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Hubert Rance

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Major General Sir Hubert Elvin Rance

 

Fifteenth Governor of Trinidad and Tobago 

Was born in 1898 and died 1974.

He joinded the British Army in 1916 and fought in World War I, with the Worchestershire Regiment.

He transferred to the Signal Corps and in World War II played a part in the evacuation of Dunkirk in a senior role with the British Expeditionary Force.

He held a senior post in the War Office directing army training.

He was appointed Director of Civil Affairs in Burma in 1945, restoring British control after Japanese forces withdrew. Reginald Dorman-Smith was appointed Governor in 1946 but the becasue of threat of unrest and under the advise of Lord Mountbattern of Burma, He was called to replace Dorman-Smith.

 

He became the last British Governor of Burma in August of 1946.

He made an agreement with Aung San that independence would come as soon as possible with elections in April. With the hope of a smooth handover of power allowing the United Kingdom to retain some influence.

This was threatened when Aung San was assassinated in July. However his prompt action in making U Nu prime minister within hours was the factor in avoiding greater upheaval.

In a ceremony on the 4th January 1948, he handed over to Sao Shwe Thaik, the President of Burma with U Nu as Prime Minister.

He left Burma in 1948, he also retired from the army with his formal title Major General Sir Hubert Elvin Rance.

On the 19th April 1950, he became British Governor of Trinidad and Tobago.

In 1951, he suggested to the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra  (TAPSO), (the group came about as a result of the violence that was rampant among the steelbands in the late 1940's and 1950's), represent the colony at the summer festival.

 

Summer Festival of Britain. Which consisted of and exposition of arts, crafts, exhibitions and cultural events from all over the United Kingdom, which included its colonial possessions.

This suggestion was supported by influential organisations and individuals who had been campaigning for the steelband and felt that an appearance would help in struggle for respectability.

 

Eleven members were selected Theo Stephens, Belgrave Bonaparte, Andrew De La Bastide, Philmore "Boots" Davidson, Orman 'Patsy" Haynes, Winston "Spree" Simon, Dudley Smith, Ellie Mannette, Sterling Betancourt, Granville Sealey, and Anthony Williams. All ping-pong players.

 

With the help of Lieutenant Nathaniel Joseph Griffith, with the help of tuners he imposed a chromatic, melodic progression on the instruments in the band.

Tunes in their repetoire were Tosselli's Serenade, After Johnny Drink Mih Rum, Jamaican Rhumba, Golden Earrings, Mambo Jambo and God Save The Queen.

There first Festival performance on July 26th 1951 on London's South Bank Exhibition grounds. From there long voyage the pans were rusty, the reaction of the curious crowd was polite but doubtful that the instruments could produce music of high quality. But their doubt were not for long. Reports stated that "jaws dropped and eyes widened as the first sweet notes were struck and the ban swung into Mambo Jambo".

When the story of the performance reached the news papers the writer discribed the performance in the article as "first class", "wonderfully skilled playing" and "virtuoso jazz". This changed the status of steelbands and is considered a landmark event.

He is the author of two reports published by the Colonial Office in London. 

Development and Welfare in the West Indies 1947 to 1949.

Report of the British Caribbean Standing Closer Association Committee 1948 to 1949.

Hubert Rance Street in Vistabella, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago was named in his honour.