Reginald Woodifield Appleby, VD CBE, (1865 – 30 August 1948) was an English lawyer, practising in Bermuda, who in 1898 founded the predecessor of the law firm that now trades as Appleby. He served as a major in the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps during the First World War and was a member of the Legislative Council of Bermuda.
Early life and family
Reginald Appleby was born at Portsea Island, Hampshire, England, in 1865 to George Walton Appleby of Durham and Agnes Sterry Tucker of Bermuda. His father was described in the 1871 census as widowed and "Late Captain Landowner" and in 1881 as "Late Cpt 31st Regmt". Reginald had three brothers and a sister.
His mother died in 1870 and his father remarried, to Drusilla Matthews, his former servant who had been with the family when his first wife was alive. George and Drusilla gave Reginald several half-siblings.
Appleby passed his final law exams in England in 1887. He was in partnership with Reginald Gray, later Sir Reginald Gray, attorney-general of Bermuda, from 1893 to 1897 in Bermuda as Gray & Appleby. In 1898 he founded his own eponymous law firm. By 1903 he was a justice of the peace when he sat on the marine court of inquiry into the wreck of the S.S. Madiana. In 1938 he and Sir Dudley Spurling merged their practices to establish Appleby & Spurling. The year after Appleby's death in 1948, that firm merged with William Kempe to become Appleby Spurling Kempe (or Kemp), one of the predecessors of the firm that now trades as Appleby, the firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers leaks in 2017.
He served in the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps during the First World War, an auxiliary unit raised on the island before the war. In 1916 he was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration at which time he had the rank of major.
He was appointed to the Legislative Council of Bermuda in 1928 and according to The Irish Times, citing reports in Bermuda's The Royal Gazette, spoke against the idea of the introduction of an income tax in Bermuda at a Legislative Council meeting in 1940, siding with "those who look on all income tax as man's last refinement of torture, to be resisted at all costs."
Appleby was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in King George VI's 1947 New Year Honours for "Public services in Bermuda". He died on 30 August 1948 (aged 83) at Doctor's Hospital, New York, and was buried at Pembroke Cemetery in Bermuda.
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