Sir Charles Ross, 9th Baronet
Sir Charles Henry Augustus Frederick Lockhart Ross, 9th Baronet (4 April 1872 – 29 June 1942) was a Scottish inventor and commercial entrepreneur who invented the innovative and often controversial straight-pull actioned Ross rifle
Ross rifle
The Ross rifle was a straight-pull bolt-action 0.303 inch calibre rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until the middle of the First World War....


Ross was born at Balnagown Castle
Balnagown Castle
Balnagown Castle is located beside the village of Kildary in Easter Ross, part of the Highland area of Scotland. There has been a castle on the site since the 14th century, although the present building was remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries...

, the son of Sir Charles William Frederick Augustus Lockhart-Ross, 8th Baronet and his second wife, Rebecca Sophia Barnes of Tufnell Park. He inherited the Baronetcy
Lockhart-Ross Baronets
The Lockhart, later Lockhart-Ross Baronetcy, of Carstairs in the County of Lanark, was a title in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. It was created on 28 February 1672 for William Lockhart. The fourth Baronet used the surname Ross-Lockhart, which was also borne by the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth...

 on the death of his father in 1893 when he was aged 11. He was educated at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 and while he was there his mother's indulgences on him included "a magnificent ocean-going steam yacht, a large sailing yacht, the most superbly appointed and biggest steam launch for river use on the Thames, and a coach and four". When he came of age he instituted a lawsuit against his mother for having, during his minority, spent more of the revenues of his estates upon than she was entitled to by law or by the terms of the will. He was then at Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. In 1894 he rowed in the Cambridge
Cambridge University Boat Club
The Cambridge University Boat Club is the rowing club of the University of Cambridge, England, located on the River Cam at Cambridge, although training primarily takes place on the River Great Ouse at Ely. The club was founded in 1828...

 boat in the Boat Race. He was known as a capable sharpshooter and big game hunter.

Ross became a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders
Seaforth Highlanders
The Seaforth Highlanders was a historic regiment of the British Army associated with large areas of the northern Highlands of Scotland. The Seaforth Highlanders have varied in size from two battalions to seventeen battalions during the Great War...

 and served in the Second Anglo-Boer War. He designed the Ross rifle, which was initially used by his own Machine Gun Battery during the Boer War. He was a captain in Lovat Scouts Yeomanry from 1904 to 1913. He was an advisor on small arms to the Canadian Government and he designed and built the plant of the West Kootenay Power and Light Co. on the Kootenay River
Kootenay River
The Kootenay is a major river in southeastern British Columbia, Canada and the northern part of the U.S. states of Montana and Idaho. It is one of the uppermost major tributaries of the Columbia River, which is the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean...

 at Bonnington Falls. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 his Ross rifle was mass-produced for the Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 army. Sporting rifles bearing the Ross name were also popular for a time after the First World War, as was the .280 (approximately 7 mm) Ross sporting rifle cartridge.

Ross was said to have been Britain's largest landowner, possessing Scottish lands extending to an estimated 366000 acres (1,481.2 km²), with 3,000 tenants. At one point, in an attempt to evade United Kingdom taxation on the income from his arms manufacturing, Ross declared his Easter Ross, Scotland estate of Balnagown to be a territory of the United States of America, which led to his being branded an outlaw for a time by the British Government.

Ross married thrice: first to Winifred Berens (marriage dissolved in 1897); then to Patricia Ellison, who divorced him in 1930; and, in 1938, to his American secretary Dorothy Mercado. Dorothy inherited Balnagown Castle on Ross's death aged 70 in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...


Balnagown Castle, not far from the north shore of the Cromarty Firth near Invergordon
Invergordon is a town and port in Easter Ross, in Ross and Cromarty, Highland, Scotland.-History:The town is well known for the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931. More recently it was also known for the repair of oil rigs which used to be lined up in the Cromarty Firth on which the town is situated...

, and adjacent parts of the once-extensive Ross estate of Balnagown have been owned since 1972 by billionaire businessman and Harrods
Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air...

 owner Mohamed Al-Fayed
Mohamed Al-Fayed
Mohamed Abdel Moneim Al-Fayed is an Egyptian businessman and billionaire. Amongst his business interests are ownership of the English Premiership football team Fulham Football Club, Hôtel Ritz Paris and formerly Harrods Department Store, Knightsbridge...

, who has restored the castle.

External links

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