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Robert Gayre (1907–1996) was a British eccentric, soldier, spy, pseudohistorian, and scientific racist, who fancied himself a clan chieftain, and established his own order of chivalry in the UK. Although he considered himself an anthropologist and lectured on the subject in India, his academic status has been questioned. His other ventures included starting an organisation for ethnic Britons called WISE (Welsh, Irish, Scots, English). Claims that he was involved in the New World Order conspiracy should be taken less seriously.
He was a spy in Germany before World War Two. At the start of the war, he served in the British Expeditionary Force in France, and later was involved in the administration of Italy after its capture by the Allies.
He seemed to fancy himself a highland laird, and bought Lochore Castle (an uninhabitable pile of rubble) in Fife, Scotland, the ownership of which enabled him to style himself feudal baron of Lochoreshyre. To add to his claim, he invented a spurious history of the Clan Gayre, an entirely fictitious Scottish clan that he claimed were his ancestors; in reality the clan history cannot be traced back before the mid 20th century.
Order of St Lazarus
Gayre set up a modern-day British branch of the Order of St Lazarus, one of the medieval orders of Crusader knights who served to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land in the short period when they seized it from the Muslims. He also created and became President of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, an organisation which claimed authority to authenticate orders of chivalry.
In 1971 he bought a church from the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopalian Church in Stockbridge, Edinburgh's fashionable bohemian district, and decorated it with a ton of heraldic paraphernalia. This served as a headquarters for the Order of St Lazarus. The organisation did some charitable works, including fundraising for leprosy treatment.
After his death, the order closed down again and the church reverted to more orthodox Anglican worship, although the regalia remains.
He gained a degree in Geography from Edinburgh University. This seems to have been his only academic qualification. He became professor of anthropogeography at the University of Saugor in India in 1954, and became a Fellow of the country's National Academy of Science.
In 1986 he attempted to give Glasgow University a large sum of money to endow a chair in Scottish Literature, but after controversy over his views and protests from Searchlight, 96,000 pounds were returned to him. The Glasgow Herald suggested there was some mystery over where the money came from.
He founded a journal, Mankind Quarterly, in 1960 to advance his ideas, with backing from the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics, and Wickliffe Draper's Pioneer Fund (Draper was a keen advocate of eugenics). Its honorary editor was Otto von Vershuer, director of the Nazi German Institute for Genetic Biology and Racial Hygiene from 1935 to 1942 and academic supervisor of Josef Mengele. Gayre also defended Hans F. K. Günther, another Nazi race theorist.
Gayre believed that east Asians were more intelligent than whites who were in turn superior to blacks. He claimed that scientific racism had been unfairly maligned because of its association with Nazism.
He also contributed to Race and Reason, a pamphlet by American segregationist Carleton Putnam.
He visited apartheid South Africa several times, speaking on racial topics, including controversial views on the history of Zimbabwe, which were used to justify Ian Smith's racist policies, and statements that black people were genetically unsuitable for civilisation or democracy.
He was a regular in court, including a 1965 victory over the Slovene anthropologist Božo Škerlj, who had died 4 years previously. In 1968 he testified as a witness in a court case for the white nationalist group the Racial Preservation Society who had been accused of violating the Race Relations Act 1965. In 1973 he lost a libel action against the Sunday Times, which had accused him of racism. In another of his court cases over allegations of racism, in 1968, he claimed "Nearly all our foresight and acquisitiveness is due to the high development of the temporal lobes. This is not anything like so developed in the Negro race, and as a result they are feckless, they are not worried about the future - and they do not suffer from ulcers as a consequence."
He founded the organsiation WISE (Welsh, Irish, Scots, English) in 1974; this anti-immigration organsiation had links to the National Front and Conservative Monday Club; it called for the defence of white culture and repatriation of black British people.
In conspiracy theories
Because the Order of St Lazarus is ancient and with vague connections to the Roman Catholic Church, and because of Gayre's relationship with the British intelligence services and Peter Manton's possible link to the Jersey sex abuse scandal, Gayre has become the object of conspiracy theories.
The LaRouche Movement informs us that Gayre was behind the World Anti-Communist League (an "alternative United Nations") as well as having links to the P2 Freemason lodge (through his work in post-war Italy). Various eccentric sources such as this link Gayre with Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, who was associated with pro-Nazi elements in the British aristocracy before and during World War Two; Rudolf Hess was apparently trying to meet Douglas-Hamilton in his flight to Scotland. It's ironic that somebody whose life's work was to spread misinformation should himself be subject of some very eccentric theories; a meta-conspiracy theorist could suggest they are either attempts to discredit Gayre or to discredit his critics.
His associate Peter Manton was accused of child sexual offences but never convicted and is now dead. He has been mentioned in conspiracy theories about pedophile rings in Jersey and in British upper-class society involving Cyril Smith and Jimmy Savile. There is no suggestion that Gayre was involved in any abuse.
- Robert Gayre, Glasgow Herald, 17 Feb 1996
- "Racial Irredentism, Ethnogenesis, and White Supremacy in HighApartheid South Africa", Saul Dubow, Queen Mary, University of London, September 2015
- See the Wikipedia article on Clan Gayre.
- International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (1996), heraldica.org
- See the Wikipedia article on Robert Gayre.
- The Armorial Embellishments, St Vincent's Chapel website
- Fascist Scotland, Gavin Bowd, Birlinn, 2013,
- See the Wikipedia article on Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer.
- Race and Nazi Racism and the Latter’s Impact on Anthropology, Robert Gayre, The Mankind Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, (April-June 1978), pp. 293-303
- For the Betterment of the Race: The Rise and Fall of the International Movement for Eugenics and Racial Hygiene, S. Kühl, Springer, 2013
- 104. Settlement of Action for Damages for Libel, Man, Vol. 65 (Jul. - Aug., 1965), p. 118 (1 page)
- "Racism and the barmy Laird of Nigg", Linklater, Magnus, The Times (London, England), Wednesday, November 23, 1994, Issue 65119, p.18, via Gale/Times Digital Archive
- Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century, Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, A&C Black, 2000, 681.
- Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World, Nicholas Shaxson, Random House, 2012, p229
- Allen Dulles, William Buckley, and the Nazi International, Scott Thompson, La Rouche Publications, April 20, 1982
- The Power of the Paedos — another high profile case hits the 'never happened' wall?, Magda Hassan, Deep Politics forum
- Of tax havens and child rapists, Stuart Syvret, Stuart Syvret blog
- Stuart Syvret Court Case State Media Interview (uncut), Voice for Children, Blogspot