The Returning Officer: Colchester II

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In 1897 the Tory MP Captain Herbert Naylor-Wayland resigned, causing a by-election. It was won by the Liberal Sir Weetman Pearson, who defeated Captain J M Vereker.

In 1902 Vereker, previously of the King Edward’s Horse, became a founding officer of the King’s Colonials, a regiment “restricted to men of colonial birth”, which included “British Americans”. In 1913 his wife was granted a divorce on the grounds of cruelty and “misconduct with a  housemaid”. The court heard that, in fits of violent temper, he “retired to a tower room, where he drew a skull and crossbones on the wall and wrote remarks reflecting on her chastity”.

This article appears in the 30 September 2014 issue of the New Statesman, ISIS vs The World

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