Bernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae

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Brigadier The Right Honourable
The Lord Ballantrae
KT, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE
Sir Bernard Fergusson - Governor General, 1963 (21764934845).jpg
10th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
9 November 1962 20 October 1967
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by The Viscount Cobham
Succeeded by Sir Arthur Porritt
Personal details
Born(1911-05-06)6 May 1911
United Kingdom
Died28 November 1980(1980-11-28) (aged 69)
London, United Kingdom
NationalityBritish
Relations David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow (grandfather)
Sir James Fergusson (grandfather)
Sir Charles Fergusson (father)
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Years of service1931–1958
Rank Brigadier
Unit Black Watch
Commands1st Battalion, Black Watch
Director of Combined Operations
16th Infantry Brigade
Battles/wars Arab revolt in Palestine
Second World War
Palestine Emergency
Awards Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches

Brigadier Bernard Edward Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae, KT, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE (6 May 1911 – 28 November 1980) [1] was a British Army officer, a military historian and the last British-born Governor-General of New Zealand.

Brigadier is a military rank, the seniority of which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general, typically commanding a brigade of several thousand soldiers. In other countries, it is a non-commissioned rank.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Contents

Early life and family

Fergusson was born on 6 May 1911, the third son and fourth child of Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet and his wife Lady Alice Mary Boyle, a daughter of David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow. His older brother was Sir James Fergusson, 8th Baronet of Kilkerran. Both his grandfathers had previously served as Governors of New Zealand and his father had served as Governor-General.

Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet Viceroy, military leader

General Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet was a British Army officer and the third Governor-General of New Zealand.

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow British colonial governor

David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow was a British naval commander and colonial governor. He served as Governor of New Zealand between 1892 and 1897.

Sir James Fergusson, 8th Baronet of Kilkerran, FRSE LLD (1904-1973) was a Scottish peer, broadcaster, journalist and historian.

Fergusson married Laura Margaret Grenfell (born 14 April 1920, died 1979) on 22 November 1950 and they had one child, Hon George Duncan Raukawa Fergusson (born 30 September 1955) [2] who served as British High Commissioner to New Zealand from 2006 to 2010 and Governor of Bermuda from 2012.

The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.

George Fergusson (diplomat) British diplomat (1955- )

The Hon. George Duncan Raukawa Fergusson is a British diplomat. He was the British High Commissioner to New Zealand and Samoa, and the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, from 2006 to 2010. He was the Governor of Bermuda from 2012 to 2016.

Governor of Bermuda position

The Governor of Bermuda is the representative of the British monarch in the British overseas territory of Bermuda. The Governor is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the British government. The role of the Governor is to act as the de facto head of state, and he or she is responsible for appointing the Premier and the 11 members of the Senate.

Laura Grenfell was accidentally killed in 1979 when gales blew a tree onto the car in which she was travelling. [3]

Military service 1931-1946

Fergusson was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. From the latter, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Black Watch on 27 August 1931. [4] He was promoted to lieutenant on 27 August 1934. [5] He served with the 2nd Battalion of his regiment in the British Mandate of Palestine during the Arab revolt and later became aide-de-camp (ADC) to Major General Archibald Wavell, then General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 2nd Infantry Division in England, on 11 March 1937. [6] In October 1937, he was on secondment to the Green Howards. [7] Fergusson was promoted to captain on 27 August 1939, only a few days before the outbreak of the Second World War. [8]

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor, as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Royal Military College, Sandhurst British Army military academy

The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

In 1940, Fergusson was serving as a brigade major for the 46th Infantry Brigade before becoming a general staff officer in the Middle East. In October 1943 he was promoted to acting brigadier and given command of the 16th Infantry Brigade which was converted into a Chindit formation for operations in the deep jungles of Burma miles behind Japanese lines. He commanded this brigade throughout the Chindit operations of 1944 before becoming Director of Combined Operations from 1945 to 1946. He ended the war as a major (war-substantive lieutenant-colonel).

Brigade major chief of staff of a brigade in the British Army

A brigade major was the chief of staff of a brigade in the British Army. He most commonly held the rank of major, although the appointment was also held by captains, and was head of the brigade's "G - Operations and Intelligence" section directly, and oversaw the two other branches, "A - Administration" and "Q - Quartermaster". Intentionally ranked lower than the lieutenant-colonels commanding the brigade's combat battalions, his role was to expand on, detail and execute the intentions of the commanding brigadier.

46th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 46th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service in both World War I and World War II with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division.

The 16th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service during the Second Boer War and the First and Second World Wars.

After the war, he held various positions, including command of the 1st Battalion, Black Watch.

Service in the British Mandate of Palestine 1946-1947

In 1946, having failed his attempt to be elected to parliament, he returned to Palestine during the Palestine Emergency in the rank of a brigadier, and was appointed to several positions in British Mandate of Palestine police and para-military forces. At first he served as the commander of the "Police Mobile Force", a police unit of 2,000 British soldiers, that was used as a strike force against the Jewish insurrection. By the end of 1946 the unit was disbanded, by the order of the Palestine Police commandant, Col. William Nicol Gray. Fergusson was appointed as the commander of a police school that was supposed to be created in Jenin, but soon he was appointed by Gray to be "Special assistant to the commandant of police".

Fergusson suggested to Gray, who was himself a former Royal Marine, that a special unit to fight Jewish insurrectionists be formed. This unit would include former soldiers who had served in the British special forces during the war. Gray accepted the idea and ordered the creation of two teams, whose members were chosen from Palestine policemen and ex-SAS soldiers. One team would operate in Haifa and the north, while the second team would operate in the Jerusalem area. War hero Roy Farran was appointed as the commander of the second team.

On 6 May 1947, Farran's unit arrested 16-year-old Alexander Rubowitz, who was putting up posters in Jerusalem for the Jewish underground organisation the Lehi. Rubowitz was taken by Farran's team, and tortured to force him to surrender his friend's names. The boy did not survive the torture. His body was dumped and never found. Suspicions of Farran's involvement were first raised after a grey trilby hat, bearing an indistinct name compatible with his, was found near the street corner where Rubowitz was seen being pushed into a car. In 2004 British secret documents were revealed that included a statement by Fergusson, written at the time of the event, to the effect that Farran confessed to Fergusson of the murder. Fergusson then reported the incident to Gray. [9]

Gray was reluctant to take action against Farran, believing he could use some information produced from Rubowitz by Farran to crack the Lehi in Jerusalem. Gray believed that arresting Farran would ruin these efforts. While Gray was on leave in England, the acting CID commandant, Arthur Giles, ordered an investigation into Farran's actions. Farran escaped to Syria to avoid arrest, but was convinced by Fergusson to return voluntarily. He then escaped from custody and went to Jordan before again returning of his own accord. He was brought to trial in a British military court in Jerusalem.

At Farran's trial, Fergusson refused to testify on the grounds that he might incriminate himself. The Palestine government announced that no action would be taken against Fergusson. After the trial, which ended with Farran's acquittal, Fergusson was relieved of his duties in Palestine and returned to Britain. [10] [11]

Military Service 1951-1958

He was brevetted to lieutenant-colonel on 1 July 1951, [12] promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 5 March 1952 [13] and promoted to colonel on 6 May 1952. [14] He retired on 13 December 1958 with the honorary rank of brigadier. [15]

Suez

Gerald Templer was impressed by Fergusson's performance in the Malayan Emergency and during the Suez crisis he was put in charge of the psychological warfare component of Britain's plan to retake the Suez canal and overthrow Nasser. Fergusson made plans for an extensive campaign of propaganda to accompany a ruthless use of air power against Alexandria. The plan eventually employed was very different and consequently psychological warfare had little impact on Egyptian public opinion or morale. British propaganda radio station assertions that Nasser was a tool of Zionism and that Egypt should attack Israel brought strong protests from Golda Meir. [16]

Governor-General of New Zealand

Fergusson as Governor-General (left) with the Mayor of Shannon, Mr P. K. Robinson. Bernard Fergusson and PK Robinson.jpg
Fergusson as Governor-General (left) with the Mayor of Shannon, Mr P. K. Robinson.

In 1962, Fergusson was appointed Governor-General of New Zealand, serving until 1967. His father Sir Charles Fergusson had also been Governor-General, and both of his grandfathers, Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet and David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow, had been Governors of New Zealand.

He was created a life peer on 10 July 1972 as Baron Ballantrae, of Auchairne in the County of Ayrshire and The Bay of Islands in New Zealand. [17]

Lord Ballantrae served as Chancellor of the University of St Andrews from 1973 until his death in 1980.

Memorial Scholarship

The Bernard Fergusson Memorial Scholarship was established in 1982 by the late Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, from a fund raised on her behalf in memory of Fergusson, as he was a particular friend of the Tainui people.

The purpose of the award is to assist a member of the Tainui Tribal Confederation resident in the Tainui Maori Trust Board area to enrol as an undergraduate student in the University of Waikato, who but for the award, might otherwise not be able to attend the University. [18]

Styles

Honours and awards

Order of the Thistle UK ribbon.png Knight of the Order of the Thistle (KT)30 November 1974 [19]
Ord.St.Michele-Giorgio.png Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)3 September 1962 [20]
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)11 February 1963 [21]
Dso-ribbon.png Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)5 August 1943 (Burma) [22]
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)King's Birthday Honours, 8 June 1950 [23]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Knight of the Order of St John (KStJ)1961 [24]
General Service Medal 1918 BAR.svg General Service Medal with 3 clasps
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939-1945 Star
Africa Star BAR.svg Africa Star
Burma Star BAR.svg Burma Star
Defence Medal BAR.svg Defence Medal
War Medal 39-45 BAR MID.png War Medal 1939–1945 with MiD
ElizabethIICoronationRibbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953

Arms

Bibliography

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References

  1. Ronald Lewin, ‘Fergusson, Bernard Edward, Baron Ballantrae (1911–1980)’, rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 3 April 2009
  2. The Peerage, entry for Laura Grenfell
  3. The Daily Mail, published 22 April 2012
  4. "No. 33748". The London Gazette . 28 August 1931. p. 5624.
  5. "No. 34082". The London Gazette . 28 August 1934. p. 5461.
  6. "No. 34379". The London Gazette . 12 March 1937. p. 1642.
  7. "No. 34459". The London Gazette . 30 November 1937. p. 7517.
  8. "No. 34660". The London Gazette . 29 August 1939. p. 5918.
  9. Nick Kardahji (2007). "A Measure of Restraint: The Palestine Police and the End of the British Mandate" (PDF). MPhil Thesis, Modern Middle East Studies. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  10. Farran, Fergusson may be in UK, Palestine Post, 1947/10/08
  11. No action against Col. Fergusson, Palestine Post, 1947/10/16
  12. "No. 39397". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 November 1951. p. 6239.
  13. "No. 39543". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 May 1952. p. 2708.
  14. "No. 39764". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 January 1953. p. 617.
  15. The London Gazette, 16 December 1958
  16. Kyle, K. (2003). Suez: Britain's end of empire in the Middle East. London: Tauris. pp. 235–239. ISBN   1-86064-811-8.
  17. "No. 45725". The London Gazette . 13 July 1972. p. 8357.
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  19. "No. 46421". The London Gazette . 3 December 1074. p. 12169.
  20. "No. 42776". The London Gazette . 7 September 1962. p. 7041.
  21. "No. 42969". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 April 1963. p. 3327.
  22. "No. 36120". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 August 1943. p. 3522.
  23. "No. 38929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1950. p. 2781.
  24. "No. 42722". The London Gazette . 3 July 1962. p. 5305.
Government offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Cobham
Governor-General of New Zealand
1962–1967
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Porritt
Academic offices
Preceded by
The 14th Duke of Hamilton
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
1973–1980
Succeeded by
Kenneth Dover