Savory, Sir Douglas Lloyd (1878–1969), politician, was born 17 August 1878 in Palgrave, Suffolk, fifth of eleven children of the Rev. Ernest Lloyd Savory, rector of Palgrave, and Gertrude Savory (née Arrowsmith). He was educated at Marlborough College, the University of Paris, and St John's College, Oxford. After holding various teaching and lecturing posts, he was appointed professor of French and Romance philology at QUB in 1909 – a post he held until 1940. He served in the Intelligence Division of the Royal Navy during the first world war and was attached for a time to Room 40, the naval cryptanalysis department. During his time at Queen's he did much to modernise language teaching, both in the university and in Irish schools. He served (1920–22) as a commissioner of intermediate education for Ireland, and was a member of the Lynn committee, which investigated the education system in Northern Ireland (1921–3).
In 1912 Savory played a leading role in the campaign to protect the position of Queen's University under the third home rule bill; however, his political career began in earnest in November 1940, when he was returned, unopposed, as the member for Queen's University in the United Kingdom parliament. He was reelected in 1945 and, when university seats were abolished at Westminster in 1950, he was returned for Antrim South. He was returned unopposed in the 1951 election and held the seat until his retirement in 1955. At Westminster he quickly gained a reputation as the most active and articulate Ulster unionist representative. He played a prominent part in parliamentary debates on Irish affairs and was always on hand to challenge any criticism of the northern government. During the war years he constantly attacked the Irish government's neutrality, and after the war he was a strident critic of the Republic of Ireland Act. As well as his parliamentary interventions, he also took on himself the task of responding to any criticism of the Northern Ireland government in British and foreign newspapers, and in 1949 he held a series of public debates on partition with Éamon de Valera (qv). He was secretary to the unionist group at Westminster, 1942–53, and chairman, 1953–5.
Savory also took a keen interest in European affairs, an area where he often showed himself to be much better informed than his parliamentary colleagues. A confirmed francophile, he served (1953–5) as vice-president of the Franco–British parliamentary relations committee. During the war he acted as an interpreter between Gen. de Gaulle and Winston Churchill, and he arranged for de Gaulle to address members of parliament. In 1943 he was asked by the Polish government in exile to investigate the massacre of Polish officers in Katyn Wood. His report, which concluded that the Soviet forces were responsible, was presented to the British and American governments in 1944 but not published until several years after the war. After the war he campaigned on behalf of a number of European minority groups, including Germans in South Tyrol, Danes in South Slesvig, and the inhabitants of Heligoland, who were eventually allowed to return to their island (1952) largely as a result of Savory's campaigning.
Often described as a Pickwickian figure, Savory was a well known house of commons ‘character’ and his frequent interventions on Irish affairs were treated with tolerant amusement by most of his fellow MPs. His pomposity and verbosity attracted the attention of the satirist ‘Myles na Gopaleen’ (Brian O'Nolan (qv)). Many northern nationalists found his strident unionism less amusing and he was frequently portrayed as a sectarian extremist. He was an active member of a number of evangelical organisations, including the Protestant Truth Society, as well as being a lay reader in the Church of Ireland. He was proud of his huguenot ancestry and was president of the London Huguenot Society, 1946–8.
During the course of his academic career, he published translations of works by Charles Nodier and Sainte-Beuve as well as a number of textbooks. He wrote on contemporary affairs for newspapers and journals, and some of his articles were reprinted in pamphlet form. He received a number of French honours: Officier d'Académie (1923), Officier de l'Instruction Publique (1926), Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (1928), and Officier de la Légion d'honneur (1959). He was knighted in 1952.
He married (1918) Madeline, daughter of James H. Clendinning, a solicitor of Lurgan, Co. Armagh; they had no children. Douglas Savory died 5 October 1969, at his home in Belfast. Most of his surviving correspondence and papers are deposited in the PRONI (reference D/3015). Material relating to Poland is held by the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London and huguenot material by QUB, which also holds two portraits of Savory, by Padraic Woods and R. Taylor Carson.