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Edwin Hartley Cameron Leather

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Subject: North Somerset (UK Parliament constituency), List of Royal Military College of Canada people
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Edwin Hartley Cameron Leather

Sir Edwin Leather
Governor of Bermuda
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Richard Sharples
Succeeded by Peter Ramsbotham
Member of Parliament
for North Somerset
In office
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Paul Dean
Personal details
Born 22 May 1919
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Died 5 April 2005(2005-04-05) (aged 85)
Political party Conservative
Military service
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Toronto Scottish and Royal Canadian Artillery.
Awards Knight Bachelor
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Venerable Order of Saint John

Sir Edwin Hartley Cameron "Ted" Leather, KCMG, KCVO (22 May 1919 – 5 April 2005) was a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom, and Governor of Bermuda.


Sir Edwin H. C. Leather was born in Toronto, Canada. He was educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario in 1937.

He was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Bath in 1976.[1]


During the Second World War, Captain Leather served with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, Canadian Army in England and Europe. He was badly injured in a practice jump when his parachute failed to open. He rejoined his Battalion for D-day. He served in Europe during World War II with the Toronto Scottish and Royal Canadian Artillery.[2] He wrote a manual for the Home Guard called "Combat without Weapons".[3] He worked as an insurance broker in England and was secretary of the Central London branch of the Association of Supervisory Staff, Executives and Technicians.

At the 1945 general election Leather stood without success in the Bristol South constituency, but at the 1950 general election he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for North Somerset. He was a backbencher throughout the period of Conservative governments from 1951–1964. He supported the Unions, and held office in the Association of Supervisory Staff, Executives and Technicians and supported the miners. [4] Leather never held political office but was a popular speaker at Party Conference and other events, as well as on radio and television. He was a One Nation Tory; he forcefully opposed racism and supported the European Union.

Leather was proposed for knighthood but, still a Canadian citizen, required the support of the Canadian government which had not made any honour recommendation for some years; Prime Minister John Diefenbaker declined to support the recommendation. He was eventually knighted in 1962 when he was made a Knight bachelor, having taken British citizenship. He quit Westminster in 1964 because of illness. Poor health and the low pay for MPs forced Leather to retire from Parliament at the 1964 general election and enter business. He returned to the political scene a few years later, as vice-chairman of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, taking a leading role in fund raising and at Party Conference. In 1973, following the murder of Sir Richard Sharples, Leather was appointed Governor of Bermuda. Despite the assassination of his predecessor and an aide, he lived informally and mixed with locals; he continued to live in Bermuda after his retirement in 1977. He got in trouble with the chief of police for recklessly riding his bicycle on the island of Bermuda.[5] He became the local representative of N M Rothschild & Sons and wrote several thrillers. As Governor, his nickname was "Imperial Leather", a pun on his surname, position and the famous brand of soap.

He was appointed KCMG in 1974 and in 1975 became the first Canadian to be appointed KCVO since the future 1st Lord Shaughnessy in 1907. Leather was an active freemason and an Anglican lay reader. During his time as Governor of Bermuda, Sir Edwin made a significant effort to include a number of influential Bermudians as part of the vice-regal household. Among them were Rev. Thomas N. Nisbett, Bermuda's first Black Anglican priest (later Canon Thomas Nisbett), and Major Eugene Raynor, who became Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment, Bermuda's armed forces.

He was an accomplished gymnast and founded the International Sports Fellowship.


Edwin Leather's parents were Harold and Grace Leather. Leather married Sheila Greenlees in 1940; they had two daughters. Leather's home was Park House, Batheaston.[6] During the First World War Harold Leather served in East Africa with the Army Service Corps, finishing the war as a Lieutenant. Upon his return to Canada he established Leather Cartage in Hamilton Ontario. During the Second World War Harold was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (1943) for his work in coordinating the Red Cross parcel scheme in Canada. He would go on to become Chairman of the Canadian Red Cross Society.


  • Sir Edwin Leather monograph, 'Memorandum on a Choice of Countries', 1943.
  • Sir Edwin Leather 'Human Nature and the Profit Motive', ts. draft for book begun 12 April 1943. The novel features the character, Rupert Conway, of Leather's previous three novels.
  • Sir Edwin Leather 'Combat without Weapons', handbook, Aldershot: Gale & Polden, 1942 [7]

See also Nickle Resolution.

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(new constituency)
Member of Parliament for North Somerset
Succeeded by
Paul Dean
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Sharples
Governor of Bermuda
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Ramsbotham



  • Preston, Adrian & Dennis, Peter (eds.) (1976) Swords and Covenants. Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield (#4237)
  • Preston, Richard Arthur (1969) To Serve Canada: a History of the Royal Military College of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (#H16511)
    • Preston, Richard Arthur (1982) Canada's RMC: a History of Royal Military College; 2nd ed. (#H16511)
  • Preston, Richard Arthur (1968) R.M.C. and Kingston: the effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community. Kingston, Ontario (#H16511)
  • Smith, R. Guy C. (ed.) (1984) As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember. 2 vols. Volume I: 1876–1918. Volume II: 1919–1984. Kingston, Ont.: RMC; The R.M.C. Club of Canada (#H1877)

External links

  • Sir Edwin Leather – Obituaries, News – The Independent
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