Sir Geoffrey Francis Archer

Archer was appointed Governor of Uganda in 1923 and made his first priority the control of 19,000 highly destructive elephants in the colony.

He took an interest in education of the native people, asking for advice on the curriculum, buildings, organization and so on, although he was limited in what he could achieve by shortage of funds.

Archer founded a department of education in Uganda and appointed a director. However, due to doubts that the local Ugandans could handle higher education the establishment at Makerere Hill in Kampala only gave training for low-level clerical work. Archer himself wanted the locals to gain the higher education needed for senior positions so the administration would have to depend less on Indians.

Archer's theories of education were typical of the British colonial administration. He wrote: "For Native Administration the qualities of scholarship and academic attainment are not to be prized so highly as the leadership of men. Brilliance in debate can hardly equal the initial advantage gained in youth by having led in the field a body of well trained and disciplined young men of similar age".

The assassination of the Governor General of Sudan in 1924 meant that he was called unexpectedly to take over that role. He actually travelled to Sudan from Uganda by foot to take up his new appointment.

Archer's long retirement was spent first in business in India and later in the south of France. His east African experience resulted in two books: The Birds of British Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden, with E. A. Bodman (4 vols., 1938'1960): and Personal and Historical Memoirs of an East African Administrator (1963). Archer died on 1 May 1964 at Palais des Dunes, La Croisette, Cannes, France.

Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery

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