Sir Harry Charles Luke, KCMG (1884-1969)

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Sir Harry Charles Joseph Luke: "Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St.George, Doctor of Literature, renowned author, keen philatelist, former Lieutenant-Governor of Malta, Bailiff Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem, High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, Commander-in-Chief of military forces and Governor of Fiji from 1938 to 1942. Sir Harry's responsibilities included the Crown colonies of Fiji, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (Tuvalu), the kingdom of Tonga, the British Solomon Islands, the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), the Line Islands (Kiribati) and Pitcairn Island."[1] The RCS Viti was built as a vice-regal yacht for Sir Harry (ibid.).

Notes from 2003

  • "Not an intelligent man" (Ron Gatty).
  • Author of From a South Seas Diary (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1945; with help from Harold Gatty according to Ron Gatty).
  • 1940-41: The High Commissioner of the WPHC was Governor of Fiji as well as of the Gilbert and Ellis Islands; there were two separate offices, even though one man wore both hats. There seems not have been any separate "police force" for Fiji in those days.
  • The Civil Lists for 1942 shows that Sir Harry, McGusty, and [[Hoodless] sat on the same Legislative committee, which would have given them many opportunities for unrecorded conversations about the bones.
  • I asked Jean Brown whether Sir Harry was recalled for failure to prepare the defense of the islands. She and Stan thought not. Sam Ellis wrote the government and said that if Sir Harry was not recalled, he would see him in court. Sir Harry's wife did not come with him to Fiji, and he was "a bit of a playboy. Very clever." It seems that he lived "the bachelor life."
  • Parkinson: The press accounts said that Sir Harry was "stepping aside for a younger man who could better handle the burdens of the office in war." But Sir Harry had "the same problem Solomon did" (Solomon had a large number of consorts--cf. 1 Kings 11:3).
  • 12 June 1942: "I have now held office here for nearly four years, without a break other than the relief of change of work afforded by inspections of the territories of the High Commission. The tempo and strain are not diminishing, and leave is in present circumstances out of the question. So I am making way for a younger man, and have to-day announced my resignation" (From a South Seas Diary, p. 236).
  • Left Suva on 20 July 20 1942.
  • Sir Harry's successor, Sir Philip Mitchell, was a British General: "I came out here not to govern but to wage war." That's all he did. He didn't last long. They appointed another High Commissioner when the war moved away from Fiji.


  • Major-General Sir Philip Even Mitchell, KCMG, MC, appointed Governor of Fiji July 22, 1942.
  • Sir Alexander William George Herder Grantham appointed Jan 1, 1945.
  • Sir Leslie Brian Freeston, KCMG, OBE November 22, 1947 until Jan 29, 1952.
  • Sir Ronald Herbert Garvey, KCMG, MBE. Governor-designate. Took office on February 5, 1952.