About Archibald Nye
Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Edward Nye, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, KCB, KBE, MC (23 April 1895 - 13 November 1967) was a British Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II. In the latter he served as Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
After World War II he served as Governor of Madras - after which appointment Nehru asked for him to stay on as High Commissioner in India. He subsequently served as High Commissioner to Canada.
Archibald Edward Nye was born on 23 April 1895 at Shipstreet Barracks, Dublin, to Charles Edward Nye and Mary Sexton. He was the second of three sons born to the couple who also had three daughters. Charles Edward Nye was a regimental sergeant major in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Nye was educated at the Duke of York's Royal Military School after the death of his father and desired to become a schoolmaster. But the First World War broke out at this juncture and Nye joined the army.
Nye went to France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 serving as an NCO. In 1915, he was selected for a commission in the Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment. Nye was wounded twice in action during the First World War. He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. The official citation for this ward reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on 20th October, 1918 near Esscher. He made a reconnaissance, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, of the forward positions along the whole battalion front adjusting a portion on his own initiative to complete the line. He was of great assistance to his commanding officer throughout the week's fighting.
When the Leinster Regiment was disbanded, Nye was transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment with a regular commission. Between the world wars he had a number of regimental appointments and attended the staff officer's course at Staff College, Camberley in 1924-25 which he successfully completed. In 1932, he completed his graduation in law and qualified as a barrister at the Inner Temple. From late 1937 to 1939 he commanded the 2nd battalion of his regiment.
In 1939 he was sent to India to raise a brigade and commanded the Nowshera Brigade from May 1939 to January 1940. In February 1940 he returned to London to take up the post of Deputy Director of Staff Duties, War Office and became Director of Staff Duties and an acting major-general that October. In December 1941, he became Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff and an acting lieutenant-general (the rank of major-general had been permanent in November 1941). His most important function in this role was to represent the CIGS, Alan Brooke, when he was unable to attend one of the many committees on which he sat such as the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Defence Committee (Operations), the War Cabinet and the Army Council. The enormous burdens placed on Brooke meant that he needed to delegate many of his tasks and for this he relied heavily on Nye. The partnership was highly successful and Nye remained in the job for the rest of the war. It could be said that while Brooke ran the war, Nye ran the army. His rank of lieutenant-general was made substantive in September 1944.
Governor of Madras
Nye was appointed Governor of Madras on 26 February 1946 and took charge on 5 May 1946 and served as Governor till 7 September 1948. The day prior to his appointment as Governor there was a major labour strike in Madras. The rest of his term was plagued by peasant uprisings all over the province. These rebellions were aided and abetted by the Communists who established miniature governments along the northern frontiers of the Presidency thereby demanding military action. Nye attributed their success to the "zeal and energy of young men who conducted their own newspapers and who preached the creed of expropriating landlords and distributing their land to needy and hungry labourers". Nye was also the Colonel-in-chief of the Madras Regiment from 10 August 1946 to 31 March 1949. The Recruits Training Centre was moved from Madukkarai near Coimbatore to Wellington in February 1947. Nye inaugurated the Madras offices of the British Council in July–August 1948. In November 1947, when Sir Frederick Gentle, the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court resigned over the Government of India order that the Chief Minister of the particular state should be consulted along with the Union Home Minister with regard to the selection of High Court judges, Nye expressed support for Gentle against political interference in appointment of judges.
Nye was strongly critical of Britain's efforts to admit India into the British Commonwealth. He felt that from the defence point of view, India would be "an ailing child who has literally, nothing, whatever to offer but who, on the other hand, constitutes a grave liability".
Nye was honoured with the GCIE in 1946 and the GCSI in 1947.
In 1939, Nye married divorcee Una Sheila Colleen, daughter of Sir Harry Hugh Sidney Knox. The couple had one daughter.
Nye was a keen billiards player and teetotaller.