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Sir Edward Youde
GCMG GCVO MBE
|26th Governor of Hong Kong|
20 May 1982 – 4 December 1986
|Preceded by||Sir Jack Cater (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Sir David Akers-Jones (Acting)|
|Ambassador from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China|
29 August 1974 – 15 June 1978
|Preceded by||Sir John Addis|
|Succeeded by||Sir Percy Cradock|
19 June 1924|
|Died||4 December 1986
|Alma mater||University of London|
|Profession||Diplomat, sinologist, colonial administrator|
|Service/branch||Royal Naval Reserve|
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Sir Edward Youde GCMG GCVO MBE (Chinese: 尤德; Cantonese: Yau Tak; 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.
In 1947, Youde joined the Foreign Office, where he would serve the rest of his life, and was swiftly posted to China.
In 1949, he was 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, Youde was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his actions.
He went on to serve a total of four tours of Foreign Office duty in China, the last as ambassador, from 1974-78. He also served in Washington (1956 to 1959) and as a member of the British mission to the United Nations (1965 to 1969).
He was knighted in 1977.
Hong Kong governorship
Sir Edward is especially remembered for his tenure as the Hong Kong Governor and his role in negotiating the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which 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.
Hong Kong's only Welsh Governor was widely liked for his kindly demeanour and greatly admired for his formidable erudition. In an editorial following his death, the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper compared him to Chu Ke Liang, a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, who had 'pledged to work diligently on state affairs until death'.
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. Based upon this idea, the Jockey Club Ti-I College was founded in 1989.
Death and state funeral
At his funeral - Hong Kong's first state funeral with full military honours - the streets were lined with people. The casket, draped in the Union Flag, was carried by ten guardsmen, and a 17-gun salute was fired from the shore station of HMS Tamar. Sir Edward was cremated, and his ashes buried at Canterbury Cathedral in England, where a memorial plaque to him was installed in the nave.
Remembrance and legacy
A fund, the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund, was created from public contributions upon the recommendation of the Legislative Council. The fund is now 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, in recognition of his birdwatching interest. 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.
Personal and family
Youde married Pamela Fitt and the couple had two daughters, Jennifer and Deborah.
- Sir Edward Youde of Hong Kong Dies, New York Times, 5 Dec 1986
- Hong Kong's Journey to Reunification: Memoirs of Sze-yuen Chung, Sze-yuen Chung, Chinese University Press, 2001, page 148
- HK's quiet champion, South China Morning Post, 3 Dec 2006
- Throngs Attend State Funeral for Gov. Edward Youde, Associated Press, 9 Dec 1986
- Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarships for Overseas Studies
- Edward Youde's memorial in Canterbury Cathedral (www.findagrave.com)
- 5 December 1986 - TVB Pearl News File report on Sir Edward Youde's death
Sir John Addis
|British Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
Sir Percy Cradock
Lord MacLehose of Beoch
|Governor of Hong Kong
Sir David Akers-Jones
|President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong