Lady Daisy Finola Somers

Royal Aero Club Certificate 8778 (17 Jul 1929)

 mini_-_finola_somers.jpg

 
 

Lady Somers of Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Daisy Finola Meeking as was; b. Dublin, 9 Sep 1896, married Lt-Col Arthur Herbert, 6th Baron Somers in April 1921 (the King and Queen sent a pair of diamond sleeve links, which was nice).

He became Governor of the State of Victoria in 1926 - here they are at the railway station on their way to Melbourne:

(isn't that the same hat?)

On the journey, however, he slipped on the steamer's deck and had to have an operation for a "misplaced cartilage of the knee". Which sounds v. painful...

They were there on 13 June 1928 when Kingsford-Smith and Ulm arrived in the 'Southern Cross', having crossed the Pacific.

Lord Somers came back to England in May 1929 "to join Lady Somers"; they were up in Scotland for the grouse-shooting in August, so Finola must have been having flying lessons up to then. They then went back to Australia in October; he to sort out a new government, she to do a 4,700 mile flight in her D.H. 60M Moth VH-UND, to Alice Springs and Darwin and then back down the east coast to Melbourne. She flew with a Flt-Lt. F. M. Denny, who was on her husband's staff, "piloting the aircraft herself for several long stages".

She sold the aeroplane in February 1931.

After a short period as Acting Governor-General of Australia, Lord Somers finished his highly-successful stint as Governor of Victoria in October 1931, and returned to Eastnor. He later became President of the M.C.C, then Chief Scout after the death of Baden-Powell, but died in June 1944 from throat cancer. Sadly for Lady Somers, two-thirds of the money he left was swallowed up by death duties.

She was Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides until 1949 when she resigned due to ill-health; she was awarded the CBE in 1950. She moved back into Eastnor Castle (actually, into the servants' quarters), lived there "in much reduced circumstances" until 1949, when she moved into the former head gardener’s cottage to make way for her only daughter, Elizabeth, and her son-in-law, Ben Hervey-Bathurst.

She attended Lady Mary Bailey's funeral in 1960, and died 6 Oct 1981 in Hereford, aged 85.

Eastnor Castle survives and is now thriving under the stewardship of her grandsons - one of whom tells me that she took him to see Capt Denny once, "who was retired in Burford."

http://www.eastnorcastle.com/

 

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