Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis

Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, army officer, governor general (b at London, Eng 10 Dec 1891; d at Slough, Eng 16 June 1969). The last British governor general of Canada (1946-52) was born into the Irish aristocracy. A regimental officer in the Irish Guards during WWI, he had once hoped to be a professional artist, but the war made him a committed soldier.

By 1937 he was the youngest major-general in the British army. He led the 1st Division in France in 1940 and the rearguard at Dunkirk, directed the British-Chinese army's retreat from the Japanese invasion of Burma (1942), and from August 1942 was senior army commander in the Mediterranean. He was slated to become chief of the Imperial General Staff after the war, but British Prime Minister Winston Churchill claimed that "Canada is a much more important post."

Handsome, athletic, elegant, and assisted by a popular wife, Lady Margaret, Alexander made a strong public impression as governor general. At ease in an essentially ceremonial role, he travelled widely and led a relaxed life, with ample time to ski, fish and paint. On his return to England he was unenthusiastic minister of defence in the Churchill government 1952-54.