Edric Bastyan

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Lieutenant-General
Sir Edric Bastyan
KCMG, KCVO, KBE, CB
Edric Bastyan.jpg
Sir Edric Bastyan (centre)
20th Governor of Tasmania
In office
2 December 1968 – 30 November 1973
Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Charles Gairdner
Succeeded by Sir Stanley Burbury
25th Governor of South Australia
In office
4 April 1961 – 1 June 1968
Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Robert George
Succeeded by Sir James Harrison
Personal details
Born Edric Montague Bastyan
(1903-04-05)5 April 1903
Seaforth, Lancashire
Died 6 October 1980(1980-10-06) (aged 77)
North Adelaide, South Australia
Spouse(s) Marjorie Dorothy Bowle
Victoria Eugenie Helen Bett
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1923–1960
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands Commander British Forces in Hong Kong
Battles/wars Arab revolt in Palestine
Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches

Lieutenant General Sir Edric Montague Bastyan KCMG, KCVO, KBE, CB (5 April 1903 – 6 October 1980) was a senior officer in the British Army, Governor of South Australia from 4 April 1961 until 1 June 1968 then Governor of Tasmania from 2 December 1968 until 30 November 1973. He was the last British person to be governor of either state.

Military career[edit]

After studies at the Royal Military Academy, Bastyan was commissioned in the Sherwood Foresters on 30 August 1923,[1] and promoted to lieutenant on 30 August 1925.[1] He was promoted to captain in the West Yorkshire Regiment on 4 April 1935[2] and attended the Staff College at Camberley from 1936–1937, transferring to the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1937, and seeing service in Palestine from 1938–1939.[3] Bastyan was promoted to major on 30 August 1940[4]

From November 1939 to June 1941, Bastyan served as a GSO 2 in Palestine with the Royal Irish Fusiliers[3] and was mentioned in despatches in March 1941.[5] He served as assistant quarter-master general in the Middle East from July 1941 to May 1942, subsequently as deputy director of the Higher Commander's Course from May to October of that year.[3] Bastyan was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in September 1942,[6] by which time he was a temporary lieutenant colonel. He was promoted to temporary brigadier the following month and confirmed as a war substantive lieutenant colonel in November 1942. Bastyan served as a temporary brigadier (quartermaster) from then until January 1944, when he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[7] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in August 1944.[8]

In December 1944, Bastyan was appointed an acting major general (Administration, Allied Land Forces, South East Asia).[9] He was promoted to colonel in July 1945,[3] and confirmed as temporary major general in October 1946.[10] After the war, Bastyan served as the general commanding the BAOR until 1948, after which he worked at the War Office through 1952. He was promoted to substantive major general on 26 January 1948, with seniority from 13 April 1946.[11]

During his military career, senior posts held by him included head of logistics during the Berlin airlift (1946–48) and Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong from 1957 to 1960. He retired from the army in 1960 and was appointed Governor of South Australia on 4 April 1961.

Vice-Regal career[edit]

On two occasions during his period as governor in South Australia, the elections did not result in a clear majority. In both 1962 and 1968, rather than make a precipitate decision to select the premier from the party with the largest minority (and more than 50% of the votes), he bided time and waited for parliament to meet. In both cases, the quick decision would have turned out to be wrong, and the South Australian House of Assembly selected the premier from the other party. In 1962, this allowed the Liberal Playford government to continue rather than the Labor Party led by Frank Walsh. In 1968, the Labor government of Don Dunstan lost to the Liberals led by Steele Hall. Without this leadership from the governor, there would likely have been a need for another election much sooner.

Bastyan's term in office in Tasmania was relatively uneventful, though he did have to deal, after the 1969 State election, with a deadlocked House of Assembly where both the ALP and Liberal Party had the same number of seats. The matter was resolved by a single representative of the Centre Party entering into a coalition with the Liberals. Bastyan returned to Adelaide in his retirement.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Stratton
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
1957–1960
Succeeded by
Sir Roderick McLeod
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert George
Governor of South Australia
1961–1968
Succeeded by
Sir James Harrison
Preceded by
Sir Charles Gairdner
Governor of Tasmania
1968–1973
Succeeded by
Sir Stanley Burbury