Viscount Allendale (the Hon Wentworth Beaumont)

(to King's Mead in 1931)

(obituary from the Daily Telegraph, 31st December 2002)

The 3rd Viscount Allendale, who has died aged 80, was a Northumbrian landowner and was well known in racing circles as an owner, breeder and steward; in his early life he had been a courageous Spitfire pilot and a prisoner of war in Poland, before enjoying an eventful appointment as ADC to Lord Mountbatten when he was Viceroy of India.

"Wenty" Allendale was a popular and respected figure on the Turf, particularly in the North of England; behind a sometimes severe manner was a generous and amiable nature. He was chairman of the course at Newcastle and a steward at Ripon, Thirsk, Carlisle, York and Newmarket, as well as at Ascot, where his brother, Captain Sir Nicholas Beaumont, was the long-serving Clerk of the Course.

Allendale also served two terms as a Jockey Club steward, taking part in an inquiry into doping allegations against the 1963 Derby winner, the French horse Relko: after two months of deliberations, the result was upheld.

He bred his own horses and kept many of them with the trainer Bill Elsey at Norton. Among the best were Tenterhooks, which won the Queen's Vase at Ascot and the Goodwood Cup in 1957; Alignment, which won the Ebor Handicap at York in 1969; and Mark Henry (named after one of Allendale's sons) which collected 15 cups in the late 1970s including, unusually, wins at Ayr in all
three disciplines - flat, hurdling and steeplechasing.

Wentworth Hubert Charles Beaumont, 3rd Viscount and 4th Baron Allendale, was born on September 12 1922, and was educated at Eton. He was the eldest of five sons and a daughter of the 2nd Viscount - a Lord-in-Waiting to George V and George VI, and a Knight of the Garter - and his wife Violet, daughter of Sir Charles Seely, Bt.

Wenty's great-great-grandfather, Thomas Wentworth Beaumont, was a prominent Liberal at the time of the Reform Bill and a great artistic patron. The barony was created in 1906 for Thomas's son, a Liberal MP, and the viscountcy in 1911 for Thomas's grandson (Wenty's grandfather), an MP and a

The Beaumonts had become very rich as owners of coal-mining land in the West Riding. The first baron left more than �3 million in 1907, and the family collections included works by Rembrandt and Raphael as well as a priceless jade horse acquired by General "Chinese" Gordon from the Summer Palace at Peking.

The family seat was Bretton Hall near Wakefield - built in 1720 for Sir William Wentworth, and remodelled for his Beaumont descendants by Sir Jeffry Wyattville in 1815.

Thomas Beaumont's wife came from a Northumbrian coal-owning family, the Blacketts, and brought into the marriage an estate which included two more houses: Bywell Hall, west of Newcastle, and Allenheads, in the borders of Northumberland and County Durham.

Wenty Beaumont's early years were marked by a series of near-fatal accidents. He spent much of his childhood at Bretton where, as a small boy in 1927, he was rescued from a fire. At 14 he was electrocuted, and paralysed, when a standard lamp fell into his bath at the family's London
home, 144 Piccadilly.

And the following year, at Bretton again, while pigeon shooting with schoolfriends he accidentally shot himself in the thigh, obliging his father to take leave of royal duties at Windsor and rush to Yorkshire with an eminent surgeon in tow.

Beaumont joined the RAF volunteer reserve in 1940, and flew 71 Spitfire missions until, in 1942, he was shot down while attacking a ship off Valchesen in northern Holland, suffering a severe leg injury. He was captured and sent to Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Silesia, the setting for what was to be immortalised in the cinema as The Great Escape. More than 80 Allied prisoners tunnelled their way out of the camp in March 1944, many to be murdered by the Gestapo after they were recaptured.

Hampered by the after-effects of his injury, Beaumont could not join the escape party. But he was a member of the map-making team known, along with the forgers of identity papers, as "Dean & Dawson", after a well-known firm of travel agents. Allendale was commissioned a flight lieutenant while in the camp, where he spent the rest of the war.

On returning to service in 1946, he was appointed an ADC to the Viceroy, serving first Lord Wavell and then Mountbatten. In August 1947, with his fiancee Sarah, daughter of General Lord Ismay, Mountbatten's chief of staff, Beaumont accompanied the Viceregal party to Simla on holiday. The young couple then left by train to return to Delhi, thence to make their way back
to England.

According to Lord Ismay's vivid memoir: "When they boarded the train, Wenty's Muslim servant showed signs of panic and was given permission to travel in their carriage. Nothing unusual happened until, at Sonepat station, about 20 miles from Delhi, a bomb was exploded on the platform.

This was apparently the preconcerted signal for a general attack on all Muslim passengers. Men, women and children were pulled out of the train by their Hindu fellow travellers and butchered in the most brutal manner.At this point, Wenty hid the servant under the seat and piled suitcases in
front of him. A little later, two well-dressed and seemingly well-educated Hindus presented themselves at the door of his carriage and demanded the right to search for a Muslim who was believed to be with them. Wenty indignantly refused, and the intruders took themselves off.

"Maybe they were impressed by Wenty's ADC arm-band, or by the two revolvers which he and Sarah were flourishing. The servant, who had fainted from fright and kept a deathly silence, was the only Muslim to arrive at Delhi."

After leaving the RAF in 1947, Wenty Beaumont's life was fully taken up with racing, shooting and managing his land. The 2nd Viscount died in 1956, and Beaumont succeeded to the title. Bretton was sold soon afterwards, the hall becoming a teacher training college, and the grounds the site of the
Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The Northumbrian estates, encompassing more than 20,000 acres of farmland, forestry, grouse moor and commercial property, remain in the family.

Lord Allendale, who died on December 27, was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Northumberland in 1961.

He married the Hon Sarah Ismay in 1948. There were three sons of the marriage, which was later dissolved; the eldest son, Wentworth Peter Ismay Beaumont, born in 1948, succeeds to the titles.

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