William Dudley Ward

For other people named William Ward, see William Ward (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
William Dudley Ward
Treasurer of the Household
In office
20 December 1909  21 February 1912
Monarch George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Sir Edward Strachey, Bt
Succeeded by Frederick Guest
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
9 December 1917  19 October 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Cecil Beck
Succeeded by Douglas Hacking
Personal details
Born 14 October 1877
London, England
Died 11 November 1946(1946-11-11) (aged 69)
Calgary, Canada
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Winifred May "Freda" Birkin
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Olympic medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
1908 London 8 Metre

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.[1]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.[2] At Cambridge, he was secretary of the Pitt Club.[3]

Sporting activities

William Dudley Ward as depicted by "Spy" (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, 29 March 1900.

Dudley Ward rowed for Cambridge in the Boat Race in 1897, when Oxford won and 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 (pairs' event) in 1900 with 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.[4]

In the 1908 Summer Olympics Dudley Ward was a crew member of the British boat Sorais which won the bronze medal in the 8 metre class.[5]

Political career

Dudley Ward was returned to Parliament for Southampton in 1906, a seat he held until 1922,[6] and served under H. H. Asquith as Treasurer of the Household from 1909[7] to 1912.[8] During World War I 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[9] to 1922.[10] In 1922 he was admitted to the Privy Council.[11]

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."[12] 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 elder, 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 1946, aged sixty-nine, after an operation. Freda remarried in 1937 and died in March 1983, aged eighty-eight.

See also


  1. Earl of Dudley for further information on the Ward family.
  2. "Ward, William Dudley (WRT896WD)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835–1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5.
  4. Henley Royal Regatta Results of Final Races 1839–1939
  5. Profile at www.databaseolympics.com
  6. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 3)
  7. The London Gazette: no. 28321. p. 9763. 24 December 1909.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 28583. p. 1339. 23 February 1912.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 30442. p. 13384. 21 December 1917.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 32770. p. 8292. 24 November 1922.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 32769. p. 8185. 21 November 1922.
  12. R. Burnell & G. Page, The Brilliants: A History of the Leander Club, p. 82
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir John Simeon, Bt
Tankerville Chamberlayne
Member of Parliament for Southampton
With: Sir Ivor Philipps
Succeeded by
Edwin King Perkins
Lord Apsley
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward Strachey, Bt
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Frederick Guest
Preceded by
Cecil Beck
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Douglas Hacking
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