Dudley de Chair
Sir Dudley de Chair
KCB, KCMG, MVO
|25th Governor of New South Wales|
28 February 1924 – 9 April 1930
|Lieutenant||Sir William Cullen|
Sir Philip Street
|Preceded by||Sir Walter Davidson|
|Succeeded by||Sir Phillip Game|
|Born||Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair|
30 August 1864
Lennoxville, Province of Canada
|Died||17 August 1958 (aged 93)|
|Years of service||1878–1923|
|Commands||Coastguard and Reserves|
Third Battle Squadron
10th Cruiser Squadron
Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty
First World War
Early life and career
De Chair was born on 30 August 1864 in Lennoxville, Province of Canada, the son of Dudley Raikes de Chair and Frances Emily Rawson, the sister of Harry Rawson (whom he later succeeded as Governor of New South Wales). The de Chair family was of huguenot descent and could trace their ancestry to Jean de Chaire, who was ennobled as a marquis by Henry IV of France. In 1870, de Chair moved with his family to England and joined the Royal Navy in 1878 aged 14, being first stationed as a cadet aboard HMS Britannia.
After becoming a midshipman in 1880, de Chair was posted aboard the HMS Alexandra, the flagship of the British Mediterranean Fleet and took part in the bombardment of Alexandria during the Anglo-Egyptian War in 1882. De Chair had volunteered to carry despatches to a desert fort during the bombardment but was taken prisoner and presented before the revolutionary leader Ahmed ‘Urabi, but managed to engineer a daring escape that gained significant publicity back home in England. He was promoted to commander on 22 July 1897, and to captain on 26 June 1902. De Chair married Enid Struben on 21 April 1903 in Torwood, Devon, and together they had three children, Henry, Elaine and Somerset. Following the King Edward VII's visit to the Russian Empire, de Chair was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) on 10 June 1908 for his role in the visit as commander of HMS Cochrane.
De Chair was promoted to Assistant Controller of the Navy in 1910 and served as Secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty in 1912. On 6 March 1911, de Chair was appointed a Naval aide-de-camp (ADC) to King George V. He relinquished the appointment on 31 July 1912, having been promoted to flag rank on that day. He served in the First World War as Commander of the 10th Cruiser Squadron from 1914 and, having been promoted to rear admiral on 31 July 1912, became Naval Adviser to the Foreign Office on Blockade Affairs in 1916. In the 1914 King's Birthday Honours, he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
In April-May 1917 he was a member of the Balfour Mission, intended to promote cooperation between the US and UK during World War I, and went on to be Commander of the 3rd Battle Squadron later in 1917. A good friend of the First Sea Lord, Sir John Jellicoe, de Chair was personally affronted by the act and manner of Jellicoe's dismissal from that office in December 1917. De Chair later recalled in his memoirs that he unloaded his frustrations and offence at the matter onto Jellicoe's successor, Sir Rosslyn Wemyss and found himself outside of preferment for advancement as a result. Moved sideways to the much less prestigious position of Admiral Commanding, Coastguard and Reserves in July 1918, de Chair became President of the Inter-allied Commission on Enemy Warships in 1921 before retiring in 1923.
Governor of New South Wales
De Chair had been interested in serving in a viceregal role as early as 1922, when he put his name forward to the Colonial Office for the position of Governor of South Australia. This position however, went to Sir Tom Bridges instead and the First Lord of the Admiralty, Leo Amery, put de Chair's name forward for the Governor of New South Wales. This position, which had been vacant since the death of Sir Walter Davidson in September 1923, was the same one his uncle, Sir Harry Rawson, had held twenty years earlier, and to which he was appointed on 8 November 1923.
Arriving in Sydney on 28 February 1924, de Chair became governor in relatively calm political times and was warmly received in the city with great fanfare. On de Chair's appointment, the President of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Aubrey Halloran, compared Admiral de Chair to the first Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip: "Our new Governor's reputation as an intrepid sailor and ruler of men evokes from us a hearty welcome and inspires us to place in him the same confidence that [Arthur] Phillip received from his gallant band of fellow-sailors and the English statesmen who sent him."
The political makeup of the state changed not long after his arrival however, when the conservative Nationalist/Progressive coalition government of Sir George Fuller, whom de Chair had got on well with, was defeated at the May 1925 state election by the Labor Party under Jack Lang. De Chair noted to himself that Lang and his party's position comprised "radical and far-reaching legislation, which had not been foreshadowed in their election speeches". He also later wrote that Lang's "lack of scruple gave me a great and unpleasant surprise".
With the Labor Government only holding a single seat majority in the Legislative Assembly and only a handful of members in the upper Legislative Council, one of Lang's main targets was electoral reform. The Legislative Council, comprising members appointed by the Governor for life terms, had long been seen by Lang and the Labor Party as an outdated bastion of conservative privilege holding back their reform agenda. Although previous Labor premiers had managed to work with the status quo, such as requesting appointments from the Governor sufficient to pass certain bills, Lang's more radical political agenda required more drastic action to ensure its passage. Consequently, Lang and his government sought to abolish the council, along the same lines that their Queensland Labor colleagues had done in 1922 to their Legislative Council, by requesting from de Chair enough appointments to establish a Labor majority in the council that would then vote for abolition.
While Lang's attempts ultimately failed, de Chair failed to gain the support of an indifferent Dominions Office. With Lang's departure in 1927, the Nationalist Government of Thomas Bavin invited him in 1929 to stay on as Governor for a further term. De Chair agreed only to a year's extension and retired on 8 April 1930.
|Viceregal styles of|
Sir Dudley de Chair
|Reference style||His Excellency|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB)||NY 1916|
|Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB)||KB 1914|
|Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG)||NY 1933|
|Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO)||1908|
|Egypt Medal with "Alexandria 11 July" Clasp||1884|
|British War Medal|
|King Edward VII Coronation Medal||1902|
|King George V Coronation Medal||1911|
|Order of the Medjidie, 5th Class||Ottoman Empire; 1884|
|Khedive's Star||Egypt; 1884|
|Commandeur of the Legion of Honour||France; 1916|
- Cunneen, Chris (1981). "de Chair, Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford (1864–1958)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- Dunn, Steve R. (2016). Blockade: Cruiser Warfare and the Starvation of Germany in World War One. Seaforth Publishing. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "Dudley de Chair". Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "No. 26865". The London Gazette. 22 June 1897. p. 3443.
- "No. 27448". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 26 June 1902. p. 4198.
- "No. 28148". The London Gazette. 16 June 1908. pp. 4403–4404.
- "No. 28475". The London Gazette. 14 March 1911. p. 2148.
- "No. 28633". The London Gazette. 6 August 1912. p. 5854.
- "No. 28632". The London Gazette. 2 August 1912. p. 5723.
- "No. 28842". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 19 June 1914. p. 4876.
- Clune, David; Turner, Ken (2009). The Governors of New South Wales: 1788–2010. Sydney: Federation Press. pp. 457–472.
- "No. 32878". The London Gazette. 9 November 1923. p. 7655.
- "NEW GOVERNOR. ADMIRAL DE CHAIR". The Sydney Morning Herald (26, 760). New South Wales, Australia. 11 October 1923. p. 8. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "ARRIVAL OF ADMIRAL SIR DUDLEY RAWSON STRATFORD De CHAIR, K.C.B., M.V.O., GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW SOUTH WALES". Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (27). New South Wales, Australia. 25 February 1924. p. 1283. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "STATE GREETS SIR DUDLEY DE CHAIR". The Sydney Morning Herald (26, 880). New South Wales, Australia. 29 February 1924. p. 9. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "TWO SAILOR GOVERNORS". The Sydney Morning Herald (26, 878). New South Wales, Australia. 27 February 1924. p. 12. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Admiral De Chair Dies At 94". The Canberra Times. 32, (9, 562). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 19 August 1958. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "No. 12889". The Edinburgh Gazette. 1 January 1916. p. 2.
- "No. 14928". The Edinburgh Gazette. 6 January 1933. p. 11.
- "No. 12988". The Edinburgh Gazette. 19 September 1916. p. 1675.
- de Chair, Sir Dudley (1961). The Sea is Strong. London; Sydney: George Harrap. p. 248.
| Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty
Rear-Admiral Charles Napier
| Rear-Admiral Commanding, Cruiser Force B
Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Tupper
Vice-Admiral Sir Herbert Heath
| Vice-Admiral Commanding, 3rd Battle Squadron
Rear-Admiral Sir Douglas Nicholson
Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Thursby
| Admiral Commanding, Coastguard and Reserves
Vice-Admiral Sir Morgan Singer
Sir Walter Davidson
| Governor of New South Wales
Sir Phillip Game