Andrew Bonaparte-Wyse

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Andrew Reginald Nicholas Gerald Bonaparte-Wyse, CBE, CB, SMOM (1 November 1870 — 1 June 1940) was a British civil servant and for many years the sole Roman Catholic in the Northern Ireland administration to rise to the rank of Permanent Secretary.

He was the grandson of Sir Thomas Wyse, a Member of Parliament and educational reformer, and great-grandson of Lucien Bonaparte. His father, William Charles Bonaparte-Wyse, was a poet who wrote in Provençal, was a friend of Mistral, and became the only foreign member of the consistory of the Félibrige, the Provençal cultural association.

Born in Limerick and educated at Downside School, Bonaparte-Wyse graduated from the University of London as Bachelor of Arts in French, and as Master of Arts in Classics. After teaching for some time near Chester, in 1895 he was appointed an inspector of national schools in Ireland. In 1897, he went to France and Belgium to assist an inquiry into the primary school curriculum. In 1905, he was appointed to the central office of the Commissioners of National Education, and a decade later was appointed junior secretary, the second-ranking officer in the department. Described by the historian Joseph Lee as a "hardline Unionist", Bonaparte-Wyse remarked on the change of attitude in Dublin following the Easter Rising of 1916: "there is a very menacing tone among the lower classes who openly praise the Sinn Féiners for their courage and bravery".[1]

Following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, Bonaparte-Wyse transferred to the Northern Ireland Ministry of Education; he commuted to Belfast weekly from his home in Blackrock, County Dublin. In 1927 he was appointed Permanent Secretary, the only Roman Catholic at that grade in the service, and the last before the appointment of Patrick Shea in 1969. Bonaparte-Wyse later became a civil service commissioner for Northern Ireland before retiring in 1939.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Bonaparte-Wyse was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Knight of Malta, a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and a Companion of the Order of the Bath. In 1896 he married Mariya de Chripunov, the daughter of a Russian aristocrat; the couple had had three children, two daughters and a son, who served in the Free French Navy during the Second World War.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Andrew Bonaparte-Wyse died in a nursing home in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, in 1940, aged 69.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Lee, Ireland, 1912–1985: Politics and Society. (Cambridge University Press, 1989), page 32.