John Chancellor (colonial administrator)
Chancellor in Palestine, 1931
|Born||20 October 1870|
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
|Died||31 July 1952 (aged 81)|
Shieldhill Castle, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom
|Unit||Corps of Royal Engineers|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Order, Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, GBE|
|Other work||Colonial Administrator|
Chancellor was the younger son of Edward Chancellor, of Woodhall House, Juniper Green, Midlothian, and Anne Helen (d. 1932), daughter of John Robert Tod, WS. The Chancellor family had held the lands of Shieldhill, Quothquan from 1432. After a career in the British Army's Corps of Royal Engineers, which included service on the North West Frontier and being Secretary of the Colonial Defence Committee, he became a colonial administrator serving as the 20th Governor of Mauritius from 13 September 1911 to 28 January 1916, Trinidad and Tobago (1916–1921) and Southern Rhodesia (1923–1928). He also served as Principal Assistant Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence From 1922–1923.
In 1898 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In 1909 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. He was knighted in the 1913 King's Birthday Honours when he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). In the 1922 Dissolution Honours List he was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG). He was appointed a Knight of Justice in the Venerable Order of Saint John on 19 December 1928.
In 1928, he became High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine, where he was perceived as being cool to Zionism and the Jewish people. Though he admired some Zionist leaders, in particular Pinchas Rutenberg, in general Chancellor's attitude towards Jews was negative. He wrote to his son that "truly the Jews are an ungrateful race". His attitude towards Arabs was politically supportive but paternalistic; he wrote to his son "they are like children, and very difficult to help".
While he was in London in 1929, Arab riots protesting Jewish immigration broke out. On his return, he initially condemned Arab attacks but was subsequently less critical. He helped write the Lord Passfield's White Paper of 1930, which aimed to reinterpret the Balfour Declaration in order to back away from a commitment to the creation of a Jewish state. He left Palestine in 1931.
In 1937 he was appointed chairman of the Livestock Commission, which was set up following the passing of the Livestock Industry Act, 1937. In the 1947 King's Birthday Honours he was created a Knight Grand Cross in the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for services to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
In 1903, Chancellor married Mary Elizabeth Howard (1881–1976), daughter of George Rodie Thompson, DL, JP, of Lynwood, Ascot, Berkshire. They had two children: a son, Christopher John Howard Chancellor (1904–1989), who married Sylvia Mary Paget in 1926; and a daughter, Elizabeth Rosemary Alice Chancellor (1906–1971), known as Rosemary, who married Air Chief Marshall William Elliot in 1931. Christopher and Sylvia had two children: John Paget Chancellor and Alexander Chancellor; Rosemary and William also had two children: Louise Elliot (Halsey) and Simon Elliot.
Chancellor Avenue in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, now Harare, Zimbabwe, was named after him and still bears his name. However, his grandson, Alexander Chancellor, suggested that it be changed on account of it now being the street on which Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe lived.
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- Despite Mugabe's hatred of British colonialism, the road he lives in is still named after my grandfather, The Guardian, 27 June 2008