Charles Alexander Innes

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Sir Charles Innes
Charles Alexander Innes.jpg
Governor of Burma
In office
20 December 1927 – 20 December 1932
Preceded by Harcourt Butler
Succeeded by Hugh Landsdowne Stephenson
Personal details
Born 27 October 1874
Secunderabad, Hyderabad
Died 28 June 1959(1959-06-28) (aged 84)
Tonbridge, Kent, England
Nationality British
Occupation Administrator

Sir Charles Alexander Innes KCSI CIE (27 October 1874 – 28 June 1959) was a British civil servant and colonial administrator who served as Governor of the British Crown Colony of Burma from December 1927 to December 1932. He was also formerly chairman of the Mercantile Bank of India.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Innes was born in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, to Deputy Surgeon-General Charles Alexander Innes, and Jessie Mary Arnold (née Marshall). His mother was born in Madras to General Hubert Marshall of the old Madras Army. Innes Jr. was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and St. John's College, Oxford. He passed the Indian Civil Service examination in 1897.[1]


Innes was sent to the Madras Presidency because of his family connections. He worked as a settlement officer in Malabar, where he helped provide material for The Imperial Gazetteer of India, and worked as a deputy secretary to the Government of India. In 1916, he was appointed Director of Industries and Controller of Munitions in Madras. Following the war, he was made Foodstuffs Commissioner with the Government of India. He was appointed secretary in the Commerce Department in 1920, which also oversaw railways.[1]

Innes became head of the Commerce Department in 1921. His tenure was noted for two achievements: separating the railway budget from general finance budget, and forming the policy of "discriminating protection," which gave India more independence over fiscal policy. He was also credited with forming a Tariff Board to make inquiries, which provided significant help to the burgeoning iron and steel industry in India, which provided significant and essential aid to the allies in the World War II.[1]

In December 1927, Innes became Governor of Burma, succeeding Sir Harcourt Butler, serving until 1932.[1]

In 1933, he joined the board of the Mercantile Bank of India in 1933 and served as chairman of the bank from 1938 to 1952. He was also chairman of Mysore Gold Mining company and was on the board of the Oriental Telephone and Electricity Company.[1]


He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in the 1919 Birthday Honours, for meritorious services connected with the war,[2] and a Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI) in the 1921 Birthday Honours.[3] He was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in the 1924 New Year Honours.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1900, Innes married Agatha Rosalie (née Stevenson), daughter of Colonel Kenlie Stevenson of the Indian Army. They had one daughter and four sons. She was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal in 1933 and died in 1956. Sir Charles was descended from the Inneses of Drainie.[5] His father was Deputy Surgeon-General Charles Alexander Innes (1831-1920).[6]

His paternal grandfather, Alexander Innes (1792-1875), was a career soldier, who as a young officer with the 42nd Highlanders fought at the Battle of Waterloo (and was one of several Inneses to have been present at the battle)[7] in his retirement, Alexander Innes was a member of the Military Knights of Windsor.[8][9]

The line has multiple descendants extant. Sir Charles' own sons continued the tradition of service. On the distaff side, his daughter, Rosalie, married Thomas Wynford Rees (1888-1959), who served as Sir Charles' private secretary while Innes was Governor of Burma (1927-1932). Rees was a highly decorated officer in the British Indian Army, who would eventually attain the rank of Major General. Together, Thomas Wynford Rees and Rosalie Innes had one son, Peter Wynford Innes Rees, Baron Rees (1926-2008), a prominent lawyer and Conservative Member of Parliament.[10]

James Innes, English entrepreneur and author, born James Anthony Seymour Elkins, is the son of Donald Anthony Elkins and Elisabeth Daphne Elkins (née Innes). According to his public profile James Innes "changed his name via deed poll to his mother's maiden name in his late teens, also adopting the popular clan Innes name of Alexander in place of his middle name Anthony". His biography identifies Sir Charles as his maternal great-grandfather.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Obituary: Sir Charles Innes". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 30 June 1959. p. 12. 
  2. ^ "No. 31379". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 May 1919. p. 7049. 
  3. ^ "No. 32346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1921. p. 4533. 
  4. ^ "No. 32893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1924. p. 4. 
  5. ^ "Personal papers of Sir Thomas Innes of Learney". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Wikitree: Charles Alexander Innes profile,; accessed 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ Wikitree: Alexander Innes,; accessed 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ The Military Knights of Windsor; accessed 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ Wikitree: photograph of Alexander Innes in the uniform of the Military Knights of Windsor; accessed 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2005-2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 947. ISBN 9780199671540. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler
Governor of British Crown Colony of Burma
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Landsdowne Stephenson