Home                          Charles Francis Irvine,

XXV Laird of Drum


Charles Francis Irvine, was the third son of Alexander Forbes Irvine (1881-1922) the XXII Laird, and was born November 10, 1910 at Drum Castle.

He was educated privately at the Castle before going to a boarding school at age eleven. He attended Ardureck Crieff School in Perthshire (1921-1924); Radley College, Oxford (1924-1929); Exeter College, Oxford  (1929-1932), where he earned a BA in Agriculture in 1932.

From 1932 to 1934 he worked as Estate Agent on a large estate in North Scotland; in 1935 he joined the Liverpool Firm of R. Silcock & Sons, LTD, Agricultural Feed Manufacturers, as Personal Assistant to the Sales Director. The firm specialized in direct selling to farmers .

In 1936 he married Irene Thyella Tennyson, daughter of Commander Harold Sydney Tennyson, Royal Navy. They had three children:

  1. David Charles Irvine, born January 20, 1939. He married Carolyn Colbeck on October 3, 1964

  2. Susan Mary Irvine, born December 10, 1940. She married David Elliot. They have two children:   Phillipa Anne Elliot, born 1971, and Howard Christian Elliot, born 1973.

  3. Anna Elizabeth Irvine, born November 3, 1944. She married Peter Ruf. Their children are: Richard Andrew Ruf, born 1972, and Brigitte Christina Ruf, born 1974.

After a divorce in 1948 Charles married Barbara Stone in 1953. There were no children from this union.

Charles Irvine entered military service in October 1939 as an Officer Cadet, and was commissioned in January 1940 in  the Gordon Highlanders. In May 1942 his battalion joined the 8th Army in Egypt, and fought at the Battle of El Alamein. During this action he was promoted to Battalion Adjutant. He later fought in Libya, and was involved with the capture of Tripoli. His battalion was present at the last day of fighting in North Africa.

In early 1943 he landed with his battalion during the invasion of Sicily, and in November 1943 his Highland Division returned to England to train for the Normandy Invasion. In June 1944 he landed with his Division the first day of the D-Day Normandy Invasion. He later was at the Battle of River Seine, and his unit was involved in the Ardennes Offensive as well as the Rhine crossing into Germany. In September 1944  he was promoted to second in command, and in November of the same year, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he was given command of the battalion during the fighting in the Ardennes. He remained in command until demobilized in October 1945. Lt. Col. Irvine was one of only two officers in the battalion who were in every action and were not wounded.

Lt. Col. Irvine’s decorations were:

1943-Mentioned in Dispatches from North Africa.

1944-France, won the Military Cross for action in the breakout of Normandy

1945-Military Cross was received from King George VI at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace

1945-Belgium, Chevalier of the Order Of Leopold II with Palm and Croix De Guerre with Palm.

1945-Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp Italy and Sicily Campaign Medal

1945-The France and Germany Star

1945-Defense Medal

1945-Victory Medal

In January 1946 Charles Francis Irvine returned to his pre-war job in Liverpool as General Sales Manager with a staff of 600 salesmen in the U.K. In 1961 he was promoted to Director of R. Silcock & Sons, LTD, which was then a subsidiary of Unilever Animal Feed Group.

In October 1969, during a realignment of the various divisions of the corporation, he took early retirement. In his retirement years he lead a very active life, concentrating on golf, and gardening. He was also Chairman of the Liverpool Center of the National Trust; on the Committees of a number of local Activities, in particular, in charge of a series of local houses adapted to accommodate elderly persons.

Charles Francis Irvine became the XXV Laird of Drum in 1975 when Henry Quintin Forbes Irvine, his next oldest brother, died. At that point, because of mounting maintenance  costs—and according to Henry’s wishes—Drum Castle, along with several hundred acres of land, was turned over to the Scottish National Trust.

Charles Francis Irvine died on March 4, 1992. David Charles Irvine, his only son, succeeded him as the XXVI Laird.


David Charles Irvine joined the British Merchant Navy in 1958 through the Cunard Line, and for seven years served on several of its famous passenger liners as a Purser. He was thus  able to be a frequent visitor to the East Coast of the U.S.A. Carolyn, his wife, served on the Queen Mary as a Physiotherapist. David and Carolyn were married in 1964.

After their marriage they both left the Cunard Line, and David entered the banking profession. He worked for Midland Bank, one of Britain’s major banks, for twenty-seven years, retiring in 1991 to become a self-employed business consultant.

When his father died in 1992 David Charles Irvine, as next in line, became the XXVI Laird of Drum.

David and Carolyn lived in Cheshire, England for many years, but in 1999 they moved back to Aberdeenshire, Scotland. They now live about seven miles from Drum Castle, the former ancestral home.

They have three adult children:

  1. Hugh Richard Irvine, born June 26, 1966, is a lawyer in Aberdeen and has a son and two daughters.

  2. Charles William Irvine, December 4, 1967, is a marine biologist and lives in Houston, Texas with his wife April.

  3. Katherine Margaret Irvine, born May 1, 1972, lived and worked in New York for a time, but is currently studying for a postgraduate diploma in social sciences, and lives in Aberdeen.