Derek was the eldest son of the 2nd Baron Melchett and his wife, Amy Gwen Wilson

He travelled with his mother from an early age. On 1 February 1924 they sailed for Cape Town on the Edinburgh Castle, arriving back on 22 March, on the same ship. Their address was 17 Wilton Place, Knightsbridge. Miss Wethered, the nanny, was with them. On 6 February 1928, with his younger brother and mother, he came home from Madeira on the Windsor Castle. They had moved to 45 Green Street, W. On 5 February 1932 with his mother and her social secretary, Miss A. Mockford, he sailed for Colombo, returning to England with Miss Mockford on the Orantes on 6 April.

He was educated at Eton and Matriculated in 1941. He came up as an Exhibitioner and was Secretary of the Union and President of the University Boat Club. He was up for one year.

On 18 July 1942, he married Yvonne Victoria Searle at Cheltenham.

Page from the diary of Donald Gillies dated 30 April 1945

He was serving on HMS Philante when he was killed in a flying accident near Lochalsh on 30 April 1945. His wife was living at 6 Museum Road, Oxford.

Philante was an “armed yacht” used as a convoy escort vessel. Built in 1937 for Sir Thomas Sopwith by Camper & Nicholson, she became the Norwegian Royal Yacht “Norge” in 1947 when the people of Norway subscribed to buy her.

Derek is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial  Panel 95, Column 3. and on the War Memorial at St. Peter’s Church, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire.

His widow remarried in 1951.

The image on the right shows a page from the diary of Donald Gillies dated 30 April 1945. It records the tragic accident in which naval officers attached to HMS Philante based at Kyle were killed when the seaplane they were flying crashed into the water off Avernish. Only a few days before, one of them, Dr Blyth, had visited the pupils of Kyle School where the teacher, Miss Laing, was a personal friend.