Sir John Warburton Paul GCMG, OBE, MC
Former Governor-General (acting) of The Bahamas
Sir John Warburton Paul was a British government official, best known as a prolific administrator for 20 years of various British overseas territories around the world. He is probably most notable for being the last British administrator of the Gambia and the Bahamas as they gained independence during his service in those countries.
Early life and education
John Warburton Paul was born on March 29 1916 at Weymouth, Dorset. He came from a farming family, but his father, after losing an arm in the Boer War, had given up the land to run the Victoria Hotel in Weymouth.
Paul was educated at Weymouth College and Selwyn College, Cambridge. He was commissioned into the Royal Tank Corps Supplementary Reserve in 1937 and into the regular Royal Tank Regiment in 1938. He won a Military Cross for his bravery during the German invasion of France in 1940. However, he was captured by the Germans in 1940 and was a prisoner of war until the end of the war in 1945. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1941 and Captain in 1946 and resigned his commission in 1947. He then entered colonial administration, serving in Sierra Leone in various positions until that country’s independence in 1961. He was knighted in 1962.
He served as governor of the Gambia from 1962 to 1965, when it gained independence, and then served as the first governor-general of the Gambia until 1966 when he was replaced by a Gambian. He then went to British Honduras (now Belize) of which he served as governor until 1972. He dealt with demonstrations which were sparked by rumours that the territory would be annexed by Guatemala.
Paul then went to the Bahamas where he worked for one year. He served as governor until that country gained independence on 10 July 1973. He then served as acting governor-general of the Bahamas until the end of that month.
As Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man from 1974 to 1980, his final posting, Paul was greatly liked on the island, both personally and for his skills as an administrator. After his retirement, Paul served as director of overseas relations for St John Ambulance (1981-89) and as a governor of Pangbourne College (1981-86).
Paul enjoyed painting, and took it up seriously after he retired to Sherfield on Loddon in Hampshire. He produced watercolours - landscapes, churches, boats - and held exhibitions in aid of local charities.
Homors and awards
John Paul was appointed OBE in 1959; KCMG in 1962; and GCMG in 1965.
Paul married (Kathleen) Audrey Weeden in 1946. They had three daughters and were married for 58 years, until he died in March 2004. Audrey died in December 2004.
Sir John Paul died on 31 March 2004 at age 88.