Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet : biography
General Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet GCB, GCMG, DSO, MVO (17 January 1865 – 20 February 1951) was a British Army officer and the third Governor-General of New Zealand.
Early life and Army career
Sir Charles was the son of Sir James Fergusson, the 6th Governor of New Zealand. He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst before joining the Grenadier Guards in 1883. He served in Sudan from 1896 to 1898 becoming Commanding Officer of the 15th Sudanese Regiment in 1899 and Commander of the Omdurman District in 1900. He was made Adjutant General of the Egyptian Army 1901 and Commanding Officer of 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards in 1904 before becoming a Brigadier-General on the staff of the Irish Command in 1907. He was appointed Inspector of Infantry in 1909 and General Officer Commanding 5th Division in Ireland in 1913 – in this capacity he played a key role during the Curragh incident ensuring his officers obeyed orders. He took the 5th Division to France in August 1914 at the start of World War I and then briefly took command of 9th (Scottish) Division from October to December 1914. He commanded II Corps from January 1915 and then, from May 1916, XVII Corps corps which he led until the end of the War.
After the War he was a Military Governor of Cologne before he retired in 1922.
After his term in New Zealand, he became chairman of the West Indies Closer Union Commission and was Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire from 1937 until his death on 20 February 1951.
Governor-General of New Zealand
After an unsuccessful attempt to enter Parliament in 1923, he was appointed Governor General of New Zealand in 1924 serving until 1930. Sir Charles' father Sir James Fergusson was a Governor of New Zealand and his son Bernard was the 10th and last British appointed Governor-General.
On 20 June 1929 Sir Charles was involved in a railway accident following the 1929 Murchison earthquake. Departing the National Dairy Show at Palmerston North with 200 passengers on board, the Vice Regal Carriage was attached to the rear of the train with their excellencies, Sir Charles and Lady Alice and other members of the Vice Regal party. The train hit a slip between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, with the locomotive falling down a steep bank and injuring the driver. The first three carriages of the train also left the rails, but the Vice Regal carriage remained on the tracks and the Governor-General and his party only suffered minor cuts and bruises.
He was a freemason. During his term as Governor-General (1925-1928), he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.
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