Edward Youde


Sir Edward Youde (;
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research un ...
: ''Yau Tak''; 19 June 1924 – 5 December 1986) was a British
administrator Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator, a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database * Forum administrator, one who oversees discussions on an Internet forum * ...
, diplomat and
Sinologist Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's ...
. He served as
Governor of Hong Kong The Governor of Hong Kong was the representative of the United Kingdom, British The Crown, Crown in British Hong Kong, Hong Kong from 1843 to 1997. In this capacity, the governor was president of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, Executiv ...
between 20 May 1982 and his death on 5 December 1986.

Early years

Youde was born in
Penarth Penarth (, ) is a town and community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit ...
, South
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign ...

, in the United Kingdom and from 1942 attended the University of London's
School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS University of London (; the School of Oriental and African Studies) is a public university, public research university in London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1916, SOAS is located in ...
. He also served in the
Royal Naval Reserve The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is one of the two volunteer reserve forces of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Together with the Royal Marines Reserve, they form the Maritime Reserve. The present RNR was formed by merging the original Roya ...
.Sir Edward Youde of Hong Kong Dies
''The New York Times'', 5 December 1986


In 1947, Youde joined the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, ...
, where he would serve the rest of his life, and was swiftly posted to British embassy in Nanking, then the capital of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
. In 1949, amidst the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
, HMS ''Amethyst'' came under attack by
People's Liberation Army The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sover ...
forces while sailing on the Yangtze River. The frigate was heavily damaged by artillery fire and became stranded in the
Yangtze River along the Yangtze River. in Hubei Hubei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the Central China region. The name of the provinc ...
. Using his skills in Mandarin, Youde negotiated with the PLA commander to ask for the release of the ''Amethyst''. His negotiations came to naught, but bought enough time for the ''Amethyst''s to plan a successful escape to Hong Kong under the cover of darkness. Youde was appointed a
Member of the Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the The arts, arts and Science, sciences, work with charitable and welfare Organization, organisations, and public service outside the civi ...
(MBE) for his actions. In 1950, following the Communists' victory in the civil war, Britain recognized the People's Republic of China, and the British embassy moved to Beijing. Youde went on to serve a total of four tours of Foreign Office duty in China, the last as
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...
, from 1974 to 1978. He also served in Washington (1956 to 1959) and as a member of the British mission to the United Nations (1965 to 1969). Youde was knighted in 1977.

Hong Kong governorship

Youde is especially remembered for his tenure as the Governor of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Governor and his role in negotiating the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which was signed in Beijing in 1984. This, amongst other things, made it clear that the British would leave Hong Kong in 1997 after 156 years of colonial rule. Hong Kong's only Welsh Governor was widely liked for his kindly demeanour and greatly admired for his formidable erudition. In an editorial following his death, the Chinese-language ''Ming Pao'' newspaper compared him to Zhuge Liang, a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, who had 'pledged to work diligently on state affairs until death'. The idea of setting up a secondary school to develop students' potential in sport and the visual arts together with a normal academic syllabus was first mooted by Youde. Based upon this idea, the Jockey Club Ti-I College was founded in 1989.

Death and state funeral

During a visit to Beijing, Youde suffered a fatal heart attack in the British Embassy in the early hours of 5 December 1986, while asleep. He was the only Governor of Hong Kong to die in office. At his funeral - Hong Kong's first state funeral with full military honours - the streets were lined with people.HK's quiet champion
''South China Morning Post'', 3 December 2006
The casket, draped in the Governor's Standard, was carried by ten guardsmen, and a 17-gun salute was fired from the shore station of . Youde was cremated, and his ashes buried at Canterbury Cathedral in England, where a memorial plaque to him was installed in the nave.

Remembrance and legacy

A fund, the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund, was created from public contributions upon the recommendation of the Legislative Council. The fund is now administered by the HKSAR Government and offers a number of scholarships and sponsorship schemes aimed at encouraging and promoting the education of and research by Hong Kong people. To be eligible for the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund candidates must be proficient in English and Chinese and also have a good mastery of the language in which their studies will be undertaken.Sir Edward Youde Memorial Scholarships for Overseas Studies
The Edward Youde Aviary in Hong Kong Park was named after him in 1992, in recognition of his birdwatching interest. The Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Hong Kong was named after his wife. A plaque to his memory was commissioned by the Hong Kong Civil Service and placed on the wall of St John's Cathedral (Hong Kong), St John's Cathedral, in the Central District of Hong Kong.

Personal and family

Youde married Pamela Fitt and the couple had two daughters, Jennifer and Deborah.


External links

5 December 1986 - TVB Pearl
News File report on Sir Edward Youde's death]
Corpus of Political Speeches
Free access to political speeches by Edward Youde and other politicians, developed by Hong Kong Baptist University Library {{DEFAULTSORT:Youde, Edward 1924 births 1986 deaths Alumni of SOAS University of London Governors of Hong Kong Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order Members of the Order of the British Empire British sinologists Ambassadors of the United Kingdom to China People from Penarth HK LegCo Members 1985–1988 20th-century historians 20th-century Hong Kong people 20th-century British politicians Burials at Canterbury Cathedral