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Frederic Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Chelmsford
GCMG GCIE GBE PC
Viceroy and Governor-General of India
In office
4 April 1916 – 2 April 1921
Monarch George V
Preceded by The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
Succeeded by The Earl of Reading
22nd Governor of New South Wales
In office
28 May 1909 – 11 March 1913
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Lieutenant Sir Frederick Darley
Sir William Cullen
Preceded by Sir Harry Rawson
Succeeded by Gerald Strickland
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
28 January 1924 – 7 November 1924
Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald
Preceded by Leo Amery
Succeeded by William Bridgeman
Personal details
Born (1868-08-12)12 August 1868
London, United Kingdom
Died 1 April 1933(1933-04-01) (aged 64)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Frances Charlotte Guest
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Profession Politician and Colonial Administrator
Religion Church of England

Frederic John Napier Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, GCMG GCIE GBE PC (12 August 1868 – 1 April 1933) was a British statesman who served as Governor of Queensland from 1905 to 1909, Governor of New South Wales from 1909 to 1913, and Viceroy of India from 1916 to 1921, where he was responsible for the creation of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. After serving a short time as First Lord of the Admiralty in the government of Ramsay MacDonald, he was appointed the Agent-General for New South Wales by the government of Jack Lang before his retirement.[1]

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Governor of Queensland 2
  • Governor of New South Wales 3
  • Viceroy of India 4
  • Later life and legacy 5
  • Family 6
  • Titles, styles and honours 7
    • Titles 7.1
    • Honours 7.2
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Thesiger was born on 12 August 1868 in London, England, the son of the 2nd Baron Chelmsford and Adria Heath. He was educated at Winchester College and progressed in 1887 to Magdalen College, Oxford. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours in law in 1891 and further gained a master's degree (MA) in 1894. Thesiger was also elected as a fellow of All Souls College (1892–1899).[1] In 1893 he was called to the Bar of the Inner Temple to practice law. He joined the army as a Captain in the Dorset Regiment, 4th Battalion.[2]

A keen cricketer, he Captained the London County Council between 1904 and 1905 and again as an alderman from 1913 and 1919.[2][3]

Governor of Queensland

Chelmsford as Governor of Queensland in 1907.

On 9 April 1905, he succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron Chelmsford of Chelmsford upon his father's death and in July 1905 accepted his appointment as the

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Chermside
Governor of Queensland
1905 – 1909
Succeeded by
Sir William MacGregor
Preceded by
Sir Harry Rawson
Governor of New South Wales
1909 – 1913
Succeeded by
Sir Gerald Strickland
Preceded by
The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
Viceroy of India
1916 – 1921
Succeeded by
The Earl of Reading
Political offices
Preceded by
Leopold Stennett Amery
First Lord of the Admiralty
1924
Succeeded by
William Clive Bridgeman
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Cocks
Agent-General for New South Wales
1926 – 1928
Succeeded by
Sir George Fuller
Academic offices
Preceded by
Francis William Pember
Warden of All Souls College, Oxford
1932–1933
Succeeded by
William George Stewart Adams
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frederic Thesiger
Baron Chelmsford
1905 – 1933
Succeeded by
Andrew Thesiger
New creation Viscount Chelmsford
1921 – 1933
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Chelmsford

External links

  • Gandhi film – Lord Chelmsford scene on YouTube
  1. ^ a b c d e "Chelmsford, third Baron (1868–1933)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Lundy, Darryl. "Frederick John Napier Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  3. ^ London County Council, First Meeting Of The New Body, The Times, 14 March 1913, p. 5
  4. ^ a b c d e Clune, David; Turner, Ken (2009). The Governors of New South Wales: 1788–2010. Sydney: Federation Press. pg 473–495. 
  5. ^ Despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 28 September 1910, CO 418/80.
  6. ^ Governors and Governors-General of Australia, retrieved 21 April 2009 
  7. ^ "History Of Lodge Chelmsford 261". Lodge Chelmsford No 261. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29492. p. 2207. 29 February 1916. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29502. p. 2578. 3 March 1916. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  10. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 30413. p. 12680. 4 December 1917. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32360. p. 4823. 15 June 1921. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32966. p. 770. 23 January 1924. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32924. p. 2795. 1 April 1924. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32835. p. 4273. 15 August 1924. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32981. p. 7234. 9 October 1924. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  16. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 1926
  17. ^ Salter, H. E. and Lobel, Mary D., ed. (1954). "All Souls College". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford.  
  18. ^ Famous &/or Notable Australian Freemasons
  19. ^ "Casualty Details – Thesiger, The Hon. Frederick Ivor". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "LORD CHELMSFORD". The Brisbane Courier 4 April 1933 pg 12. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  21. ^ "Lady Chelmsford – History". The Showboat Cruising Restaurant, MV Lady Chelmsford. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 

References

Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) 1916
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) 1912
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) 1906
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) 1916
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) 1917[10]
Knight of Justice of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ) 1929
King George V Coronation Medal 1911

Honours

  • 12 August 1868 – 1893: The Honourable Frederic Thesiger
  • 1893 – 1905: Captain The Honourable Frederic Thesiger
  • 1905: The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford
  • 1905 – 1906: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford, Governor of Queensland
  • 1906 – 1909: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford KCMG, Governor of Queensland
  • 1909 – 1912: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford KCMG, Governor of New South Wales
  • 1912 – 1913: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford GCMG, Governor of New South Wales
  • 1913 – 1916: The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford GCMG
  • 1916 – 1917: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC, Viceroy of India
  • 1917 – 1921: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC, Viceroy of India
  • 1921 – 1924: The Right Honourable The Viscount Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC
  • 1924: The Right Honourable The Viscount Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC, First Lord of the Admiralty
  • 1924 – 1926: The Right Honourable The Viscount Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC
  • 1926 – 1928: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Viscount Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC, Agent-General for New South Wales
  • 1928 – 1 April 1933: The Right Honourable The Viscount Chelmsford GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GBE, PC

Titles

Viceregal styles of
The Viscount Chelmsford
Reference style His Excellency The Right Honourable
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Sir

Titles, styles and honours

In their honour, the NSW Government launched a new ferry, to be known as the Lady Chelmsford in 1910 as a Sydney Harbour Ferry. The Lady Chelmsford continued working the harbour until 1971 when she was sold. In Melbourne she operated as a cruising restaurant before being taken out of service and sold in 2005. Again becoming a restaurant, she sank at her moorings in February 2008 and after a protracted battle over insurance, the ship was deemed unsalvageable and broken up underwater in mid-2011.[21]

Lady Chelmsford was made a Dame Grand Cross, Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1917 and was also invested with the Imperial Order of the Crown of India (CI). Lord Chelmsford died of coronary vascular disease on 1 April 1933, aged 64. He was survived by his younger son and four daughters. His eldest son, Second Lieutenant Frederic Ivor Thesiger of the 87th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, had been killed in action in Mesopotamia in 1917.[19] On his death the Brisbane Courier noted that "the whole Empire suffers the loss of a man who, above all things, desired to be a true servant of the people."[20] He was the first cousin of the actor Ernest Thesiger. In the 1982 film Gandhi, the role of Chelmsford was played by Sir John Mills.

  • Hon. Joan Frances Vere Thesiger (1 August 1895 – 15 May 1971), married Sir Alan Lascelles in 1920.
  • Lt. Hon. Frederic Ivor Thesiger (17 October 1896 – 1 May 1917)
  • Hon. Anne Molyneux Thesiger (17 December 1898 – 10 August 1973), married Donough O'Brien, 16th Baron Inchiquin in 1921.
  • Hon. Bridget Mary Thesiger (7 August 1900–date of death unknown)
  • Andrew Charles Gerald Thesiger, 2nd Viscount Chelmsford (25 July 1903 – 27 September 1970)
  • Hon. Margaret St. Clair Sidney Thesiger (7 May 1911–date of death unknown)

Lord Chelmsford married Frances Charlotte Guest (22 March 1869 – 24 September 1957), daughter of Hanover Square, London. They had six children:

Family

He was a long-standing Freemason, and served as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.[18]

He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Law by Birmingham University in 1927, an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Magdalen College, Oxford University in 1929 and as a Knight of Justice of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ).[2] As a fellow of All Souls, Chelmsford became Warden of the College in 1932.[17]

In 1926 Chelmsford was appointed as Agent-General for New South Wales in London. The reasoning for this was that during state Attorney-General Edward McTiernan's visit to London to put the Government's case over its disputes with Governor Dudley de Chair's opposition over the abolition of the Legislative Council the Government needed an influential representative in London and Labor Premier, Jack Lang, explained that "it was absolutely necessary that the State should be represented by a gentleman who would be in close touch with the London financial market".[16] He served until 1928.[1]

[2] Chelmsford was chairman of the Miners' Welfare Committee under the Mining Industry Act of 1920 and of the royal commission on mining subsidence in 1923–24. After the fall of the government in November 1924, he retired from political life.[15][14][13] three times on 1 April 15 August 1924 and 9 October 1924.Lord High Admiral He was appointed as a Commissioner exercising the office of [12] In 1924, despite being a lifelong

Chelmsford as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Later life and legacy

His time as Viceroy was marked with consistent calls for self-government, which Chelmsford agreed to, convincing a preoccupied Foreign Office to send the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Samuel Montagu, to discuss the potential for reform. Together they oversaw the implementation of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, which gave greater authority to local Indian representative bodies and paved the way for a free India. Trying to tread a fine line between reform and maintaining the British hold over India, Chelmsford passed repressive anti-terrorism laws to widespread opposition from Indian reformists. The laws sparked unrest in the Punjab, culminating in the implementation of martial law in the region and the Amritsar Massacre by General Reginald Dyer on 13 April 1919. Initially supportive of Dyer and slow to respond to the massacre, following a ruling condemning Dyers actions, Chelmsford eventually disciplined Dyer. This was however, seen by Indian Nationalists as too little, too late and the Indian National Congress boycotted the first regional elections in 1920. In addition to this, the Third Anglo-Afghan War broke out and Gandhi started his first campaign. On his return to Britain on 15 June 1921, he was elevated to Viscount as 1st Viscount Chelmsford of Chelmsford, County of Essex.[11]

Upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 he rejoined his regiment and was posted to India. On 29 February 1916 he was appointed to the Privy Council (PC).[8] Rising quickly, he was appointed Viceroy in March 1916, succeeding Lord Hardinge.[9] As Viceroy he was invested as Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) and a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) in 1916 and was also Grand Master of the orders.[2] He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) on 4 December 1917.[10]

Viceroy of India

[1] His term expired and Chelmsford returned to England in March 1913.[2] Despite the crisis having been averted, Chelmsford returned to face increasing problems over the balance of power in the appointed

Governor and Lady Chelmsford in 1910.

From April to November 1911, Chelsmford was back in England on overseas leave, thereby avoiding a major political crisis in New South Wales. In July 1911, two Labor Members of the Legislative Assembly resigned in protest over land reforms, thereby leaving McGowen's government in a minority in the assembly. Holman, who had stepped in as acting-Premier following McGowen also taking leave (Both Chelmsford and McGowen were attending the coronation of Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, Sir William Cullen, to prorogue the Parliament until the by-elections were held. Cullen declined on the basis that there was no need for him to act as the Government still had the confidence of the House and that the Governor had no discretion in the matter. Holman rejected this and, when Parliament resumed, resigned along with his Ministry and the Speaker. Holman further refused to advise Cullen to ask the Leader of the Opposition, Wade, to form a Government. Cullen did so nonetheless. Wade was wary, aware that if he accepted he too would be in a minority. Wade told Cullen that he would only accept if he was granted a dissolution. Cullen did not accept that condition and Wade refused to accept the commission. Cullen then had no choice but to recommission Holman and grant him a dissolution. Holman held onto Government tenuously as one seat was lost the by-elections. He therefore asked a member of the Opposition Liberals, Henry Willis, to take the Chair as Speaker.[4]

In May 1909 Chelmsford accepted the appointment as Governor of New South Wales and was sworn in at Government House on 28 May 1909. Unlike in Queensland, his term was comparably stable and was distinguished by good relations with the state government. At the start of his term, Charles Wade, of the Commonwealth Liberal Party, was the Premier. However, following the 1910 election, Wade's Liberals were defeated and the Labor Party under James McGowen was sworn in as the state's first Labor Government. Despite his conservative background, Chelmsford was able to get along well with the Labor Government. Chelmsford became friends with the Attorney General, William Holman, with whom they shared a love of music and as a competent Viola player, Chelmsford encouraged chamber concerts at Government House. He said of the government: "I have never had a body of Ministers with whom it has been a greater pleasure to work. They are quiet, unassuming and industrious, and have won the goodwill and loyalty of their departments."[5] From 21 December 1909 to 27 January 1910 Chelmsford acted as Administrator of the Commonwealth when the Governor-General of Australia, The Earl of Dudley was on leave.[6]

Governor of New South Wales

Kidston was returned to office in the 1908 election. The new assembly passed a motion criticising Chelmsford's action and there was widespread speculation that he would be recalled. However, nothing came of this. Despite the admission that their representative had been mistaken in granting a dissolution, the Colonial Office and the British government remained in his favour. Chelmsford's term expired just after Kidston resigned from the Labor Government and formed a coalition with Philp's Conservatives.[4]

Following the 1907 election, William Kidston, who had founded his own party, became Premier of Queensland with Labor support. The legislative council, then being an appointed chamber, then refused Kidston's legislative programs on electoral reforms and wage-fixing.[4] Kidston then made a request to Chelmsford to appoint enough members to the Council in order to get his legislation through. Chelsmford refused, on the grounds that he did not have a sufficient mandate from the people to make such demands. Kidston resigned in protest and Chelmsford commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Robert Philp, who formed a ministry, which was promptly defeated in the assembly. Chelmsford then granted Philp a dissolution, though the parliament was only six months old. Because Supply was denied by Kidston, Chelmsford stepped in and used the reserve powers to ensure that supply was passed until the election.[4]

[1] and the emergence of three evenly divided parties in the lower house.Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council His term was dominated by conflict between the [2]

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