Edward Youde

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The Honourable
Sir Edward Youde
26th Governor of Hong Kong
In office
20 May 1982 – 4 December 1986
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Lord MacLehose of Beoch
Succeeded by Lord Wilson of Tillyorn
Ambassador from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China
In office
29 August 1974 – 15 June 1978
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir John Addis
Succeeded by Sir Percy Cradock
Personal details
Born (1924-06-19)19 June 1924
Penarth, Wales
Died 4 December 1986(1986-12-04) (aged 62)
Beijing, China
Alma mater University of London
Profession Diplomat, sinologist, colonial administrator
A uniform of Sir Edward Youde

Sir Edward Youde (Chinese: 尤德) GCMG GCVO MBE (19 June 1924 – 5 December 1986) was a British administrator, diplomat and Sinologist. He served as Governor of Hong Kong between 20 May 1982 and 5 December 1986.

Early years[edit]

Youde was born in Penarth, Wales, in the United Kingdom and attended the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

In 1949, Youde was serving on the frigate HMS Amethyst amidst the Chinese Civil War when it came under attack by People's Liberation Army forces. The frigate was heavily damaged by artillery fire and became stranded in the Yangtze River. Using his skills in Mandarin, Youde negotiated with the PLA commander to secure the release of the Amethyst. Following the Amethyst '​s escape from enemy territory, Youde was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his actions.


Youde is mainly remembered as the Governor during whose time in office the Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong was signed in Peking in 1984. This, amongst other things, made it clear that the British would leave Hong Kong in 1997 after 156 years of colonial rule.

Youde, Hong Kong's only Welsh Governor, was widely liked for his pleasant, kindly demeanour and greatly admired for his formidable erudition. He was widely respected by the Chinese population of Hong Kong.[citation needed]

The idea of setting up a secondary school to develop students' potential in sport and the visual arts together with a normal academic syllabus was first mooted by Sir Edward Youde. Based upon this idea, the Jockey Club Ti-I College was founded in 1989.

Death and funeral[edit]

During a visit to Beijing, Sir Edward suffered a fatal heart attack in the British Embassy in the early morning of 5 December 1986, while he was sleeping. He was the only Governor of Hong Kong to have died in office and many thousands lined the streets for his "state" funeral, which was conducted with the highest military honours in 1986. Sir Edward Youde was cremated, and his ashes buried at Canterbury Cathedral, England, where a memorial plaque to him was installed in the nave.

Remembrance and legacy[edit]

A fund, known as the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund, was created from public contributions upon the recommendation of the Legislative Council. The fund is currently administered by the HKSAR Government and offers a number of scholarships and sponsorship schemes aimed at encouraging and promoting the education of and research by Hong Kong people. To be eligible for the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund candidates must be proficient in English and Chinese and also have a good mastery of the language in which their studies will be undertaken.

The Edward Youde Aviary in Hong Kong Park was named after him in 1992 and the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Hong Kong was named after his wife.

A plaque to his memory was commissioned by the Hong Kong Civil Service and placed on the wall of St John's Cathedral, in the Central District of Hong Kong.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Addis
British Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
Succeeded by
Sir Percy Cradock
Preceded by
Lord MacLehose of Beoch
Governor of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir David Akers-Jones
President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong