NORRIE, First Baron; Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.B., D.S.O., M.C., K.St.J.
Eighth Governor-General of New Zealand
Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie was born on 26 September 1893, the eldest son of Major George Edward Moke Norrie and of Beatrice, daughter of Andrew Stephen. He was educated at Eton and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In 1913 he joined the 11th Hussars and served in the First World War where he was awarded the D.S.O., the M.C. and Bar, was twice mentioned in dispatches, and was wounded four times. He became, successively, a Staff Captain in the 73rd Infantry Brigade; third General Staff Officer in the XVIIIth Army Corps; Brigade Major in the 90th Infantry Brigade, and in the 2nd Tank Brigade; and second General Staff Officer in the 2nd Tank Corps.
After the war Lord Norrie attended Staff College. From 1926 to 1930 he was Brigade Major of the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot and commanded the 10th Royal Hussars (1931–35) before being appointed to command, with the substantive rank of Colonel, the 1st Cavalry Brigade (1936–38). He commanded the 1st Armoured Brigade from 1938 to 1940 and, in the latter year, was appointed Inspector of the Royal Armoured Corps. Later in the same year he became General Officer Commanding the 1st Armoured Division and, in 1941, was promoted to a similar position with the 30th Corps in the Middle East. In 1943 he commanded the Royal Armoured Corps and was Colonel of the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales Own) from 1943 to 1949.
As Sir Willoughby Norrie, K.C.M.G., he became Governor of South Australia and held office from 1944 until 1952. At the end of his term he was appointed to succeed Lord Freyberg as Governor-General of New Zealand and assumed office on 2 December 1952. To mark the Royal Visit in 1954 he was created G.C.V.O. and, at the close of his term on 25 July 1957, he was elevated to the peerage, when he adopted the style “Baron Norrie of Wellington, New Zealand, and Upton, Co. Gloucester”.
Lord Norrie has many interests. He has been a member of the National Hunt Committee since 1935, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 1948, President of the Combined Cavalry Old Comrades since 1959, and, since 1960, Chancellor of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He is a Knight in the Order of St. John, a keen amateur magician, and owns a racing stud farm.
Lord Norrie married, first, on 9 June 1922, Jocelyn Helen (who died 7 March 1938), daughter of Richard Henry Gosling; and, secondly, on 28 November 1938, Patricia Merryweather, D.St.J., daughter of Emerson Bainbridge, M.P. He has one son and one daughter by his first marriage and, by his second, one son and two daughters.