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William Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Dunrossil

In office
2 February 1960 – 3 February 1961
Preceded by Sir William Slim
Succeeded by The Viscount De L'Isle

Born 8 October 1893(1893-10-08)
Torinturk, Argyllshire, Scotland
Died 3 February 1961 (aged 67)

William Shepherd Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil, GCMG, MC, KStJ, PC, QC (8 October 1893 – 3 February 1961), the 14th Governor-General of Australia, was born in Scotland and educated at George Watson's College and the University of Edinburgh. He joined the British Army in the First World War and served with an artillery regiment in France, where he won the Military Cross. In 1919 he left the Army with the rank of Captain. He was elected to the House of Commons as Conservative MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury in 1929. In Parliament he acquired the nickname "Shakes", from his habit of quoting from the works of William Shakespeare.

Morrison had a long ministerial career under four Prime Ministers (Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill). He was:

Campaigning during the general election of 1945, Morrison attacked Socialism and contended that Hitler and Mussolini began as Socialists. He further claimed that although Labour objected to the Conservatives calling themselves 'National', the Conservatives had no objection in their opponents labelling themselves National-Socialists.[1] In 1947 he attacked identity cards which had been introduced during the war because he believed they were a nuisance to law-abiding people and also because the cards were ineffective. [1]

In 1951, when the Conservatives returned to power, Morrison was elected Speaker of the House of Commons. He was opposed by Labour MP Major James Milner, who said it was his party's turn to have a Speaker of the House. It was the first contested election for the post in the twentieth century. Morrison was elected in a vote on party lines.

Morrison held the post of Speaker until 1959, when he announced that he would not be contesting the forthcoming general election but retiring for reasons of health. As was customary for former Speakers, he was made a Viscount, taking the title Viscount Dunrossil, of Vallaquie in the Isle of North Uist and County of Inverness. Given his health, it surprised many when it was announced shortly thereafter that he had been chosen to succeed Sir William Slim as Governor-General of Australia. He was also appointed GCMG that year.[2] By this time support for the idea of British governors-general was declining in Australia, but the Liberal Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, was determined to maintain the British link (and, in particular, the Scottish link).

Dunrossil took office on 2 February 1960. However he died suddenly in Canberra only a year later (almost to the very day), on 3 February 1961. He was the only Australian governor-general to die in office. His Official Secretary throughout his term was Murray Tyrrell.

His son, John William Morrison, CMG, who succeeded as the 2nd Viscount Dunrossil, was a career officer in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, holding several senior diplomatic appointments, including serving as Governor of Bermuda. He was proud to wear his father's vice-regal hat on formal occasions on the island colony.


  1. ^ R. B. McCallum and A. Readman, The British General Election of 1945 (Oxford, 1947), p. 144.
  2. ^ ADB entry

External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Davies
Member of Parliament for Cirencester and Tewkesbury
Succeeded by
Nicholas Ridley
Preceded by
Douglas Clifton Brown
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Harry Hylton-Foster
Political offices
Preceded by
Alfred Duff Cooper
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
John Colville
Preceded by
Walter Elliot
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith
New title Minister of Food
Succeeded by
The Lord Woolton
Preceded by
The Earl Winterton
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
George Tryon
Preceded by
George Tryon
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Harry Crookshank
Government offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Slim
Governor-General of Australia
Succeeded by
The Viscount De L'Isle
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Dunrossil
Succeeded by
John Morrison


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