Harry Luke

Sir Harry Charles Luke KCMG GCStJ (born Harry Charles Lukach;[lower-alpha 1] 4 December 1884 – 11 May 1969[1]) was an official in the British Colonial Office. He served in Barbados, Cyprus, Transcaucasia, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Malta, the British Western Pacific Territories and Fiji. He is the author of some books on several of these countries.

Harry Charles Luke
Acting High Commissioner for Palestine
In office
31 July 1928  6 December 1928
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byHerbert Onslow Plumer
Succeeded byJohn Chancellor
14th High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
In office
16 September 1938  20 July 1942
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded byArthur Richards
Succeeded byPhilip Euen Mitchell
15th Governor of Fiji
In office
16 September 1938  20 July 1942
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded byArthur Richards
Succeeded byPhilip Euen Mitchell
Personal details
Harry Charles Lukach

4 December 1884
Died11 May 1969(1969-05-11) (aged 84)
Resting placeConventual church of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in Clerkenwell, London.
Spouse(s)Joyce Evelyn Fremlin
1918–1949 (divorced)
RelationsPeter Luke (son)
Children2 sons
Alma materOxford
OccupationNaval officer, author, colonial administrator


Luke was born in London in 1884. His father, J.H. Luke (né Lukács)[2] was an Austro-Hungarian, but later acquired American citizenship; his mother was a Polish Catholic of the minor nobility. Luke was educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Oxford, of which he became an Honorary Fellow in 1952, and converted to Anglicanism.

Luke's first official appointment was as private secretary in Sierra Leone in 1908. He became aide-de-camp the following year, and briefly acted as Colonial Secretary for a few months. In 1911 he moved to Barbados to become private secretary to the Governor.[3] He subsequently served as private secretary to the High Commissioner of Cyprus (1911–1912) and as commissioner of Famagusta (1918–1920). From 1909 to 1911 he was also a second lieutenant in the London Yeomanry.

During World War I, Luke served as Commander of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the Syrian Coast, and as a Political Officer on the staff of Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss; for his services he was awarded the Italian medal for military valour.

In 1919 Luke was appointed Political Officer to the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir John de Robeck. In 1920 he spent six months (from April to September) as British Chief Commissioner in Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan).

In 1921, he was assistant Governor of Jerusalem and was appointed a member of the Haycraft Commission, which was established by Sir Herbert Samuel to investigate the cause of the riot which started in Jaffa on 1 May that year, and into the affairs of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.[4]

From 1924 to 1928 Luke held the post of Colonial Secretary of Sierra Leone. He was subsequently appointed to be the acting High Commissioner to the Government of Palestine. He assumed this position on 19 July 1928 and held it until 6 December 1928.

In August 1929, acting as deputy to Sir John Robert Chancellor, Luke attempted to mediate an agreement between Jewish and Arab leaders, without success. Later he was Lieutenant Governor of Malta (1930–1938) and Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner of the British Western Pacific Territories from 1938 to 1942. He left Fiji on 20 July 1942.[5]

On his retirement from the Colonial Service in 1943, Luke served for three years as chief representative of the British Council in the Caribbean. He died in Cyprus, where he often spent the winter, on 11 May 1969.

A Freemason of the United Grand Lodge of England, in 1919–1920 he served as the 28th First Principal of the St. Paul's Royal Arch Chapter N. 2277 E. C. in Cyprus.[6][7]


In 1918 Luke married Joyce Evelyn Fremlin, the daughter of Henry James Leigh Fremlin and his wife, Maud Evelyn Deane (divorced 1949). They had two sons, Peter Ambrose Cyprian Luke, born in 1919, and Michael Charles Deane Luke, born in 1925.[8]


Luke's published works

  • The Fringe of the East. Journey through Past and Present Provinces of Turkey, (Macmillan & Co), 1913 (First published under the name Harry Charles Lukach)
  • The City of the Dancing Dervishes, 1914
  • Cypriote Shrines, (Faith Press), 1920
  • The Handbook of Cyprus (London), 1920 (together with D.J. Jardine)
  • Cyprus under the Turks 1571–1878, (Oxford University Press), 1921
  • Report of the commission appointed by the government of Palestine to inquire into the affairs of the orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem, 1921 (together with Anton Bertram)
  • The handbook of Palestine, 1922 (together with Edward Keith Roach)
  • Anatolica, (London), 1924
  • Mosul and its minorities, 1925
  • Prophets, Priests and Patriarchs: sketches of the sects of Palestine and Syria, 1927
  • In the Margin of History, 1933
  • An Eastern Checkerboard, 1934
  • More Moves on an Eastern Checkerboard, 1935
  • The Making of Modern Turkey, (Macmillan & Co), 1936
  • The British Pacific islands, 1944
  • From a South Seas Diary, 1938–1942, 1945
  • "Aden", in: The British Empire, by Hector Bolitho, 1948.
  • Malta, an account and an appreciation, 1949
  • Caribbean Circuit, 1950
  • Aegean, Cyprus, Turkey, Transcaucasia and Palestine (1914–1924), 1953
  • Cities and Men: an autobiography – Vols. 1 & 2, 1953
  • Queen Salote and her Kingdom, 1954
  • The Tenth Muse: A Gourmet's Compendium, 1954 (a cookery book)
  • The Old Turkey and the New: from Byzantium to Ankara, 1955 (First published in 1936 under the title The Making of Modern Turkey)
  • Cities and Men: an autobiography, Vol. 3, 1956
  • Cyprus: a Portrait and an Appreciation, (Harrap), 1957

See also


  1. Anglicised spelling of the Hungarian (Lukács), from the personal name Lukács, Hungarian form of Lucas (English: Luke).


  1. "Sir Harry Luke Collection" (PDF). Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  2. Sir Harry Luke Collection
  3. New Governor of Fiji Pacific Islands Monthly, July 1938, p7
  4. Palestine. Disturbances in May, 1921. Reports of the Commission of Inquiry with correspondence relating thereto .. (1921), by the Haycraft Commission of Inquiry
  5. Fiji (20 July 1942). Fiji Royal Gazette (1942 ed.). p. 285.
  6. Christophoros Tornaritis, History of Cypriot Freemasonry (in Greek), Limassol, Cyprus, 1948, p. 24.
  7. St. Paul‘s Lodge No. 2277 and Chapter, official site.
  8. Sir Harry Luke Collection. Births registered in St Albans Registration District in the third quarter of 1919 and second quarter of 1925. Lady Luke married, secondly, Harold Anthany Shadforth, and died in Cape Town in 1973 – see eGGSA Library SHADFORTH Harold Anthany 1892–1983 & Joyce Evelyn FREMLIN 1894–1973.
  9. "No. 42108". The London Gazette. 2 August 1960. p. 5326.


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.