Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet

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.

Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet

Formal head and shoulders portrait of a man in his early 60s.
Sir Charles Fergusson, circa 1926
3rd Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
13 December 1924 – 8 February 1930
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byThe Viscount Jellicoe
Succeeded byThe Lord Bledisloe
Personal details
Born(1865-01-17)17 January 1865
Died20 February 1951(1951-02-20) (aged 86)
Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland
RelationsSir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet (father)
ChildrenBernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1883–1922
CommandsXVII Corps
II Corps
9th (Scottish) Division
5th Division
3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards
Omdurman District
15th Sudanese Regiment
Battles/warsMahdist War
First World War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Mentioned in Despatches

Early life and military careerEdit

Fergusson was the son of Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet, the 6th Governor of New Zealand. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, before joining the Grenadier Guards in 1883.[1] 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.[1] He was made Adjutant General of the Egyptian Army in early 1901 and Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards in 1904 before becoming a Brigadier-General on the staff of the Irish Command in 1907.[1] 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.[2] He took the 5th Division to France in August 1914 at the start of the First World War,[2] and then briefly took command of the 9th (Scottish) Division from October to December 1914.[3] He commanded II Corps from January 1915 and then, from May 1916, XVII Corps, which he led until the end of the war.[2]

After the war Fergusson was a Military Governor of Cologne before he retired in 1922.[1]

Governor-General of New ZealandEdit

A year after an unsuccessful attempt to enter parliament through the South Ayrshire constituency in the 1923 general election,[4] Fergusson was appointed Governor-General of New Zealand and served until 1930.[1] His father, Sir James Fergusson, had served as a Governor of New Zealand, and his son Lord Ballantrae was the tenth and last British-appointed governor-general.

On 20 June 1929 Fergusson was involved in a railway accident, following the 1929 Murchison earthquake. Attached to the rear of a train leaving the National Dairy Show at Palmerston North with 200 passengers on board, the Viceregal carriage contained the Governor-General and his wife and other members of the Viceregal 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 Viceregal carriage remained on the tracks, and Fergusson and his party suffered only minor cuts and bruises.[5]

Marriage and familyEdit

Fergusson married Lady Alice Mary Boyle on 18 July 1901. She was a daughter of David Boyle, 7th Earl of Glasgow. They had five children:[6]


Fergusson was a Freemason. During his term as governor-general, he was also Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.[7]

Later lifeEdit

After his term in New Zealand, Fergusson became chairman of the West Indies Closer Union Commission and was Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire from 1937 until his death on 20 February 1951.


Coat of arms of Sir Charles Fergusson, 7th Baronet
The arms of Charles Fergusson consist of:
A bee on a thistle Proper.
Azure, a buckle Argent between three boars’ heads couped Or.
“Dulcius ex asperis”, All the sweeter for having undergone bitterness, 2 (on compartment) “Ut prosim aliis”, May I profit others.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900–1975 – FERGUSSON, Sir Charles, (1865–1951), 7th Baronet, General". Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Fergusson, Sir Charles, of Kilkerran, seventh baronet (1865–1951), army officer and administrator | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography".
  3. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2015.
  4. ^ McLintock, A. H., ed. (23 April 2009) [First published in 1966]. "Fergusson, General Sir Charles, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O., LL.D. (Glasgow), Bt.". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  5. ^ Gavin McLean (October 2006), The Governors, New Zealand Governors and Governors-General, Otago University Press, ISBN 978-1-877372-25-4
  6. ^ "Lady Alice Mary Boyle".
  7. ^ "Vice Regal Grand Masters – Who and Why?". Archived from the original on 9 April 2013.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
William Campbell
GOC 5th Division
Succeeded by
Thomas Morland
Preceded by
Colin Mackenzie
GOC 9th (Scottish) Division
October–December 1914
Succeeded by
Herman Landon
Preceded by
Horace Smith-Dorrien
GOC II Corps
Succeeded by
Claud Jacob
Preceded by
Julian Byng
Post disbanded
Government offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Jellicoe
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Viscount Bledisloe
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Ailsa
Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire
Succeeded by
Sir Geoffrey Hughes-Onslow
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
James Fergusson
(of Kilkerran)
Succeeded by
James Fergusson