John Hay Beith was born on 17 April 1876 in UK the third son and sixth child of Janet Fleming and his husband John Alexander Beith, a cotton merchant, magistrate, and leading member of the local Liberals. He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh and St. Johns College, Cambridge. He was a second-lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was in France in April of 1915 and was one of the first 100,000 of Kitchener's Army. He was awarded the Military Cross. He was Director of Public Relations at the War Office (1938-1941). As Ian Hay, he was also a novelist, and playwright. He passed away on 22 September 1952 in Liss, Petersfield, Hampshire.