Dudley, Earl of

William Humble Ward

b. 25 May 1867, London, England
d. 29 Jun 1932, London, England

Title: Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia
Term: 9 Sep 1908 - 31 Jul 1911
Chronology: 18 Apr 1908, appointed by Commission under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet [1]
  9 Sep 1908, took an oath of allegiance and an oath of office as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Australia, public ceremony, a pavilion in the Domain, Sydney [2][3]
  31 Jul 1911, appointment superseded by the Commission of a successor effective on taking the prescribed oaths (9 Sep 1908) [4][5]
Names/titles: Nobility title (by courtesy): Lord Ednam; nobility titles (succession): Earl of Dudley, Viscount Ednam, of Ednam in the County of Roxburgh, Baron Ward, of Birmingham in the County of Warwick (from 7 May 1885)
Eldest of the seven children of William Ward, first Earl of Dudley, and his second wife, Georgiana Elizabeth Moncreiffe, who was a favourite of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII; he was educated at Eton College (1881-1884); while at school he broke his leg and as a result he was lame for life; succeeded to his father's titles in 1885, inheriting, at the age of seventeen, some 25,000 acres, mainly in Worcestershire, including ironworks and collieries; cruised around the world in his steam yacht, Marchesa (1885-1887); was known as a winning yachtsman and a fine golfer; turned to politics as a Conservative, being elected to the London county council to represent Finsbury (Holborn) in 1895, and mayor of Dudley in 1895 and 1896; in the cabinet of Lord Salisbury (1895-1902) he was parliamentary secretary to the Board of Trade; during the South African War he served as major in the Worcestershire yeomanry and in 1900 saw action in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal; served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1902-1905); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (11 Aug 1902); left office on the defeat of the Balfour ministry and was succeeded by the Earl of Aberdeen (1905); partly at the urging of King Edward VII, he was selected to serve as the fourth Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (1908-1911); his term in Australia was not successful, either publicly or privately; a political crisis in 1909 led to his refusing the request of the Labour prime minister, Andrew Fisher, for a dissolution of parliament and Alfred Deakin formed a government; relations with the second Fisher administration, which took office in 1910, were strained; during World War I, he commanded the Worcestershire hussars in Egypt and at Gallipoli in 1915 and was promoted lieutenant-colonel; was attached to the headquarters staff of the 40th division (1916).
Biographical sources: "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" (Oxford University Press, 2004); The Times, No. 46,173, 30 Jun 1932, pp. 14, 16 (obituary).

[1] Government Gazette, No. 45, 9 Sep 1908, p. 1270.
[2] Government Gazette, No. 45, 9 Sep 1908, p. 1269.
[3] Sydney Morning Herald, No. 22,044, 10 Sep 1908, pp. 7-8.
[4] Government Gazette, No. 59, 31 Jul 1911, p. 1739.
[5] Earl of Dudley did not attend the ceremony of swearing-in of his successor, Baron Denman (31 Jul 1911), being absent from Melbourne. He returned to Melbourne 7 Aug 1911 and sailed for Adelaide 9 Aug 1911 by RMS Orvieto. After a one-day staying in Adelaide on 11 Aug 1911, he departed for London by the same ship.
Last updated on: 31 Jan 2018 10:57:49