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Waldie-Griffith, Sir Richard (1850–1933)

The death has occurred of Sir Richard Waldie-Griffith, formerly a millionaire racehorse owner, who is resorted to have lost a fortune in a Czechoslovakian law suit, and also in sheep farming in Australia.

Sir Richard Waldie-Griffith was born in 1850, and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge. Joining the 2nd Dragoon Guards, he served with that regiment for a number of years and retired with the rank of captain. In 1889 on the death of his father, he succeeded to the baronetcy and the family estates at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland, and vast mining properties in Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia) which had belonged to the family for centuries. In addition to his Scottish home he had a residence at Newmarket where he kept a racing stable. He lived for a number of years in Western Australia. Meanwhile he had sold 20 per cent of his interests in the Bohemian mines in Bernhard Seebohm, whose family had been associated with the Griffiths for generations in the management of the property. Shortly before the war he parted with nearly all the remaining shares to one Ignaz for £100,000. In March, 1932, he was plaintiff in one of the most remarkable law suits that had ever come before a Central European court. He brought an action in Czechoslovakia against one, Petschek, for the return of the shares (which were valued at £5,000,000), alleging that he was only induced to sell them for £100,000 by a highly pessimistic account of the outlook given him by Petschek and Seebohm. The latter denied that they exaggerated the local conditions and the prospects of the property. The court decided against Sir Richard.

Sir Richard was married three times and his third wife, formerly Miss Alice Maud Pearson, whom he married in 1926, represented him at the trial of the action. His second wife was Miss Frances de Burgh Griffith, of Collie (Western Australia), whom he married in 1922, and who died in 1925.

The late Sir Richard Waldie-Griffith was a resident of Western Australia for about five years, from the latter part of 1922 onwards. He was the most prominent member of a company which purchased Towera and Lyndon stations, in the North-West, Sir Richard's personal share in the purchase being estimated at nearly £200,000. Following the death of his second wife, in 1925, Sir Richard remained at his house in Claremont for some time, and afterwards went abroad, returning later with his third bride. A few months after his return, he sold up all his interests in the State, and departed for his home on the Scottish border. While he resided at Claremont, Sir Richard was a keen yachtsman, and he owned the Fan, which competed against boats from other States in the annual race for yachts of the 21-foot restricted class for several years. It was mainly through his efforts that in one year the race was held in the ocean outside the heads at Fremantle.

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Citation details

'Waldie-Griffith, Sir Richard (1850–1933)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/waldie-griffith-sir-richard-13761/text24575, accessed 23 May 2022.

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Life Summary [details]

Birth

24 April, 1850
Scotland

Death

8 September, 1933 (aged 83)

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