Francis Stronge

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Sir Francis William Stronge KCMG (22 November 1856 – 20 August 1924), was a senior British diplomat and the second son of Sir John Calvert Stronge and Lady Margaret Stronge. Sir Francis never inherited the baronetcy but was later knighted in his own right.


Born to a distinguished Irish family in Balleskie, Fife,[1] he was educated at Dublin University[2] and joined the British Army with a commission in the Royal Tyrone Fusiliers. He served as sub-lieutenant in the regiment, resigning his commission in 1876.[3]

Stronge joined the Diplomatic Service in 1879 and served in British embassies in Vienna, Peking, Constantinople, Rome and Athens. He was appointed Consul General for Hungary in 1903[4] and in 1904 was promoted to the post of Councillor of Embassy in Constantinople. From 1906[5] to 1911 he was Minister General and Consul General in Colombia. He then served as Minister Plenipotentiary in Mexico from 1911[6] until 1913.[1]

During this crucial period in Mexican history, Stronge unfortunately showed more attention to ornithology than to his diplomacy, ceding his authority to the unscrupulous American Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson at a conference of foreign ambassadors with President Francisco I. Madero.[7] As a result of Wilson's machinations, Madero was brought down in la decena trágica, a bloody coup d'état that brought Victoriano Huerta to power. Huerta favoured Stronge and asked Lord Cowdray to use his influence to have Sir Francis retained as Ambassador to Mexico, but he was moved to a new post that year.[8]

From 1913[9] to 1919 he served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Santiago, Chile.[1] He was knighted on 3 June 1915 in recognition of his services,[10] the key one being negotiating the purchase from Chile of two battleships, the Almirante Latorre and the Admirante Cochrane that were building in British yards for the Chilean Navy. Both ships were then used by the Royal Navy in World War I.[11]

On 10 November 1909 he married Maria Elizabeth Fraser of Castleconnell, daughter of General Sir David Macdowall Fraser. The couple lived at Kilbroney House, Rostrevor, County Down, where Stronge died in August 1924.[1]

See also[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George Earle Welby
Minister Resident and Consul-General in the Republic of Colombia
Succeeded by
Percy Wyndham
Preceded by
Reginald Tower
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of Mexico
Succeeded by
Sir Lionel Carden
Preceded by
Henry Lowther
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Chile
Succeeded by
Tudor Vaughan


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary. Sir Francis Stronge." The Times, Friday, 22 August 1924; pg. 12
  2. ^ STRONGE, Sir Francis (William), Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2015 (online edition, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  3. ^ "no. 24376". The London Gazette. 27 October 1876. p. 5724. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  4. ^ "no. 27561". The London Gazette. 5 June 1903. p. 3573. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  5. ^ "no. 27907". The London Gazette. 24 April 1906. p. 2795. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  6. ^ "no. 28498". The London Gazette. 26 May 1911. p. 3996. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  7. ^ McLynn, Frank (2002). Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution. Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 155. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  8. ^ Brown, Jonathan C (1993). "Revolution and Oil". Oil and Revolution in Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 181. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  9. ^ "no. 28782". The London Gazette. 16 December 1913. p. 9252. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  10. ^ "His Majesty's Birthday. List Of Honours., Lord Kitchener. K.G., Two New Peers., Many Awards To The Services." The Times, Thursday, 3 Jun 1915; pg. 9
  11. ^ Conways: All the Worlds Fighting Ships. Conway Maritime Press. 1985. p. 38. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  • Burke's Peerage and Baronetage. 1975.