Hylda Henrietta, Lady Wrench
Hylda Henrietta Brooke; born in 1879 and married to Sir Frederick Des Voeux in 1899. She began working for the Over-Seas Club 1914, first as the Chairman of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Fund and Honorary Director of Correspondence, before being appointed Honorary Controller. During a visit to the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough in 1916, Lady Des Voeux was taken on a flight in the first plane donated to the RFC by the Over-Seas Club, making her one of the first women in England to fly in a military aircraft. In May 1937, after the death of her first husband, Lady Des Voeux and Sir Evelyn Wrench married. She remained an active part of the club for many years and accompanied Wrench on his Commonwealth tours. She died in 1955.
Press baron Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe played an important role in the creation of the Over-Seas Club. Impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of his employee, Lord Northcliffe encouraged Wrench to establish the club by granting him permission to advertise it in the overseas Daily Mail. He attended the first Over-Seas Club meeting in 1910 and provided financial backing as well as the free use of office facilities to support the club as membership grew. He was also the club's first President from 1916-1922.
Marie, Marchioness of Willingdon
Lady Willingdon was the first woman Chairman of the Over-Seas League. When she and her husband, Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon returned from India to the UK in 1936 they took an enthusiastic interest in the League. In 1941 Lord Willingdon was appointed Chairman but died later that year. Lady Willingdon succeeded him from 1941-1946. She was committed to her role and visited the clubhouse almost daily. She regularly hosted events for members and had the honour of welcoming King George IV, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret to Over-Seas House London when they visited in May 1946. She was very popular with the members and when her term as Chairman ended she was unanimously elected Vice-President by the Central Council. The Members' Drawing Room on the first floor of Vernon House is named in her honour.
Admiral of the Fleet, Earl Mountbatten of Burma was President of ROSL from 1942-1959 and Grand President from 1959-1979. He was actively involved in the club both during and after the Second World War, hosting events for Commonwealth and Allied troops. Whilst travelling, he often visited ROSL branches around the world. In May 1970, he held a reception to celebrate ROSL's Diamond Jubilee. The Mountbatten Room is named in his honour and contains a bust and an original portrait of Lord Mountbatten by Frank Beresford, given to ROSL by his daughter, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
Doreen, Lady Brabourne
Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne was a long-standing member of the Central Council from 1943-1979. She took a keen interest in the club's activities and regularly attended events at Over-Seas House, welcoming dignitaries and VIPs from all over the world. She was related to Lord Mountbatten through her son's marriage to his daughter and was with her family when the bomb planted in Lord Mountbatten's fishing boat exploded in Donegal Bay. She died the next day. The Brabourne Room brasserie restaurant is named after her, in recognition of her many years of service to ROSL.