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Owen Cosby Philipps, 1st Baron Kylsant (25 March 1863 – 5 June 1937)[1] was a British businessman and politician.

Owen Philipps was the third son of the Reverend Sir James Erasmus Philipps, 12th Baronet, of Picton Castle, and his wife the Hon. Mary, daughter of the Hon. Reverend Samuel Best. John Philipps, 1st Viscount St Davids was his elder brother and Laurence Philipps, 1st Baron Milford his younger brother (see the Viscount St Davids for earlier history of the family).

He was chairman and managing director of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in 1902, and later chairman and managing director of the White Star and Union Castle Lines. In 1904, he was High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, and from 1906 and 1910 represented Pembroke and Haverfordwest as Member of Parliament. As Sir Owen Philipps, he then represented the City of Chester in Parliament between 1916 and 1922.

In 1909, he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG), later raised to Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) in 1918. On 14 February 1923, Sir Owen was raised to the peerage as Baron Kylsant, of Carmarthen in the County of Carmarthen and of Amroth in the County of Pembroke, and was invested as a Knight of Justice of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ) in 1925.

Lord Kylsant acquired the Ocean Steam Navigation Company (trading as the White Star Line) in 1927 for £7 million (£300,000,000 in today’s money). He was appointed Vice-Admiral of Carmarthenshire and Vice-Admiral of North Wales in 1929.

In August 1931 Lord Kylsant was tried at the Old Bailey for fraud for issuing a misleading stock prospectus and was sentenced to one year's imprisonment at Wormwood Scrubs, in what was known as the Royal Mail Case. As a gentleman he could and did have all his meals sent in from a first-class caterer. The legal bill for the case was £200,000 (£9,000,000 in today’s money). The man who was known as "Napoleon of the Seas" when he dominated the White Star, Royal Mail and numerous other lines said to the two warders who were hovering nearby, "My good men, I am ready to go with you."[2] Lord Kylsant was stripped of his knighthoods following his conviction.

Family

Owen Philipps married Mai Alice Magdalene Morris on 16 September 1902 and they had three daughters, Nesta Donne Philipps (d. 1997), Olwen Gwynne Philipps and Honor Chedworth Philipps (d. 1961) (all were entitled to "the Hon." as daughters of a baron). Lord Kylsant died at the age of 74, without male issue, and the barony thus became extinct. His home Plas Llanstephan went to his wife Mai Alice Magdalene Philipps, Baroness Kylsant; she died 14 December 1952. Nesta married in 1921 George William Reginald Victor Coventry, 10th Earl of Coventry (1900–1940) though he did not become Earl until 1930: in 1940 he was killed in action in World War II. She remarried in 1952 and died in 1997.

References

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Wimburn Laurie
Member of Parliament for Pembroke and Haverfordwest
1906December 1910
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Guest
Preceded by
Robert Yerburgh
Member of Parliament for Chester
1916–1922
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Cayzer, Bt
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Charles Philipps
Lord Lieutenant of Haverfordwest
1924–1931
returned to Pembrokeshire
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Kylsant
1923–1937
Extinct
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