Col. R.J.L. Ogilby

Colonel Robert James Leslie Ogilby DSO

Colonel Ogilby purchased Moreton Hall and the tennis court in 1921 and remained owner until the hall and court were sold to Major James Dance in 1949. From the 1930s Ogilby leased the court to Col E.J.L. Speed who kept the court going with a small group of enthusiasts.

Colonel Robert James Leslie Ogilby DSO was born in 1880 as the only son of seven children to Robert and Helen Ogilby. He was educated at Eton college and on leaving in 1898 he was commissioned in the 4th Battalion of the Suffolk regiment before transferring in 1900 to regular service with the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards and heading to India. It was there that he became accomplished at polo playing for the regiment and later for the Life Guards which he joined in 1903. He retired from the army in 1905.

On the death of his father in 1902 he inherited lands in County Londonderry and at Woolwich in London.

At the outbreak of the First World War he joined the General reserve of Officers and was appointed temporary Captain in his old regiment of the Irish Dragoon Guards. By 1916 he had been promoted to Major and as second in command of the 7th Battalion of the Norfolk regiment saw heavy fighting in the Battle of the Somme.

He was later promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and given command of the 2nd/14th London Regiment the London Scottish. His battalion saw action during the Second Battle of Doiran before moving on to Egypt and Palestine where his battalion was the first to enter the city following the battle of Jerusalem. He was twice mentioned in dispatches at this time and awarded the DSO.

In 1918 the battalion returned to France where it once again saw action this time in the advance in Flanders. Ogilby was once again mentioned in dispatches and awarded the bar to his DSO.

After the war with the deteriorating political situation in Ireland he purchased Moreton Hall and the tennis court from Charles Garland.

He married Isabel the widow of Rev. Charles Brocklebank in 1936 but sadly she died four years later in October 1940.

In 1942 he was appointed honorary Colonel of the London Scottish a position he held jointly with the then Queen. In this position he established a benevolent fund to help the men of the London Scottish that found themselves in difficulty when the war ended. 

He joined the Society for Army Historical Research, established its Museums Committee which he chaired and in 1954 gave £100,000 to endow a trust to support army regimental museums. The Army Museums Ogilby Trust was instrumental in the establishment of the National Army Museum.

He continued as Honorary Colonel of the London Scottish until 1955. He declined to be made a CBE in the Birthday Honours of the same year.

Ogilby is remembered at the court with his coat-of-arms above the net and through the Ogilby Cup Tournament.