Julian Byng of Vimy, Viscount

Julian Hedworth George Byng of Vimy, Viscount, governor general of Canada, 1921-26 (b at Wrotham Park, Eng 11 Sept 1862; d at Thorpe-le-Soken, Eng 6 June 1935). A British aristocrat and cavalry officer, Byng was appointed to command the Canadian Corps in May 1916.

Byng of Vimy, Viscount
Julian Hedworth George Byng, May 1917. Byng had acted honestly in the affair with King, but he departed from Canada under a shadow (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-1356).

Julian Hedworth George Byng of Vimy, Viscount, governor general of Canada, 1921-26 (b at Wrotham Park, Eng 11 Sept 1862; d at Thorpe-le-Soken, Eng 6 June 1935). A British aristocrat and cavalry officer, Byng was appointed to command the Canadian Corps in May 1916. He directed it in the attack on Vimy Ridge in Apr 1917 and was promoted to command the British 3rd Army. In 1921, the first time the Canadian government was formally consulted about the selection of a governor general, Byng was a prominent nominee. But Prime Minister Arthur Meighen preferred someone of civilian experience. Byng was finally chosen because he was willing and available. In Apr 1926 Prime Minister Mackenzie King pronounced Byng the ideal governor; in June, however, Byng refused King's request for a dissolution of Parliament, precipitating the King-Byng Affair. Byng had acted honestly and (in the view of most constitutional experts) correctly, but he departed from Canada under a shadow. His last major appointment was as chief commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, 1928-31. Byng's wife Evelyn wrote movingly about Canada in Up the Stream of Time (1945). In 1925 she donated the Lady Byng Trophy, the National Hockey League's award for sportsmanship combined with excellence.


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