13 December 2023

Lord James


It was with deep sadness that the staff and Trustees of Veterans Housing Scotland learned of the death of our President, the Right Honourable James Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, Baron Selkirk of Douglas. Lord James, as he was known, had a long history with VHS (formerly Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association)

He was a passionate supporter of the veterans’ community. Lord James came from a military family with strong connections with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. His father had commanded the City of Glasgow Squadron while his uncle had commanded the City of Edinburgh Squadron during the Second World War. Lord James served as a Captain in the Territorial Army for four years and was later appointed an Honorary Air Commodore of the City of Edinburgh Squadron.

He had an avid interest in military matters, particularly anything with an air force connection. He wrote a number of books including the story of Rudolph Hess’ flight to Britain to meet his father, the then Duke of Hamilton and another on the Air Battle for Malta. Lord James had a profound sense of duty in the broadest sense, becoming the Conservative MP for Edinburgh West before joining the Scottish Parliament as a Member of the Scottish Parliament. He sat in the House of Lords until July of this year.

Bob Kemp, Chairman of VHS, said “Lord James will be remembered as a most supportive President of Veterans Housing Scotland.  He attended as many meetings as his other duties allowed and he was always interested in the wellbeing of the charity’s beneficiaries. He made a significant charitable donation that allowed the Selkirk Education Fund to be set up. This Fund has allowed the charity to give financial help to those tenants who wish to avail themselves of further education or training courses” 

He was a wise and highly thought of politician with a sense of humour and a true gentleman. He served at the age of ten as a Page at the coronation of the late Queen. He is quoted as saying that he was given a little medal but he really wanted a train set!’

Lord James died aged 81 surrounded by his family of whom we are thinking of at this sad time.   


I feel part of a broader family with the communication and support from Veterans Housing Scotland. I appreciate them keeping in touch and offering advice and updates as necessary.  A letter from the Chief Executive during the Covid-19 crisis was a nice touch and reassured us that help was available should any of us need it.

Daniel Stott – Veteran, RLC, Attached to 3 Rifles