Governor of Southern Rhodesia
|Governor of Southern Rhodesia|
Flag of the Governor of Southern Rhodesia (1952–1980)
|Style||His Excellency The Right Honourable|
|Residence||Government House, Salisbury|
|Formation||1 October 1923|
|First holder||The Rt Hon. Sir John Chancellor|
|Final holder||The Lord Soames|
|Abolished||18 April 1980|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Governor of Southern Rhodesia was the representative of the British Monarch in the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from 1923 to 1980. The Governor was appointed by The Crown and acted as the local head of state, receiving instructions from the British Government.
The Governor was also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and as such, in theory at least, exercised considerable influence over the running of the colony and its government, but in practice, the Governor's main function was to maintain a satisfactory relationship between the British and Southern Rhodesian Governments and acted in an advisory capacity most of the time. From 1951, however, in contrast to other colonies, the British government was represented in Southern Rhodesia by a High Commissioner in Salisbury.
When Southern Rhodesia was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the position of the Governor remained unchanged, but as Salisbury became the capital of the Federation, the Governor General resided at Government House, previously the Governor's official residence. During this time, the Governor of Southern Rhodesia resided at Governor's Lodge in the suburb of Highlands.
Following the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, the government of Ian Smith ceased to recognise the authority of the then Governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, and appointed Clifford Dupont to exercise the Governor's powers as Officer Administering the Government.
However, Gibbs continued to occupy Government House, asserting his position as the Queen's de jure representative, and did not resign from the post until June 1969, following the decision of white voters in a referendum to approve a new constitution declaring Rhodesia, as Southern Rhodesia had become more commonly known, a republic.
The office of Governor remained vacant until 11 December 1979, when Lord Soames assumed the post, following the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, under which Southern Rhodesia would achieve de jure independence as Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980.
In common with most other British colonies, the flag used by the Governor, as the Sovereign's representative in Southern Rhodesia was initially a Union Flag with a white roundel in the centre, charged with the shield from the colony's arms granted on 11 August 1924. Unique among the flags of the Governors of British colonies, this shield of Arms was not surrounded by the customary wreath. This flag was adopted on 1 October 1924 and was flown until 30 July 1951.
On 31 July 1951, a new flag was put into use for the Governor of Southern Rhodesia. This was dark blue and charged in the centre with a Royal Crown, its height being four-sevenths of the hoist. Initially the Tudor Crown would have been used, but after her accession to the throne in 1952, Elizabeth II indicated her preference for St Edward's Crown, and this version would have been used thereafter. Although the colony had attained 'Responsible Government' in 1923, it was never a fully fledged Dominion, and so did not have a Governor-General, whose flag in other Dominions would be dark blue, charged in the centre with the Royal Crest above a Crown, with the name of the Dominion written in a yellow scroll below.
List of governors of Southern Rhodesia
|Term of office||Monarch||Prime Minister|
|Took office||Left office||Time in office|
|1||Sir John Chancellor
|1 October 1923||15 June 1928||4 years, 258 days||George V||Coghlan|
|–||Sir Murray Bisset
|15 June 1928||24 November 1928||162 days||Moffat|
|2||Sir Cecil Hunter-Rodwell
|24 November 1928||1 May 1934||5 years, 158 days||Moffat|
|1 May 1934||8 January 1935||252 days||Huggins|
|3||Sir Herbert Stanley
|8 January 1935||8 January 1942||7 years, 0 days||George V|
|8 January 1942||10 December 1942||336 days||George VI|
|4||Sir Evelyn Baring
|10 December 1942||26 October 1944||1 year, 321 days|
|–||Sir Robert James Hudson
|26 October 1944||20 February 1945||117 days|
|5||Sir Campbell Tait
|20 February 1945||2 February 1946||347 days|
|–||Sir Fraser Russell
|2 February 1946||19 July 1946||167 days|
|–||Sir Robert James Hudson
|19 July 1946||14 January 1947||179 days|
|6||Sir John Noble Kennedy
|14 January 1947||21 November 1953||6 years, 311 days||George VI
|–||Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold
|21 November 1953||26 November 1954||1 year, 5 days||Elizabeth II||Todd|
|7||Sir Peveril William-Powlett
|26 November 1954||28 December 1959||5 years, 32 days||Todd|
|8||Sir Humphrey Gibbs
|28 December 1959||24 June 1969||9 years, 178 days||Whitehead|
|Position vacant (24 June 1969 – 11 December 1979)[d]|
|9||The Lord Soames
|11 December 1979||18 April 1980||129 days||Position abolished|
For continuation after independence, see: President of Zimbabwe
- Admiral Tait's health rapidly declined shortly after he arrived in Southern Rhodesia. He relinquished the Governorship after only a year, and died five months later at Government House in Salisbury.
- Russell had been appointed a KBE in the 1943 New Year Honours, announced in December 1942.
- Gibbs' position was not recognised by the Smith's government after the UDI on 11 November 1965.
- Field Marshal The Lord Carver was named as Resident Commissioner-designate on 1 September 1977.
- President of Rhodesia
- Prime Minister of Rhodesia
- President of Zimbabwe
- Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
- Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
- Diplomacy with a Difference: the Commonwealth Office of High Commissioner, 1880–2006, Lorna Lloyd, BRILL, 2007, page 240
- Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Newsletter, Issues 27-52,, 1960, page 428
- Year Book and Guide of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland, with Biographies, Rhodesian Publications, Limited, 1962, page 33
- Ian Smith Strips Gibbs Of All Official Privilege, Associated Press, The Morning Record, November 18, 1965
- Final Break, TIME, June 27, 1969
- Obituary: Field Marshal Lord Carver, The Guardian, 12 December 2001