Today is the anniversary of one of the unluckiest days for the politician dubbed ‘the unluckiest man in British politics’ – Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman.
Masterman was returned to parliament at another by-election in 1911, this time at Bethnal Green South West. In 1914 he was appointed to the Cabinet. This may not sound too unlucky, but under the rules at the time, newly-appointed ministers had to resign their seat and re-contest it. Masterman lost the resulting by-election in February 1914. He tried again in a by-election at Ipswich on this day in 1914, but again failed and had to resign from the cabinet.
Masterman eventually returned to the House of Commons in the 1923 general election, as MP for Manchester Rusholme, but he again lost his seat in the 1924 general election.
After this his health declined rapidly, hastened by drug and alcohol abuse. He died in 1927.
So 23 May 1914 stands as one of the unluckiest days in the career of the very talented, but very unlucky Charles Masterman. His son, the historian Neville Masterman, was more fortunate and is still alive at the age of 100.