William Dudley Ward

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About William Dudley Ward


William Dudley Ward PC (14 October 1877 – 11 November 1946), was an English sportsman and Liberal politician.

Early life

Dudley Ward was born in London, the son of William Humble Dudley Ward and the great-grandson of William Humble Ward, 10th Baron Ward (see Earl of Dudley for further information on the Ward family.) His mother was the Honourable Eugenie Violet Adele Brett, daughter of William Brett, 1st Viscount Esher. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was secretary of the Pitt Club.

Sporting activities

Dudley Ward rowed for Cambridge in the Boat Race in 1897, when Oxford won. As President of Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC), he rowed in the winning Cambridge crews in the 1899 and 1900 Boat Races. At Henley Royal Regatta he was runner up in Silver Goblets in 1900 partnering Raymond Etherington-Smith. His crew won the Stewards' Challenge Cup in 1901. In 1902 he won the Grand Challenge Cup, the Stewards' Challenge Cup again, and the Silver Goblets partnering Claude Taylor. In 1903 his crew won the Stewards' and Grand again. Dudley Ward was also an accomplished sailor. He competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics and was a crew member of the British boat Sorais, which won the bronze medal in the 8 metre class.

Political career

Dudley Ward was returned to Parliament for Southampton in 1906, a seat he held until 1922, and served under H. H. Asquith as Treasurer of the Household from 1909 to 1912. During the First World War he was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, though this may have been a cover for his counter-espionage work for Admiral Sir William Reginald Hall, Director of Naval Intelligence. He served under David Lloyd George as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from 1917 to 1922. In 1922 he was admitted to the Privy Council.

Personal life

Dudley Ward reportedly "had a liking for the fleshpots and was known, on occasions, to turn up for training still dressed in white tie and tails." He married Winifred May "Freda" Birkin (better known under her married name of Freda Dudley Ward), daughter of Colonel Charles Wilfred Birkin, in 1913. She was a socialite and mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales. The marriage produced two daughters, of whom the eldest, Penelope Dudley-Ward, was a leading actress in the 1930s and 1940s. The couple were divorced in 1931. After retiring from politics he divided his time between England and Canada. He died in Calgary in November 1949, aged 69, after an operation. Freda remarried in 1937 and died in March 1983, aged 88.

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William Dudley Ward's Timeline

October 14, 1877
Age 36
May 25, 1916
Age 38
November 11, 1946
Age 69
Age 68