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Sir George Henry Gater

(1886-1963), Educational administrator and civil servant

Sitter in 2 portraits

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Sir George Henry Gater, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x163183

Sir George Henry Gater

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, September 1941
NPG x163183

Web image not currently available

Sir George Henry Gater

by Walter Stoneman
negative, September 1941
NPG x163137

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Dr Ben Knighton

14 June 2019, 12:23

Brigadier-General Sir George Henry Gater (26 December 1886 – 14 January 1963) GCMG KCB DSO*JP was a senior British Army officer and civil servant. Gater was born in Southampton, the son of William Henry Gater, a solicitor, and his wife, Ada Mary Welch.[1] He was educated at Twyford School, Winchester College and New College, Oxford.[2] After he achieved fourth in classical moderations (1907), he graduated with a second-class degree in modern history in 1909, and then took a diploma in education. He trained as a teacher, and became Director of Education for Nottinghamshire County Council in 1911. WWI hon. Brig.-Gen.Director of Education in Lancashire between 1919 and 1924, in charge of 4,000 teachers and 118,000 children in the Lancashire school system. He moved to London in 1924, succeeding Robert Blair as the second Director of Education at London County Council until 1933, with 480,000 children in its schools. He spent much time reorganising and rebuilding the school system in London after the Geddes Axe of 1921. He advocated the development of Bloomsbury for the University of London.
In 1933 he succeeded Sir Montagu Cox as Clerk to London County Council. He was knighted in 1936.[12]
In July 1939, he became Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Home Security and subsequently served as Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from February 1940, but then transferred to the Ministry of Supply in May 1940, and then back to the Ministry of Home Security in October 1940, finally returning to the Colonial Office in April 1942-7. In later parts of the war he was involved in secret deliberations of the British government regarding possible postwar solutions to the question of Palestine and had contacts with the Zionist leader Chaim Weitzman.
He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in June 1941,[13] and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in January 1944.[14]
He became a Fellow at Winchester College in 1936, and he was Warden of Winchester College from 1951 to 1959.[15] In addition, he was a Justice of the Peace.
He married Irene (née Nichols) in 1926. She was the daughter of John Bowyer Buchanan Nichols; one of her brothers was the poet Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols. They had one son. He lived near Oxford in retirement.