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Archibald Nye

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Allegiance  United Kingdom
Rank  Lieutenant general
Service/branch  British Army

Name  Archibald Nye
Years of service  1914 - 1946
Archibald Nye httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Born  23 April 1895 Ship St Barracks, Dublin (1895-04-23)
Commands held  Nowshera Brigade (1939 - 1940) Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff (1941 - 1945)
Battles/wars  World War I World War II
Awards  GCSI (1947) GCMG (1951) GCIE (1946) KCB (1946; CB: 1942) KBE (1944) MC (1919)
Other work  Governor of Madras 1946 - 1947 UK High Commissioner to India 1948 - 1952 UK High Commissioner to Canada 1952 - 1956
Died  November 13, 1967, London, United Kingdom
Education  Duke of York's Royal Military School

Battles and wars  World War I, World War II

Archibald Nye

Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Edward Nye (23 April 1895 – 13 November 1967) was a senior British Army officer who served in both world wars. In the latter he served as Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff (VCIGS).


After the Second World War he served as Governor of Madras – after which appointment Nehru asked for him to stay on as High Commissioner in India. He subsequently served as High Commissioner to Canada.

(ribbon bar, as it would look today)

Early life

Archibald Edward Nye was born on 23 April 1895 at Shipstreet Barracks, Dublin, to Charles Edward Nye and Mary Sexton. He was the second of three sons born to the couple who also had three daughters. Charles Edward Nye was a regimental sergeant major in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British Army.

Nye was educated at the Duke of York's Royal Military School after the death of his father and desired to become a schoolmaster. But the Great War broke out at this juncture and Nye joined the British Army.

Military service

At the outset of the Great War, Nye went to France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 serving as a non-commissioned officer. In 1915, as a sergeant, he was selected for a permanent commission in the Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 5 December 1915.

He was further promoted to lieutenant on 5 September 1916, and to the acting rank of captain in August 1917. Wounded twice in action, he was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. The official citation for this ward reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on 20th October, 1918 near Esscher. He made a reconnaissance, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, of the forward positions along the whole battalion front adjusting a portion on his own initiative to complete the line. He was of great assistance to his commanding officer throughout the week's fighting.

When the Leinster Regiment was disbanded, Nye was transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. During the interwar period he had a number of regimental appointments. Promoted to captain on 20 June 1923, he attended the staff officer's course at Staff College, Camberley in 1924–25 which he successfully completed. Brevetted to major on 1 July 1930, he completed his graduation in law and qualified as a barrister at the Inner Temple in 1932. He was then posted as an instructor to the Staff College with the local rank of lieutenant-colonel, and advanced to brevet lieutenant-colonel on 1 July 1934. Nye was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 8 September 1935, and to the substantive rank of lieutenant colonel in September 1937. From late 1937 to early 1939 he commanded the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

On 20 May 1939, Nye was promoted to colonel, with the temporary rank of brigadier, and sent to India to raise a brigade, commanding the Nowshera Brigade from May 1939 to January 1940. In February 1940 he returned to London to take up the post of Deputy Director of Staff Duties, War Office and became Director of Staff Duties with the acting rank of major-general from 1 November. Promoted to substantive major-general on 18 November 1941, in December he became Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff with the acting rank of lieutenant-general from 5 December. His most important function in this role was to represent the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Alan Brooke, when he was unable to attend one of the many committees on which he sat such as the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Defence Committee (Operations), the War Cabinet and the Army Council. The enormous burdens placed on Brooke meant that he needed to delegate many of his tasks and for this he relied heavily on Nye. The partnership was highly successful and Nye remained in the job for the rest of the war. It could be said that while Brooke ran the war, Nye ran the army. Advanced to the temporary rank of lieutenant-general on 5 December 1942, in the 1944 Birthday Honours list, Nye was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the first of five knighthoods he would ultimately be conferred with. He was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant general on 14 September 1944. Nye retired on 29 March 1946.

Later life

Following his retirement, Nye was appointed Governor of Madras on 26 February 1946 and took charge on 5 May 1946 and served as Governor till 7 September 1948. The day prior to his appointment as Governor there was a major labour strike in Madras. The rest of his term was plagued by peasant uprisings all over the province. These rebellions were aided and abetted by the Communists who established miniature governments along the northern frontiers of the Presidency thereby demanding military action. Nye attributed their success to the "zeal and energy of young men who conducted their own newspapers and who preached the creed of expropriating landlords and distributing their land to needy and hungry labourers". Nye was also the Colonel-in-chief of the Madras Regiment from 10 August 1946 to 31 March 1949. The Recruits Training Centre was moved from Madukkarai near Coimbatore to Wellington in February 1947. Nye inaugurated the Madras offices of the British Council in July–August 1948. In November 1947, when Sir Frederick Gentle, the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court resigned over the Government of India order that the Chief Minister of the particular state should be consulted along with the Union Home Minister with regard to the selection of High Court judges, Nye expressed support for Gentle against political interference in appointment of judges.

Nye presided over independence day celebrations in Madras city. On 15 August 1947, Nye was sworn-in by Chief Justice Gentle as the first Governor of Madras in the Dominion of India while O. P. Ramaswami Reddiar was sworn in as Premier. Nye unfurled the Indian Tricolor at the Island Grounds.

Nye was strongly critical of Britain's efforts to admit India into the British Commonwealth. He felt that from the defence point of view, India would be "an ailing child who has literally, nothing, whatever to offer but who, on the other hand, constitutes a grave liability".

Following his term in Madras, Nye was appointed the UK's High Commissioner to India, in which appointment he served from 1948 to 1952. He then served as the UK's High Commissioner to Canada from 1952 to 1956.


In 1939, Nye married divorcee Una Sheila Colleen, daughter of Sir Harry Hugh Sidney Knox. The couple had one daughter, Harriet Newton-Clare.


Nye was a keen billiards player and teetotaller.


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  • Military Cross (MC) (1918)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Military Division (KBE) (1 June 1944)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Military Division (KCB) (1 January 1946)
  • Companion of the Order of the Bath, Military Division (CB) (June 1942)
  • Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) (8 February 1946)
  • Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) (14 August 1947)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) (7 June 1951)
  • References

    Archibald Nye Wikipedia