Fraser, Simon Joseph, fourteenth (sometimes reckoned sixteenth) Baron Lovat and forty-first MacShimi 1871-1933, was born at Beaufort Castle, Beauly, Inverness-shire, 25 November 1871, the second son of Simon Fraser, thirteenth Baron Lovat, by his wife, Alice Mary, fifth daughter of Thomas Weld-Blundell, of Ince Blundell, Lancashire. He was educated by the Benedictines at Fort Augustus Abbey School, at the Oratory School, Edgbaston, and at Magdalen College, Oxford. His elder brother having died in infancy he succeeded his father in 1887. From 1894 to 1897 he served in the 1st Life Guards. He returned from an expedition to the Blue Nile in 1899 with stuffed specimens of seventeen hitherto unknown species of fauna, three of which bear his name. During the South African war he raised, served in, and finally commanded the Lovat Scouts, a corps of Highlanders whose field-craft shattered the legend of Boer invisibility. At an Oxford meeting in 1902 he foreshadowed the formation of the Officers' Training Corps, and was one among a small group which, for twelve years, urged on the government the needs of national defence. He helped to found the Round Table in 1910, and originated cotton-planting in the Sudan. He contributed to The Grouse in Health and in Disease (2 vols., 1911), which put together the findings of an important committee on which he served at this time. He commanded the Highland Mounted Brigade in Gallipoli in 1915; then, invalided home, held various commands in France, the most important of which was the directorship of forestry on the western front. He was the first chairman (1919-1927) of the Forestry Commission; then under-secretary of state for the Dominions (1927-1928), and chairman (1928-1929) of the Overseas Settlement Committee. In the difficult years from 1929 onwards he was the immensely popular convener of the Inverness-shire county council.
Lovat's hospitable nature gave him an unrivalled power of dealing with men; his services to the British Empire as soldier and administrator, to his own countryside in promoting forestry, fisheries, and the welfare of the crofter, depended largely on his capacity for getting a team to work together; that he should be its captain was of no importance to him. To his enthusiasm and experience the Forestry Commission and the first Empire Forestry Conference, held in Canada in 1923, owed everything; Canada idolized him. A staunch Roman Catholic, he formed, with men of all creeds, a host of effortless friendships. He was appointed K.T. in 1915, and received many other decorations, British and foreign. He died suddenly at Little Tew, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, 18 February 1933. He married in 1910 Laura, second daughter of Thomas Lister, fourth Lord Ribblesdale, and had two sons and three daughters. He was succeeded as fifteenth baron by his elder son, Simon Christopher Joseph, Master of Lovat (born 1911), who was awarded the D.S.O. and M.C. during the war of 1939-1945.
A portrait of Lord Lovat by Somerled Macdonald is at Beaufort Castle.
The Times, 20 February 1933
Sir Francis Lindley, Lord Lovat. A Biography, 1935
Contributor: R. A. Knox.