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Major-General Sir Douglas Kendrew 1963-1973

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Alternate image text Sir Douglas Kendrew was born in Devon in England in 1910.

Like many Governors in the history of the office in Western Australia, he also came from a military background. Sir Douglas became a Lieutenant with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in 1931 and 10 years later was promoted to major.

He commanded the 6th battalion in North Africa and Italy in 1943 and served as a Brigade Commander in Italy, Greece and the Middle East between 1944 and 1946. Major-General Sir Douglas Kendrew was one of the few officers who have been awarded the Distinguished Service Order four times. During the 1950s, Sir Douglas was the Commander of the British Brigade, Commonwealth Division in Korea, and General Officer Commanding and Director of Operations in Cyprus.

He was the Director of Information at the War Office from 1959 to 1960 and then Head of British Defence Liaison Staff in Canberra from 1961 to 1963. He was promoted to Major-General in 1963. As a youngster, Sir Douglas had been a keen rugby player. He played for England 10 times and was captain of the team in 1935. He toured Australia and New Zealand with the England rugby team in 1930. Lady Kendrew also was a keen sportswoman - she loved hockey, tennis and golf, and enjoyed fishing.

In fact, Lady Kendrew claimed in an interview in 1973 that she broke all Australian records for women anglers, landing unaided a 74lb sailfish in the North West in 1964. Their daughter married the son of the Governor of Queensland, Sir Henry Abel-Smith. While in the position, Sir Douglas was keen to promote WA in the UK. He also back development of the North West and became the first Governor to go underground to inspect the Great Boulder Mine. After his term as Governor in WA, Sir Douglas moved back to the United Kingdom but his love of the State saw him return with his wife on several private visits.

Sir Douglas died in 1989 and at a memorial service for him at St Georges Cathedral, Sir Charles Court said that the former Governor had a modesty about his own achievements and was generous and kindly. He said Sir Douglas had been a great believer of the Westminster system of government and had been "very proper" with the Opposition.

He had been known as "Col. Joe" until his arrival in WA as Governor.

Reviewed 2012 - 2013

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