 'Pass' or 'Fail'. He attended a few lectures and did some general reading, but, as he cheerfully observed, "there were far too many other things to do". He achieved a pass without distinction in 1921. After Oxford, he became a partner in a firm of stockbrokers.


2 Answers 2

Short Answer

Despite the claims of some sites, I can find no evidence that Hitler himself said 'Heil Hitler', and it would make no sense for him to do so as the words were more than a greeting: they indicated obedience to the leader (Hitler) and were an oath of allegiance (to Hitler). This was made clear by a senior Nazi official, Gregor Strasser, as early as 1927.

The Boothby citation by Boris Johnson is wrong. Boothby's own account is that Hitler greeted him by saying his own name (without 'Heil') and lifting his right arm, and Boothby responded in the same manner.

When Boothby said 'Heil Boothby', it was in response to Hitler's secretary saying 'Heil Hitler' he did not say this to Hitler himself, and Hitler did not say 'Heil Hitler' to Boothby.

Albert Speer, in his memoirs, relates that Hitler would sometimes respond to Heil, mein Fuhrer from favoured members of the inner circle with Heil, Speer (or Heil, Goering / Goebbels etc.).

The citation by Boris Johnson is wrong (Wikipedia's Lord Boothby has it without the full context, making it potentially misleading rather than plain wrong). Boothby was actually responding to the 'Heil Hitler' greeting from Hitler's secretary, not from Hitler himself. Rob Baker in High Buildings, Low Morals on Boothby says:

in Germany he was once greeted by Hitler’s secretary with a ‘Heil Hitler’, to which Boothby’s admirable response was ‘Heil Boothby’

Leslie Mitchell's biography Maurice Bowra: A Life clarifies further. Sir Maurice Bowra was a British academic and a friend of Boothby's from their time at Oxford University. Mitchell, citing both Bowra and Boothby himself, writes:

At some point, he [Bowra] and a party of journalists were given an audience by Hitler where they were treated to an harangue on the theme that the unity of Germany would not be political or economic, but spiritual. 24 It was on this occasion allegedly that Maurice replied to a salutation of ‘Heil Hitler’ with a spirited ‘Heil Bowra’. Unfortunately, there is no truth in the story, though it circulated widely and, as Maurice put it, ‘brought me nothing but credit’. 25 What in fact happened was more prosaic. Bob Boothby was greeted by Hitler’s secretary with a ‘Heil Hitler’, to which he responded ‘Heil Boothby’. Later, as he remembered, ‘the story was attributed to Maurice Bowra, who asked me whether I would mind if he did not contradict it. I said I would be delighted to share the honour with him, because I knew that if he had been in my place, he would have done the same.’ 26

Footnotes (24) and (25) are citing Bowra's own Memories (London, 1966). The source cited in footnote (26) above is Lord Boothby, Recollections of a Rebel (London, 1978). Here, Boothby gives his version of what happened when he met Hitler (not the secretary) - and it's missing the word 'Heil':

It is true that when I walked across the long room to a corner in which he was sitting writing, in a brown shirt with a swastika on his arm, he waited without looking up until I had reached his side, then sprang to his feet, lifted his his right arm, and shouted ‘Hitler!’ and that I responded by clicking my heels together together, raising my right arm, and shouting back: ‘Boothby!’

From this context, it is apparent that Hitler was simply greeting Boothby and giving his name, unnecessary though it may seem. Of related interest, it was not uncommon in Jyland / Jutland (Denmark) even in the 1970s for adult men to introduce themselves to other adult males by simply saying their family name and nodding (no 'Hello' or such like, no first name).

Clearly, others (or even Boothby himself at times) have embellished the original version. For example, Israeli politician and journalist Yair Lapid's biography of his father Tommy Lapid has this:

Lord Robert Boothby…once told me the following story: “In 1931 I visited the Fuhrer in Munich. When I entered his office he jumped from his seat, stood at attention, raised his right arm in the Nazu salute and shouted, ‘Heil Hitler’ I had no choice but to stand to attention as well, raise my right arm and shout, ‘Heil Boothby’”

Who embellished this account is not in evidence it could well have been Boothby himself for obvious comic effect.

Hitler's (various) physical responses when greeting people are well-documented (see Nazi Salute, photos and contemporary film footage). In addition to the salutes described in Wikipedia and seen in film footage, Hitler usually shook hands when greeting important or well-known people.

How he greeted them orally is less clear, but it most likely depended on the circumstances, the person or people and, quite possibly, his mood. As already stated, I can find no evidence that he used the words 'Heil Hitler' together, though this Quora post (unsourced) says otherwise (I've asked for a source so we'll see. ). However, it would make no sense for Hitler to pledge loyalty to himself.

The ‘Heil Hitler’ greeting, Strasser wrote in January 1927, was not only a symbol of personal dependence on the Leader, but contained in itself the pledge of loyalty.

Source: Ian Kershaw, 'Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris' (1998)

Boothby's account is one way Hitler greeted people he hadn't previously met, but he certainly wouldn't have said his family name in this manner to children or to people he already knew.

Albert Speer's memoires Inside the Third Reich, relate that Heil Hitler was rarely used by the 40 to 50 people granted access to Hitler's 'afternoon dinner table' at the Chancellery Guten Tag was more common. Hitler himself was fairly informal at these gatherings, shaking hands and perhaps enquiring about their well-being or sharing snippets of news. On the phone, Speer would end a conversation with Heil, mein Fuhrer', to which Hitler

sometimes replied, "Heil, Speer." This greeting was a sign of favor which he only rarely vouchsafed to Goering, Goebbels, and a few other intimates underlying it was a note of faint irony at the mandatory, "Heil, mein Fuhrer."

There is also no evidence in Hitler's written correspondence that he used Heil Hitler, but it was used by others sometimes (see, for example, this Martin Bormann letter).

Fans of old films may have been reminded of the line Heil Myself! in the 1942 satire To be or Not to Be, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, with Jack Benny playing a Polish actor who plays Hitler. Although wholly anti-Nazi, it was considered inappropriate by many at the time despite its Jewish director and star. The film is now considered a classic. Clips with Heil Myself! can be seen here (the first 20 secs) and here (1m 39 secs, at the end of the clip). The same line was also used in the Mel Brooks-directed 1963 film The Producers.


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About Rt Hon Robert Boothby, Baron Boothby, KBE

Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby, KBE (also known as Bob Boothby, 12 February 1900 – 16 July 1986) was a controversial British Conservative politician. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boothby,_Baron_Boothby

Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby, KBE (12 February 1900 – 16 July 1986), often known as Bob Boothby, was a British Conservative politician.

The only son of Sir Robert Tuite Boothby, KBE, of Edinburgh and a cousin of Rosalind Grant, mother of the broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Boothby was educated at St Aubyns School, Eton College, and Magdalen College, Oxford. Before going up to Oxford, near the end of the First World War, he trained as an officer and was commissioned into the Brigade of Guards, but was too young to see active service. After Oxford he became a partner in a firm of stockbrokers.

He was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for Orkney and Shetland in 1923 and was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberdeen and Kincardine East in 1924. He held the seat until its abolition in 1950, when he was elected for its successor constituency of East Aberdeenshire. Re-elected a final time in 1955, he gave up the seat in 1958 when he was raised to the peerage, triggering a by-election.

He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill from 1926 to 1929. He helped launch the Popular Front in December 1936. He held junior ministerial office as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food in 1940�. He was later forced to resign his post and go to the back benches for not declaring an interest when asking a parliamentary question. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and served as a junior staff officer with Bomber Command, and later as a liaison officer with the Free French Forces, retiring with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. In 1950 he received the Legion of Honour for his latter services.

In 1954 (echoing words he had said in 1934) he complained that for thirty years he had been advocating 'a constructive policy on broad lines' but that this had not been taken up: 'The doctrine of infallibility has always applied to the Treasury and the Bank of England'. Boothby opposed free trade in food stuffs, and claimed that such a policy would invalidate the Agriculture Act 1947 and ruin British farmers. This economic liberalism of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rab Butler, led to Boothby complaining that 'The Tory Party have in fact become the Liberal Party' and cited what the leader of the Liberal Party (Clement Davies) had said to him about Butler: 'Sir Robert Peel has come again.' In response Davies claimed that Boothby 'has been sitting on the wrong side of the House for many years. Undoubtedly he said tonight that he is the planner of planners. I do not believe in that kind of planning. The hon. Member seems to know better than the ordinary person what is good for the ordinary person, what he ought to buy, where he ought to buy it, where he ought to manufacture and everything else of that kind. There is the true Socialist'.

Boothby was a British delegate to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1949 until 1957 and advocated the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community, which later evolved into the European Union. He was a prominent commentator on public affairs on radio and television, often taking part in the long-running BBC radio programme Any Questions. He also advocated the virtues of herring as a food.

He was Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs, 1952� Honorary President of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, 1934, Rector of the University of St Andrews, 1958� Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1961�, and President, Anglo-Israel Association, 1962�. He was awarded an Honorary LLD by St Andrews, 1959 and was made an Honorary Burgess of the Burghs of Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Turriff and Rosehearty. He was appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour in 1950, a KBE in 1953.

Boothby was raised to the peerage as a life peer with the title Baron Boothby, of Buchan and Rattray Head in the County of Aberdeen, on 18 August 1958.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in October 1963 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at BBC Television Centre.

During the 1950s Boothby was a prominent advocate of decriminalizing homosexual acts between men. In his memoirs, he wrote that he was determined to 'do something practical to remove the fear and misery in which many of our most gifted citizens were then compelled to live'.

In December 1953 he sent a memorandum to David Maxwell Fyfe, then the Home Secretary, calling for the establishment of a departmental enquiry into homosexuality. He argued that:

By attaching so fearful a stigma to homosexuality as such, you put a very large number of otherwise law-abiding and useful citizens on the other side of the fence which divides the good citizen from the bad. By making them feel that, instead of unfortunates they are social pariahs, you drive them into squalor – perhaps into crime and produce that very "underground" which it is so clearly in the public interest to eradicate.

Boothby premised his argument for law reform on the idea that it was the role of the state 'not to punish psychological disorders – rather to try and cure them'. He argued in the House of Commons that the law as it was did not 'achieve the objective of all of us, which is to limit the incidence of homosexuality and to mitigate its evil effects'.

After the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution recommended decriminalization in the Wolfenden Report of 1957, Boothby claimed that, through his correspondence with Fyfe, he had been 'primarily responsible' for the committee's establishment.

Boothby had a colourful, if reasonably discreet, private life, mainly because the press refused to print what they knew of him, or were prevented from doing so. Woodrow Wyatt – whose reliability has been questioned – claimed after the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother that she had confided to him in an interview in 1991 that 'The press knew all about it', referring to Boothby's affairs, and that she had described Boothby as 'a bounder but not a cad'.

He was married twice: in 1935 to Diana Cavendish (marriage dissolved in 1937) and in 1967 to Wanda Sanna, a Sardinian woman 33 years his junior. His second cousin, writer and broadcaster Sir Ludovic Kennedy, asserted that Boothby fathered at least three children by the wives of other men ('two by one woman, one by another').

From 1930 he had a long affair with Lady Dorothy Macmillan, wife of the Conservative politician Harold Macmillan (who would serve as prime minister from 1957 until 1963). He was rumoured to be father of the youngest Macmillan daughter, Sarah, although Harold Macmillan's most recent biographer D. R. Thorpe discounts Boothby's paternity. This connection to Macmillan, via his wife, has been seen as one of the reasons why the police did not investigate the death of Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire, who died in the presence of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams. The duke was Lady Dorothy's brother, and it is thought the police were wary of drawing press attention to her while she was being unfaithful.

Sexuality and the Kray twins

Partly because of his support for homosexual law reform, Boothby was subject to public rumours about his sexuality, although he insisted publicly in 1954 that he was 'not a homosexual'. He did, however, comment that 'sub-conscious bi-sexuality is a component part of all of us [and] the majority of males pass through a homosexual period'.

While an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, Boothby earned the nickname 'the Palladium', because 'he was twice nightly'. He later spoke about the role of a speculated homosexual relationship in the drowning of his friend Michael Llewelyn Davies (one of the models for Peter Pan) and fellow Oxonian Rupert Buxton. In a Channel 4 documentary broadcast in 1997, it was claimed that he did not start to have physical relationships with women until the age of 25.

In 1963 Boothby began having an affair with East End cat burglar Leslie Holt (d. 1979), a younger man he met at a gambling club. Holt introduced him to the gangster Ronald Kray, the younger Kray twin, who (allegedly) supplied Boothby with young men and arranged orgies in Cedra Court, receiving personal favours from Boothby in return. When Boothby's underworld associations came to the attention of the Sunday Express, the Conservative-supporting paper opted not to publish the damaging story. The matter was eventually reported in 1964 in the Labour-supporting Sunday Mirror tabloid, and the parties subsequently named by the German magazine Stern.

Boothby denied the story and threatened to sue the Mirror. Because Boothby's close friend Tom Driberg – a senior Labour MP, and also homosexual – also associated with the Krays, neither of the major political parties had an interest in publicity, and the paper's owner Cecil King came under pressure from the Labour leadership to drop the matter.[21] The Mirror backed down, sacked its editor, apologised, and paid Boothby ꍀ,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Consequently, other newspapers became less willing to cover the Krays' criminal activities, which continued unchecked for three more years. The police investigation received no support from Scotland Yard, while Boothby embarrassed his fellow peers by campaigning on behalf of the Krays in the Lords, until their increasing violence made association impossible. It has been claimed that journalists who investigated Boothby were subjected to legal threats and break-ins, and that much of this suppression was directed by Arnold Goodman.

In his book on Winston Churchill, Boris Johnson characterises the effect on reputations of prominent British MPs and aristocrats for favourable comments after meeting Hitler in Germany in the earlier 1930s. He singles out Boothby for avoiding such an effect by his response there to the 'Heil Hitler!' salute, which was 'Heil Boothby!'

After his death from a heart attack in Westminster Hospital, London, aged 86, Boothby's ashes were scattered at Rattray Head near Crimond, Aberdeenshire, off the coast of his former constituency.


Boothby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Boothby was first found in Lincolnshire, at Boothby, a parish, in the Higher division of the wapentake of Boothby-Graffo, parts of Kesteven. [1] Boothby-Pagnell is nearby. The family is "a younger branch of the Barons de Tateshall, descended from Eudo, a foreign noble, living 1086. Boothby was held 13th cent. by Robert de Tateshall, the ancestor of this family Sir Alexander de Boothby had a writ of summons, 1296, to march against the Scots. From this family descend the Baronets Boothby." [2]

The date 1296 is very significant as this was the year that King Edward I (nicknamed the Hammer of the Scots) conquered Scotland. Like many other nobles of the time, the aforementioned Sir Alexander de Boothby was recruited for his quest.

About the same time, Thomas de Botheby was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 as residing in Lincolnshire. Later, John de Botheby, was rector of Ryton, County Durham in 1312 and Henry Boothby was vicar of Stow-Bardolph, Norfolk in 1497. [3]

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Early History of the Boothby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boothby research. Another 249 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1696, 1594, 1648, 1660, 1661, 1662, 1949, 1660, 1669, 1669 and 1670 are included under the topic Early Boothby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Boothby Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Boothby, Boothbye, Boothbie, Boothbey and others.

Early Notables of the Boothby family (pre 1700)

Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boothby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Boothby migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boothby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Boothby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Boothby, who arrived in New York in 1821
  • William Boothby, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846 [4]
  • Miss Boothby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • William Boothby, aged 55, who settled in America from Leeds, in 1896
Boothby Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Samuel Kidd Boothby, aged 23, who landed in America from Barnph, England, in 1908
  • A. Boothby, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • James R Boothby, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1911
  • Bertita Boothby, aged 35, who immigrated to America, in 1912
  • Thomas Boothby, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States, in 1913
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Boothby migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boothby Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

Boothby migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Boothby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Boothby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Diadem" in 1840 [5]
  • William Boothby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Sovereign" in 1847 [6]
  • Edward Boothby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal George" in 1848 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Boothby (post 1700) +

  • Sir Brooke Boothby (1744-1824), 6th Baronet, English linguist, translator, poet and landowner, eldest son of Sir Brooke Boothby, of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire[8]
  • Penelope Dora Harvey Boothby (1881-1970), English female tennis player
  • Frederic Eleazer Boothby (b. 1845), American Republican politician Mayor of Portland, Maine, 1901-03 Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maine, 1904
  • William T. "Cocktail Bill" Boothby (1862-1930), American bartender and writer
  • William Robinson Boothby (1829-1903), Electoral Commissioner for South Australia
  • Scott Boothby (b. 1973), American hammer thrower
  • Sir Robert Tuite Boothby KBE (1871-1941), British banker
  • Robert "Bob" John Graham Boothby KBE (1900-1986), 1st BaronBoothby, British Conservative politician, Member of UK Parliament (1924-1958)
  • Guy Newell Boothby (1867-1905), Australian novelist and writer
  • David Boothby, Canadian Chief of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service
  • . (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Boothby family +

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. W. Boothby (d. 1912), aged 36, English Second Class Bedroom Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [9]

Related Stories +

The Boothby Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Mors Christi mors mortis mihi
Motto Translation: Christ’s death is to me the death of death.


Watch the video: Lord Boothby Marries 1967


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