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Lord Marley (Dudley Leigh Aman)

Photo of Lord MarleyLord Marley was a distinguished Naval officer and later Chief Whip of the Labour Party.

He was born Dudley Leigh Aman on 16th May 1884 in Cheshire. He was educated at Marlborough and the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

He entered the Royal Marine Artillery and when war broke out in 1914 he was attached to the Third Fleet and transferred to France. He was mentioned in dispatches and won the D.S.C. for his actions at the 2nd battle of Ypres.

After the war he made 5 unsuccessful attempts to enter Parliament as a Labour MP. He was created a Baron in 1930, taking the title of Lord Marley from his home near Haslemere.

In the House Of Lords he became Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip of the Labour Party as well as serving as Lord-In-Waiting to George V. He was appointed chairman of the Rent Restriction Acts Committee and later became chairman of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for the aid of Jews In Europe. In this capacity he became involved with Birobidzhan - an area of Siberia designated by Stalin as an autonomous region for the Jewish people. Lord Marley was a great advocate of the scheme seeing it as a resettlement opportunity for repressed Jews of Europe although the project was in direct conflict with the Zionist ideal of a Palestinian homeland. His visits to Birobidzhan and his fund-raising efforts for the scheme in the USA caused unease among his Labour Party colleagues who saw him being branded as a communist. This did not deter him and he involved himself more deeply by writing the introduction to a publication entitled 'The Brown Book of the Hitler Terror and the Burning of the Reichstag', which was the first public expose of what was happening to the Jews in Hitler's Germany. This publication fuelled the fears of the American Jews for their European counterparts and Lord Marley used it to good effect to raise substantial amounts for Birobidzhan on his American coast to coast fund-raising tours. He resigned as Chief Whip in 1937.

He died in 1952 and was succeeded to the title by his son Godfrey Pelham Leigh Aman. This hereditary peerage became extinct in 1990.