Lieutenant General Sir Edric Montague Bastyan, KCMG, KCVO, KBE, CB (5 April 1903 – 6 October 1980) was a senior British Army officer, who became Governor of South Australia from 4 April 1961 until 1 June 1968 then Governor of Tasmania from 2 December 1968 until 30 November 1973. He was the last British person to be governor of either state.

Military career

After studies at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Bastyan was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the British Army's Sherwood Foresters on 30 August 1923,[1] and promoted to lieutenant on 30 August 1925.[2] He was promoted to captain in the West Yorkshire Regiment on 4 April 1935[3] and attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1936–1937, transferring to the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1937, and seeing service in Palestine from 1938–1939.[4] Bastyan was promoted to major on 30 August 1940.[5]

From November 1939 to June 1941, during the Second World War, Bastyan served as a GSO II in Palestine with the Royal Irish Fusiliers[4] and was mentioned in despatches in March 1941.[6] He served as assistant quarter-master general in the Middle East from July 1941 to May 1942, subsequently as deputy director of the Higher Commander's Course from May to October of that year.[4] Bastyan was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in September 1942,[7] by which time he was a temporary lieutenant colonel. He was promoted to temporary brigadier the following month and confirmed as a war substantive lieutenant colonel in November 1942. Bastyan served as a temporary brigadier (quartermaster) from then until January 1944, when he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[8] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in August 1944.[9]

In December 1944, Bastyan was appointed an acting major general (Administration, Allied Land Forces, South East Asia).[10] He was promoted to colonel in July 1945,[4] and confirmed as temporary major general in October 1946.[11] After the war, Bastyan served as General Officer Commanding the British Army of the Rhine until 1948, after which he worked at the War Office through 1952. He was promoted to substantive major-general on 26 January 1948, with seniority from 13 April 1946.[12]

During his military career, senior posts held by him included head of logistics during the Berlin airlift (1946–48) and Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong from 1957 to 1960. He retired from the British Army in 1960 and was appointed Governor of South Australia on 4 April 1961.

Vice-Regal career

On two occasions during his period as governor in South Australia, the elections did not result in a clear majority. In both 1962 and 1968, rather than make a precipitate decision to select the premier from the party with the largest minority (and more than 50% of the votes), he bided time and waited for parliament to meet. In both cases, the quick decision would have turned out to be wrong, and the South Australian House of Assembly selected the premier from the other party. In 1962, this allowed the Liberal and Country League Playford government to continue rather than the Labor Party led by Frank Walsh. In 1968, the Labor government of Don Dunstan lost to the Liberal and Country League led by Steele Hall. Without this leadership from the governor, there would likely have been a need for another election much sooner.

Bastyan's term in office in Tasmania was relatively uneventful, though he did have to deal, after the 1969 State election, with a deadlocked House of Assembly where both the ALP and Liberals had the same number of seats. The matter was resolved by Kevin Lyons, the lone representative of the tiny Centre Party entering into a coalition with the Liberals. Bastyan returned to Adelaide in his retirement.


  1. ^ "No. 32858". The London Gazette. 31 August 1923. pp. 5910–5911.
  2. ^ "No. 33080". The London Gazette. 1 September 1925. p. 5767.
  3. ^ "No. 34158". The London Gazette. 4 April 1935. p. 2983.
  4. ^ a b c d Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen (2015). "British Army Officers 1939–1945 (Barton to Best)". WWII Unit Histories & Officers. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  5. ^ "No. 34934". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 August 1940. p. 5271.
  6. ^ "No. 35120". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 March 1941. p. 1871.
  7. ^ "No. 35697". The London Gazette. 8 September 1942. p. 3945.
  8. ^ "No. 36317". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1944. p. 149.
  9. ^ "No. 36679". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 August 1944. p. 4043.
  10. ^ "No. 36877". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 1945. p. 213.
  11. ^ "No. 37886". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 February 1947. p. 850.
  12. ^ "No. 38197". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 February 1948. p. 889.


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Stratton
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Roderick McLeod
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert George
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Sir James Harrison
Preceded by
Sir Charles Gairdner
Governor of Tasmania
Succeeded by
Sir Stanley Burbury