Early Life and Cricket
Francis Henry Humphrys was born in Shropshire, at Beatrice Street, Oswestry, where his father was assistant master at Oswestry School. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, where he was captain of cricket and head of the school, and Christ Church, Oxford, where he played first-class cricket for Oxford University. His first-class debut came against the touring Australians in 1899. He played 3 further first-class matches in 1900, the last coming against Sussex. In his 4 first-class matches, he took 13 wickets at a bowling average of 19.46, with best figures of 4/16. While at school, and later, he also played Minor Counties Championship cricket for Wiltshire.
After graduating from Oxford in 1900, Humphrys joined the Worcestershire Regiment and served in the Second Boer War. After the war he transferred to the Indian Army, was seconded to the Political Service and spent most of this part of his career in the North-West Frontier Province, although in 1918, towards the end of World War I he returned to Europe and served with a temporary commission in the newly formed Royal Air Force. In 1919 he returned to India, first as a political agent and then, in 1921, as deputy Foreign Secretary in the Government of India.
Following the Anglo-Afghan "Treaty of Kabul" of 22 November 1921, in early 1922 Humphrys was appointed the first British Minister to the Amir of Afghanistan, Amānullāh Khān. In November 1928 a rebellion began in Jalalabad and tribal forces marched on Kabul, and in early 1929 Humphrys supervised the evacuation by air of several hundred Europeans in what became known as the Kabul Airlift. In the House of Commons on 4 February the Foreign Secretary, Austen Chamberlain, commended both Humphrys and his wife for their 'courage and fortitude'. In the King's Birthday Honours of that year Humphrys was given the additional knighthood of KCMG and Lady Humphrys was made DBE.
Later in 1929 Humphrys was appointed to be High Commissioner in the Kingdom of Iraq, then under British administration. Following the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty (1930), which Humphrys signed for the United Kingdom, on 3 October 1932 Iraq became an independent kingdom and Humphrys became the first British Ambassador to Iraq.
In 1935 Humphrys retired from the diplomatic service and was appointed chairman of a Sugar Tribunal which resulted in the creation of the British Sugar Corporation, of which he was chairman from its formation in 1936 until 1949. He was also director of several other companies and was chairman of Iraq Petroleum Company 1941–50.
In 1907 Francis Humphrys married Gertrude Mary Deane, known as "Gertie", elder daughter of Sir Harold Deane, Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province. They had a son and two daughters.
Francis Humphrys was knighted KBE in the King's Birthday Honours of 1924, awarded the additional honours of GCVO in 1928 and KCMG in 1929, and promoted GCMG in the New Year Honours of 1932. Amānullāh Khān made him a member of the Nishan-i-Sardari (Order of the Leader), with the title of Sardar-i-ala, in 1928; the King of Iraq awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Wisam al-Rafidain (Order of the Two Rivers) in 1933.
|Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to His Majesty the Amir of Afghanistan
Sir Richard Maconachie
Sir Henry Dobbs
|High Commissioner for Iraq and Commander-in-Chief therein
Himself, as ambassador
Himself, as High Commissioner
|Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to His Majesty the King of Iraq
Sir Archibald Clark Kerr
- "Extradition Treaty, signed at Bagdad, May 2, 1932, and Exchanges of Notes relating thereto". United Nations Treaty Collection.
- "First-Class Matches played by Francis Humphrys". CricketArchive. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "First-class Bowling For Each Team by Francis Humphrys". CricketArchive. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Minor Counties Championship Matches played by Francis Humphrys". CricketArchive. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- The London Gazette, 4 December 1903
- The London Gazette, 10 January 1919
- Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1921, Encyclopædia Iranica, 2011
- The London Gazette, 7 February 1922
- "Representatives of the Government of India and the British Government in Afghanistan, c.1856-1947". British Library. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- Back from Kabul – Sir F. Humphrys In India, The Times, London, 26 February 1929, page 16
- Hansard, 4 February 1929
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 June 1929
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 June 1929
- The London Gazette, 29 November 1929
- "Iraq - Initial Contacts with the British". The British Empire - where the Sun never sets.
- The London Gazette, 6 December 1932
- Sugar Tribunal – Advice On Schemes of Amalgamation, The Times, London, 1 October 1935
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 June 1924
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 January 1932
- Francis Humphrys at CricketArchive
- HUMPHRYS, Lt-Col Sir Francis Henry, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
- Peter Sluglett, Humphrys, Sir Francis Henry (1879–1971), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, online edn, May 2006
- Sir Francis Humphrys – Distinguished career in Afghanistan and Iraq, The Times, London, 1 September 1971, page 14