Black Watch hero leaves almost £9 million in will


By Alexander Lawrie

A FORMER-Black Watch war hero has left almost £9 million in his will.

Captain John Neil Baillie-Hamilton was a leading member of the Perthshire farming community and owned over 12,000 acres of prime agricultural land near Callander.

Capt Baillie-Hamilton served as an officer in the Black Watch and saw service in India, Germany and in Cyprus during the Suez crisis.

The officer, who owned the large Cambusmore Estate near Callander, Perthshire, passed away on February 15, 2009, aged 82.

His final bequest of £8, 994, 761.21 is largely made up of cash, shares and land.

The wealthy landowner has left the bulk of his estate to his children and wife, but has also gifted his local church a generous £20,000.

John Neil Buchanan Baillie-Hamilton, known to his friends as Neil, was born in Ceylon in March 1926 where his father was a well-known tea planter with other social and commercial interests.


He was first educated at Nuwara Eliya in modern day Sri Lanka, before moving to Scotland with his brother Angus in 1934.

Both went to Craigflower Prep School, near Dunfermline, Fife, and from there Mr Baillie-Hamilton went on to a successful time at Winchester College.

Following his education Mr Baillie-Hamilton was called up war duty, and after officer training in India he was commissioned into his uncle’s regiment, The Black Watch.

While he served as Aide de Camp to the Governor of Baluchistan, the wealthy Scot’s travels took him all over India.

He was then transferred to Germany where he served on the Rhine before the newly-married officer was sent to Berlin.

To his dismay, Mr Baillie-Hamilton was then transferred to Cyprus after the Suez crisis erupted in 1956.

While serving his country Capt Baillie-Hamilton married the Honorable Carol Barrie.

After his military career ended the landowner went home to the Cambusmore Estate to farm the land given to him by his father, but following his father’s untimely death Mr Baillie-Hamilton assumed responsibility for the whole estate.

One of his tasks after he took over the running of the estate was to repurchase parts of the land which had been previously sold by his father to the Forestry Commission.

Planted 5 million trees

Farming on the estate continued, which was, over the years, then superseded by forestry and tourism.

Enthusiastic about the forestry side of the business Mr Baillie-Hamilton managed the timber on the estate right up until his death.

In the years he had ownership of Cambusmore Mr Baillie-Hamilton was said to have overseen the planting of over five million trees.

Unfortunately, his wife Carol passed away from cancer in 1977, but he eventually met and married again in 1981.

Around this time the landowner gifted Callander Golf Club a slice of his large estate meaning the club could expand its course to the full 18 holes.

In time his son Michael would join him in managing the estate.

A dedicated church-goer, Capt Baillie-Hamilton’s also included in his final bequest was a £20,000 donation to the St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Callander.

His Perthshire farm was valued at £950,000, with furniture and other personal effects worth almost £350,000.

Capt Baillie-Hamilton’s share portfolio included major investments in various companies including Imperial Tobacco Group, Marks and Spencers, Tesco, BP and Diageo.

His wife, Mrs Gillian Baillie-Hamilton, was given £25,000 while the residue of the state has been handed down to Capt Baillie-Hamilton’s two sons, Michael and Alexander.

Captain John Neil Buchanan Baillie-Hamilton passed away from cancer on February, 15, 2009 and is survived by his wife and two sons.

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