Robert James Hudson
|Major The Honourable
Sir Robert James Hudson
KCMG MC QC
|Chief Justice of Southern Rhodesia|
1943 – 15 May 1950
|1st Attorney-General of Southern Rhodesia|
|Appointed by||Sir Charles Coghlan|
|Member of the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly|
29 April 1924 – 6 September 1933
|Succeeded by||John Banks Brady|
15 May 1885|
Mossel Bay, Cape Colony
|Died||17 June 1963
Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia
|Political party||Rhodesia Party|
Born in Mossel Bay, Cape Colony, the son of George Matthews Hudson, Hudson was educated at Diocesan College, Rondebosch and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where in 1908 he became the first South African to gain a half blue for tennis.
Following the outbreak of World War I, Hudson served with the 1st Rhodesia Regiment in Southwest Africa and then moved to England to become a pilot for the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force. He was awarded a Military Cross in 1917. While in England on active service, Hudson was called upon to give expert advice in a case involving mining in Rhodesia, which was later called "one of the most lengthy and costly court cases of its time."
Following the war, Hudson returned to Bulawayo and continued to work as a barrister, gaining praise as "the leading advocate in Southern Rhodesia." Following the confirmation of responsible government to Southern Rhodesia in 1923, the nation's first Premier Sir Charles Coghlan appointed Hudson Attorney-General of Southern Rhodesia, an appointment considered "unusual" at the time as Hudson was not a member of Coghlan's Rhodesia Party.
Hudson subsequently joined the Rhodesia Party and successfully stood for the electorate of Bulawayo North in the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly at the 1924 election. Following the election, Hudson was appointed Minister of Justice (as the position of Attorney-General had been renamed) and Minister of Defence.
In 1933 Hudson resigned from parliament to sit on the High Court of Southern Rhodesia and served as resident judge in Bulawayo until 1943, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court. While serving as Chief Justice, Hudson twice acted as Governor of Southern Rhodesia; the first from 26 October 1944 to 20 February 1945 and the second from 19 July 1946 to 14 January 1947.
Hudson retired as Chief Justice on 15 May 1950, his 65th birthday. Hudson continued to be involved in public affairs, chairing the Rhodesian Board of the Standard Bank of South Africa from 1957 to 1962, chairing the Rhodesian Federal Broadcasting Corporation, as well as serving on numerous other boards and Royal Commissions.
Awards and recognition
Hudson received numerous recognition for his work, being awarded C.M.G. in the 1938 New Year Honours List knighted in 1944 and promoted to K.C.M.G. in 1950. Additionally, on 19 August 1943, it was announced that Hudson was allowed to officially retain the title "Honourable", as he had served more than three years on the Executive Council of Southern Rhodesia.
Hudson married Constance de Beer in 1920. Following her death in 1925, Hudson remarried in 1928 to Millicent Bruce, daughter of George Sutherland. They had a son and a daughter.
- The Times, "Sir Robert Hudson", 19 June 1963, p. 15.
- "Retirement of Sir Robert Hudson, Chief Justice of Southern Rhodesia". South African Law Journal. 67: 278. 1950.
- "1914 was the year ...". Zimdays.com. Zimdays. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "In Memoriam: Sir Robert Hudson". South African Law Journal. 80: 318. 1963.
- "No. 34469". The London Gazette. 31 December 1937. p. 5.
- "No. 36651". The London Gazette. 11 August 1944. p. 3725.
- "No. 38797". The London Gazette. 30 December 1949. p. 4.
- "No. 36184". The London Gazette. 24 September 1943. p. 1.
- "No. 39011". The London Gazette. 5 September 1950. p. 4485.
Sir Evelyn Baring
|Governor of Southern Rhodesia
1944–1945 (1st time)
1946–1947 (2nd time)
Sir Campbell Tait
Sir Fraser Russell
Sir John Noble Kennedy