Cecil Hamilton Armitage

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Sir Cecil Hamilton Armitage
Sir Cecil Hamilton Armitage.jpg
Armitage in 1930.
Governor of the Gambia
In office
3 January 1921 – 10 March 1927
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byHerbert Henniker-Heaton (Acting)
Succeeded byJohn Middleton
Personal details
Born8 October 1869
Died10 March 1933(1933-03-10) (aged 63)

Sir Cecil Hamilton Armitage KBE CMG DSO (8 October 1869 – 10 March 1933) was a British colonial officer who served as Governor of the Gambia from 1920 to 1927. He established the Armitage School and the Gambia Department of Agriculture.[1][2]

Military career[edit]

Armitage was an officer with the 3rd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. In April 1894, he sailed from Liverpool to Accra, having been seconded from his regiment to serve with the Hausa Constabulary on the Gold Coast. He held the rank of Captain at the time and served in the Anglo-Ashanti wars under Sir Francis Scott from 1895 to 1896. Afterwards, he was dispatched to survey a trade route from Geji to Gambaga, in the north of the Gold Coast. Upon arriving in Gambaga county, he offered the protection of the United Kingdom to the local chief at Tamale. However, that evening, the chief and the residents deserted the village, leaving Armitage and his police officers under siege in Tamale for a week.[3]

Colonial career[edit]

In 1899, Armitage became the private secretary to Sir Frederick Hodgson, then the Governor of the Gold Coast. He accompanied Hodgson during the Siege of Kumasi from April to June 1900, when he was Acting Resident. When the British forces were able to break out of Kumasi, Armitage led the advance force. Armitage later became Commissioner in Ashanti, and in 1910 he was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Northern Territories, a position he held until 1920. That year, he became Governor of the Gambia, succeeding Sir Edward Cameron.[3]

As Governor, Armitage founded the Gambia Agricultural Department in 1924, and also the Armitage School in 1927. Upon his retirement in 1927, Armitage commented to the Western Morning News: "I feel very much the severance of the association of almost a lifetime. I have always been absorbed in my official duties in Africa, and now the time has come when I come home, probably for the last time."[3]


Armitage is commemorated in the scientific name of a species of West African lizard, Chalcides armitagei.[4]


  • The Ashanti Campaign of 1900. London: Sands & Co. 1901.
  • The Tribal Markings and Marks of Adornment of the Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast Colony. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 1924.


  1. ^ Arnold Hughes; David Perfect (2008). Historical Dictionary of the Gambia. Scarecrow Press. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-0-8108-6260-9.
  2. ^ David Owusu-Ansah (2014). Historical Dictionary of Ghana. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8108-7500-5.
  3. ^ a b c "Change in Gambia: Retiring Governor at Plymouth". Western Morning News. 14 February 1927. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Armitage", p. 11).

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Governor of The Gambia
Succeeded by