Arthur Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers

Arthur Herbert Tennyson Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers, KCMG, DSO, MC (20 March 1887 – 14 July 1944), was a British Army officer who was the 16th Governor of Victoria, from 1926 to 1931 and Administrator of Australia in 1930-31. He had a long involvement with the Boy Scout Movement and became the Boy Scouts Association's Chief Scout of the British Empire from 1942 until his death.

The Lord Somers
Administrator of Australia
In office
2 October 1930  21 January 1931
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byThe Viscount Stonehaven
(as Governor-General)
Succeeded bySir Isaac Isaacs
(as Governor-General)
16th Governor of Victoria
In office
28 June 1926  23 June 1931
MonarchGeorge V
PremierJohn Allan
Edmond Hogan
William McPherson
Preceded byLord Stradbroke
Succeeded byLord Huntingfield
Personal details
Born(1887-03-20)20 March 1887
Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England
Died14 July 1944(1944-07-14) (aged 57)
Ledbury, Herefordshire, England
Spouse
Daisy Meeking
(m. 1921)
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1906–1922
RankLieutenant Colonel
Commands6th Battalion Tank Corps
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Legion of Honour (France)

Early life

Somers was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, the eldest son of Herbert Haldane Somers-Cocks and the former Blanche Clogstoun. His godfather was Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Somers' father died when he was seven years old. He succeeded a distant relative as Baron Somers at the age of twelve. He attended Charterhouse School before going on to New College, Oxford.[1] He was an able cricketer, and played 17 first-class games. In 1904, whilst a schoolboy at Charterhouse, he made 115 against Westminster,[2] and two years later he made his first-class debut for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against Worcestershire, scoring 0 and 13.[3] He rarely had enough time to play cricket, but in the 1920s he made a further 16 first-class appearances for Worcestershire, his highest score being 52 against Essex in May 1925.[4] In later life he became both a vice-president of Worcestershire County Cricket Club and, in 1936, President of the MCC.[2]

Military career

In 1906, Somers joined the British Army 1st Regiment of Life Guards, later taking leave to farm in Canada before rejoining his regiment in 1914 at the start of the First World War. He commanded the 6th Battalion of the new Tank Corps in 1918. He was twice wounded, mentioned in despatches, awarded the Military Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, and appointed to the French Legion of Honour.[1]

Governor of Victoria and Administrator of Australia

Somers was appointed Governor of Victoria in 1926. He "had charm and natural gaiety which won him popularity ... warm and generous, he had a genuine interest in people, as well as a high sense of duty and leadership ... a shrewd and successful governor".[1] Following the expiry of Lord Stonehaven's term as Governor-General of Australia in October 1930, Somers – as the longest serving state governor – was called upon to act as Administrator of Australia until Sir Isaac Isaacs took office in January 1931.[5]

Freemasonry

Somers was initiated as a Freemason into Household Brigade Lodge No.2614 under the United Grand Lodge of England some 18 years before he arrived in Victoria and served as the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria between 1927 and 1932.[6]

Lord Somers Camp

In 1929, at his own expense, Somers brought together teenage boys from different backgrounds in Australia to what was named Lord Somers Camp which continues to this day. The idea of the camp was based upon the Duke of York camps in England that operated until the start of the Second World War.

Boy Scouts Association

The Boy Scouts Association appointed Somers as its chief commissioner in 1932 and then its deputy Chief Scout from 1935 to 1941. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder and chairman and Chief Scout for life of the Boy Scouts Association, designated Somers as his successor as the association's Chief Scout. Following Baden-Powell's death, the Boy Scouts Association appointed Somers as its Chief Scout of the British Empire in March 1941 until his death in 1944.[1][7]

Family

Somers married Daisy Finola Meeking in 1921 and had a daughter:

  • Elizabeth Violet Virginia Somers Cocks (1922–1986), who married Major Benjamin Alexander Frederick Hervey-Bathurst (1920–1997), 2nd son of Sir Frederick Edward William Hervey-Bathurst, 5th Baronet.

Notes

  1. Australian Dictionary of Biography article on Lord Somers
  2. Obituaries, 1944. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1945.
  3. "Marylebone Cricket Club v Worcestershire in 1906". CricketArchive. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  4. "Essex v Worcestershire in 1925". CricketArchive. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  5. Christopher Cunneen, Kings' Men: Australia's Governors-General from Hopetoun to Isaacs, 1983, George Allen & Unwin, p. 172.
  6. Thorton, Peter T; Lord Somers, Grand Master (1989). "12". A Century of Union. United Grand Lodge of Victoria. pp. 115–120. ISBN 0-7316-5791-8.
  7. "Meet the Chiefs" (PDF). The Scout Information Centre. October 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.

References

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