Colin Buist was born 10 April 1896, the son of Colonel Frederick Braid Buist. In 1928 he married Gladys Mary, daughter of Sir William Nelson. Buist was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth.
Buist served in the First World War. He served on HMS Princess Royal and took part in the Battle of Dogger Bank (when the German 'Bleucher' was sunk) and then on HMS Southampton, which was involved in the Battle of Jutland. Buist later described the battle as "a ghastly massacre ..[and] 'a chapter of errors'". He also served in the Second World War. From 1937-1952 he was an Extra Equerry to King George VI, then from 1952 to Queen Elizabeth II.
Buist died 19 May 1981.
The small collection of papers held at Churchill Archives Centre relate to naval operations in the First World Wart, Buist's service on HMS Princess Royal and to the 1916 Battle of Jutland. Jutland was the main naval battle of World War, between the British Grand Fleet under Admiral Jellicoe and the German High Seas Fleet under Admiral Scheer. British losses were heavier than German: the British lost three battle cruisers, three cruisers and eight destroyers; the Germans lost one battleship, one battle cruiser, four cruisers and five destroyers. However, the Germans could not afford to repeat such a rate of loss, and remained in harbour for the rest of the war, so the battle is usually regarded as a British victory.
The collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre between 1967 and 1982 by Commander Buist and his sister.
The collection is owned by Churchill College.