Michael David Irving Gass

Sir Michael David Irving Gass KCMG (Chinese: 祈濟時; 24 April 1916 – 27 February 1983)[1] was the penultimate High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1965 until 1969, and the acting Governor of Hong Kong during the Hong Kong 1967 Leftist riots.

Sir Michael Gass

Sir Michael Gass.jpg
23rd Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byEdmund Brinsley Teesdale
Succeeded bySir Hugh Norman-Walker
21st High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byRobert Sidney Foster
Succeeded bySir Donald Luddington
5th Governor of the Solomon Islands
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byRobert Sidney Foster
Succeeded bySir Donald Luddington
Personal details
Born(1916-04-24)24 April 1916
Wareham, Dorset, England
Died27 February 1983(1983-02-27) (aged 66)
Somerset, England
EducationKing's School, Bruton
Alma materQueens’ College, Cambridge
OccupationColonial official
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal West African Frontier Force
Years of service1939–1945
UnitGold Coast Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II

Education and war yearsEdit

Born in Wareham,[2] Gass was the eldest son of George Irving Gass and Norah Elizabeth Mustard.[1] Gass was educated at King's School, Bruton, and then later obtained degrees at both Queens' College, Cambridge and Oxford University.[3] After university he entered the Colonial Administration Service. His first appointment was to the Gold Coast in 1939. During World War II Gass entered the Army and achieved the rank of Major, he served in East Africa and Burma with the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force (1939–1945); he was twice mentioned in despatches.


Confrontation between rioters and the Hong Kong Police Force during the riots in 1967

After the war he returned to the Service, spending three years in Ashanti and two in Ghana before being posted in 1958 to the West Pacific High Commission as Chief Secretary.

From then until his retirement in 1973 he remained in the Far East, notably in Hong Kong where he was Colonial Secretary and Acting Governor intermittently between 1965 and 1969. In the colonial secretary's tenure, he and Ronald Holmes and Jack Cater and other government officials had to deal with riots in 1967 against British colonial rule. During the disorder, Governor Sir David Trench happened to be absent from Hong Kong and all of a sudden there was no one fully in command of the government. As a result, Gass became acting-Governor, and therefore it was Holmes and Gass who were in charge in the crisis. During the riots, he took a tough stance against the activists, to effectively control the situation, but has also become one of the main targets of attack leftist camp vocal opposition.

He became High Commissioner for the Western Pacific on 12 February 1969.[4][5]

When he returned to England, Gass served as a Member of Somerset County Council (1977–1981).

Personal lifeEdit

Gass was appointed Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1960 Birthday Honours and was promoted to Knight Commander of Order of St Michael and St George in the 1969 New Year Honours.[6][7]

Gass married Elizabeth Acland-Hood in 1975. They had no children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Who Was Who". 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U164451. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Eminent Alumni". Queens' College, Cambridge. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  4. ^ "No. 44802". The London Gazette. 4 March 1969. p. 2350.
  5. ^ Sir Michael Gass. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, 2 March 1983; pg. 14
  6. ^ "No. 42051". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1960. p. 3976.
  7. ^ "No. 44740". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 December 1968. p. 4.
Government offices
Preceded by
Edmund Brinsley Teesdale
Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Norman-Walker
Preceded by
Robert Sidney Foster
High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
Succeeded by
Sir Donald Luddington
Governor of the Solomon Islands