Frederick Corfield

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Sir Frederick Vernon Corfield, QC, PC (1 June 1915 – August 25, 2005) was a British Conservative politician and minister.

Corfield was the son of Brigadier Frederick Alleyne Corfield and Mary Graham Vernon. On 10 August 1945 he married Elizabeth Mary Ruth Taylor at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton in London.[1]

He was educated firstly at Brockhurst Preparatory School [2] and then at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military Academy. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1935. He was then posted to India until 1939, only to be sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force. By 1940 he was serving in the 51st (Highland) Division, and mentioned in dispatches, but, as the Germans advanced, the division was cut off and forced to surrender. Thus Corfield spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war, latterly at Oflag IX A/Z at Rotenburg an der Fulda. During his time as a prisoner he studied law.[3]

On his return to England he qualified as a lawyer and was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1946, he spent a year in the army's judge advocate general's branch. This did not suit him. He spent the next decade mainly as a farmer, first on the family farm in Oxfordshire, then on a 300-acre (1.2 km2) farm in Gloucestershire.

In 1955 he became MP for South Gloucestershire. Shortly after becoming an MP he launched a private member's bill to improve compensation for compulsory land purchases. He received a second reading for his bill in February 1958, against government advice, and its general principles were incorporated in the town and country planning act of 1959.

Under Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home he held the position of Joint Parliamentary Secretary of Housing and Local Government (1962-4). He became an opposition spokesman on land and natural resources 1964-65 and subsequently an executive member of the 1922 Committee. He became secretary of the Conservative MPs' agriculture committee (1956–62), and chairman of its small farms subcommittee (1957–58). He also became parliamentary private secretary to Airey Neave

In 1970 Corfield was briefly Minister of State at the newly formed Department of Trade and Industry under John Davies. He subsequently held the positions of Minister for Aviation Supply and Aerospace Minister (1970-2) where he was responsible for the cancellation of the Black Arrow rocketry programme but provided financial assistance to Rolls-Royce (whose Filton, Bristol factory was within his constituency) when it ran into difficulties that hampered its defence commitments. This help included the nationalisation of the strategically significant aero-engine part of RR. He also presided over the first full scale roll-out of Concorde.

He returned to the backbenches in 1972 and did not contest his Gloucestershire seat in the general election of February 1974. After this retirement from the Commons he returned to legal pursuits and took seats on the boards of various water companies.


  1. Burkes Landed Gentry
  2. The Corfields: A history of the Corfields from 1180 to the present day. ISBN 0-646-14333-6
  3. Guardian newspaper obituary.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anthony Crosland
Member of Parliament for South Gloucestershire
1955Feb 1974
Succeeded by
John Cope