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Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet

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Title: Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae, Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe, John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, HMNZS Moa (T233), XVII Corps (United Kingdom)
Collection: 1865 Births, 1951 Deaths, Baronets in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia, British Army Generals of World War I, British Army Personnel of the Mahdist War, Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, Governors-General of New Zealand, Graduates of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Lord-Lieutenants of Ayrshire, Members of the Royal Victorian Order, New Zealand Freemasons, New Zealand People of Scottish Descent, People Educated at Eton College
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet

Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Bt
Formal head and shoulders portrait of a man in his early 60s.
Sir Charles Fergusson, circa 1926
3rd Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
13 December 1924 – 8 February 1930
Monarch George V
Preceded by The Viscount Jellicoe
Succeeded by The Lord Bledisloe
Personal details
Born (1865-01-17)17 January 1865
Died 20 February 1951(1951-02-20) (aged 86)
Maybole, Ayrshire
Nationality British
Children Bernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1883–1922
Rank General
Commands 5th Division
9th (Scottish) Division
II Corps
XVII Corps
Battles/wars Mahdist War
First World War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Member of the Royal Victorian Order

GCMG, DSOMVO (17 January 1865 – 20 February 1951) was a British Army officer and the third Governor-General of New Zealand.


  • Early life and military career 1
  • Governor-General of New Zealand 2
  • Marriage & Family 3
  • Freemasonry 4
  • Later life 5
  • Arms 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and military career

Charles was the son of Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet, the 6th Governor of New Zealand. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, before joining the Grenadier Guards in 1883.[1] He served in Sudan from 1896 to 1898, becoming Commanding Officer of the 15th Sudanese Regiment in 1899 and Commander of the Omdurman District in 1900.[1] He was made Adjutant General of the Egyptian Army 1901 and Commanding Officer of 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards in 1904 before becoming a Brigadier-General on the staff of the Irish Command in 1907.[1] He was appointed Inspector of Infantry in 1909 and General Officer Commanding 5th Division in Ireland in 1913 – in this capacity he played a key role during the Curragh incident, ensuring his officers obeyed orders.[2] He took the 5th Division to France in August 1914 at the start of the First World War[2] and then briefly took command of 9th (Scottish) Division from October to December 1914.[3] He commanded II Corps from January 1915 and then, from May 1916, XVII Corps corps which he led until the end of the war.[2]

After the war he was a Military Governor of Cologne before he retired in 1922.[1]

Governor-General of New Zealand

After an unsuccessful attempt to enter Parliament through the South Ayrshire constituency in the 1923 general election,[4] the next year Fergusson was appointed Governor General of New Zealand and served until 1930.[1] His father, Sir James Fergusson, had previously served as a Governor of New Zealand, and his son Bernard Ballantrae was the tenth and last British-appointed Governor-General.

On 20 June 1929 Fergusson was involved in a railway accident, following the 1929 Murchison earthquake. Attached to the rear of a train leaving the National Dairy Show at Palmerston North with 200 passengers on board, the Viceregal carriage contained the Governor-General and his wife and other members of the Viceregal party. The train hit a slip between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, with the locomotive falling down a steep bank and injuring the driver. The first three carriages of the train also left the rails, but the Viceregal carriage remained on the tracks, and Fergusson and his party suffered only minor cuts and bruises.[5]

Marriage & Family

Sir Charles married Lady Alice Mary Boyle on 18 July 1901. She was a daughter of David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow. They had five children:[6]

  • Helen Dorothea Fergusson (born 15 October 1902)
  • Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran, 8th Bt (born 18 September 1904, died 25 October 1973)
  • The Reverend Simon Charles David Fergusson (born 5 June 1907, died 1982)
  • GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE (born 6 May 1911, died 28 November 1980)
  • Charles Fergusson (born 16 January 1917, died 22 January 1917)


Fergusson was a Freemason. During his term as Governor-General (1925-1928), he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.[7]

Later life

After his term in New Zealand, he became chairman of the West Indies Closer Union Commission and was Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire from 1937 until his death on 20 February 1951.


Arms of Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet
The arms of Charles Fergusson consist of:
A bee on a thistle Proper.
Azure, a buckle Argent between three boars’ heads couped Or.
“Dulcius ex asperis”, All the sweeter for having undergone bitterness, 2 (on compartment) “Ut prosim aliis”, May I profit others.


  1. ^ a b c d e Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ a b c Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Army Commands
  4. ^  
  5. ^  
  6. ^ The Peerage, entry for Lady Alice Boyle
  7. ^ Vice Regal Grand Masters - Who and Why?

External links

  • Official biography
Military offices
Preceded by
William Campbell
General Officer Commanding the 5th Division
Succeeded by
Thomas Morland
Preceded by
Colin Mackenzie
General Officer Commanding the 9th (Scottish) Division
October 1914 – December 1914
Succeeded by
Herman Landon
Preceded by
Horace Smith-Dorrien
GOC II Corps
January 1915 – May 1916
Succeeded by
Claud Jacob
Preceded by
Julian Byng
May 1916 – November 1918
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded
Government offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Jellicoe
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Viscount Bledisloe
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Ailsa
Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Hughes-Onslow
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
James Fergusson
(of Kilkerran)
Succeeded by
James Fergusson
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