5th September 1965

Death of Tom Johnston MP

Tom Johnson was born in Dunbartonshire in 1881 and was Secretary of State for Scotland during the Second World War. He represented the constituencies of both Stirling and Clackmannan West, and Dundee.

Prior to his 1941 appointment as Secretary of State for Scotland, he had been Commissioner for Civil Defence, in which role he prepared the country for war and established shelters for bombing raids. As Secretary of State for Scotland, he did much to promote the country and established early hydro-electric projects.

Duty calls

When he died in 1965, the following day’s Aberdeen Press and Journal revealed that the outbreak of war had interrupted his plans to update his history of the working class and, instead, “he accepted the post of Scottish Civil Defence commissioner and, in May 1941, was appointed Scottish Secretary in the Coalition Government. The first post carried a salary of £2500 a year and the second of £5000. [However] it was typical of the man that he refused to take either salary, saying that he would not make a profit out of the war.”

Upon retiring from Parliament after the war, he continued his association with the hydro industry, running the Hydro Board and, as chair of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, bringing mains supplies to many rural areas that had previously not been connected.

Beyond politics

He served as Chancellor of Aberdeen University and was a freeman of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Dingwall. Between 1945 and 1954 he was chair of the Scottish Tourist board, and chair of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland the following year.

He was declared “one of the best men ever to serve Scotland” as Secretary of State for Scotland by the Irvine Herald of 17 September 1965, twelve days after his death at Milngavie.



Other events that occured in September

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