Lord MacLehose of Beoch (Crawford Murray MacLehose)

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LORD MacLehose was a colonial governer who had the task of preparing Hong Kong for Chinese rule. He succeeded in creating a more relaxed and informal atmosphere at Government House and won the confidence of the locals.

Crawford Murray MacLehose was born into an Ayrshire family and after Rugby School attended Balliol College, Oxford. In 1939 he joined the Colonial Service and his first overseas posting was to Malaya where he decided to learn Chinese.

His first major posting came in 1948 when he was sent to Hankow, before being transferred to Europe to work on the Marshall Plan. He spent some time at the paris Embassy but returned to the foreign office to work with the Foreign Secretary.

MacLehose was appointed as our ambassador in Saigon in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam war, and he successfully maintained the resident Americans' goodwill. After a period in Denmark, he was made Governor of Hong Kong in 1971. MacLehose found that the city's industry and agriculture was slow and corruption was rife. He undertook a series of reforms including setting up a housing authority and upgrading the dilapidated infrastructure.

After his retirement in 1982 he returned to Ayrshire where he farmed sheep near Maybole. He was created a Knight of the Thistle in 1983, made a KCMG in 1971, a KCVO in 1975, a GMBE in 1976 and Deputy Lieutenant of Ayr and Arran in 1983.