Viscount Slim was born in 1927 as the only son of war hero Field Marshall William Slim, who was ennobled as the 1st Viscount in 1960 after serving as Governor-General of Australia from 1953-59.
It was during his father’s service in India that Lord Slim was born. He was educated at Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College at Dehra Dun, in the Garwhal Kingdom. In 1944, he joined the 6th Gurkha Rifles and, in 1948, was transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders before entering the Special Air Service in 1952.
From 1962, he was instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, and from 1964 at the Joint Services Staff College. In 1972, he retired from the armed forces at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel with a later honorary promotion to Colonel and was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire the following year.
By 1970, Lord Slim had succeeded to the viscountcy and made his maiden speech in the House of Lords on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in 1974 – arguing Britain’s long history of tolerance should not lead to ‘a laxity in our national discipline’ towards ‘the professional revolutionary’ and that ‘we must be on the offensive; we must be aggressive’ in defeating terrorism.
The 1st Viscount led the ‘forgotten army’ in the Burmese campaign during the Second World War and his heir has maintained an interest in the South-East Asian nation – sitting as president of the veterans’ Burma Star Association since 1971 and as patron of Prospect Burma, a London based charity that offers higher education scholarships to Burmese students. He is also vice-president and a former chairman of the Britain-Australia Society, which was established in 1971.
Slim has also had a long business career, being chairman of Peek plc 1976-91, deputy chairman 1991-96 and consultant 1996-03. He was also director of Trailfinders travel company and Trustee of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL).
From 1977-96, he was also vice-chairman of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce and, in 1983, was made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Between 1995 and 1996, he was also Master of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and serves as an honorary chairman of The OSS Society.
In 1958, he married Elisabeth Spinney and the couple have two sons, including heir apparent Mark William Rawdon Slim and one daughter.