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Neville Chamberlain

Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement on 30 September 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, which marked the beginning of World War II, Chamberlain announced the declaration of war on Germany two days and led Great Britain through the first eight months of the war until his resignation as prime minister on 10 May 1940. After working in business and local government, after a short spell as Director of National Service in 1916 and 1917, Chamberlain followed his father, Joseph Chamberlain, older half-brother, Austen Chamberlain, in becoming a Member of Parliament in the 1918 general election for the new Birmingham Ladywood division at the age of 49, he declined a junior ministerial position, remaining a backbencher until 1922.

He was promoted in 1923 to Minister of Health and Chancellor of the Exchequer. After a short-lived Labour-led government, he returned as Minister of Health, introducing a range of reform measures from 1924 to 1929, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the National Government in 1931. Chamberlain succeeded Stanley Baldwin as prime minister on 28 May 1937, his premiership was dominated by the question of policy towards an aggressive Germany, his actions at Munich were popular among the British at the time. In response to Hitler's continued aggression, Chamberlain pledged Great Britain to defend Poland's independence if the latter were attacked, an alliance that brought his country into war after the German invasion of Poland; the failure of Allied forces to prevent the German invasion of Norway caused the House of Commons to hold the historic Norway Debate in May 1940. Chamberlain's conduct of the war was criticised by members of all parties and, in a vote of confidence, his government's majority was reduced.

Accepting that a national government supported by all the main parties was essential, Chamberlain resigned the premiership because the Labour and Liberal parties would not serve under his leadership. Although he still led the Conservative Party, he was succeeded as prime minister by his colleague Winston Churchill; until ill health forced him to resign on 22 September 1940, Chamberlain was an important member of the war cabinet as Lord President of the Council, heading the government in Churchill's absence. Chamberlain died at 71 six months after leaving the premiership. Chamberlain's reputation remains controversial among historians, the initial high regard for him being eroded by books such as Guilty Men, published in July 1940, which blamed Chamberlain and his associates for the Munich accord and for failing to prepare the country for war. Most historians in the generation following Chamberlain's death held similar views, led by Churchill in The Gathering Storm; some historians have taken a more favourable perspective of Chamberlain and his policies, citing government papers released under the Thirty Year Rule and arguing that going to war with Germany in 1938 would have been disastrous as the UK was unprepared.

Nonetheless, Chamberlain is still unfavourably ranked amongst British Prime Ministers. Chamberlain was born on 18 March 1869 in a house called Southbourne in the Edgbaston district of Birmingham, he was the only son of the second marriage of Joseph Chamberlain, who became Mayor of Birmingham and a Cabinet minister. His mother was Florence Kenrick, cousin to William Kenrick MP. Joseph Chamberlain had had Austen Chamberlain, by his first marriage. Neville Chamberlain was educated at home by his elder sister Beatrice Chamberlain and at Rugby School. Joseph Chamberlain sent Neville to Mason College, now University of Birmingham. Neville Chamberlain had little interest in his studies there, in 1889 his father apprenticed him to a firm of accountants. Within six months he became a salaried employee. In an effort to recoup diminished family fortunes, Joseph Chamberlain sent his younger son to establish a sisal plantation on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Neville Chamberlain spent six years there but the plantation was a failure, Joseph Chamberlain lost £50,000.

On his return to England, Neville Chamberlain entered business, purchasing Hoskins & Company, a manufacturer of metal ship berths. Chamberlain served as managing director of Hoskins for 17 years during which time the company prospered, he involved himself in civic activities in Birmingham. In 1906, as Governor of Birmingham's General Hospital, along with "no more than fifteen" other dignitaries, Chamberlain became a founding member of the national United Hospitals Committee of the British Medical Association. At forty, Chamberlain was expecting to remain a bachelor, but in 1910 he fell in love with Anne Cole, a recent connection by marriage, married her the following year, they met through his Aunt Lilian, the Canadian-born widow of Joseph Chamberlain's brother Herbert, who in 1907 had married Anne Cole's uncle Alfred Clayton Cole, a director of the Bank of England. She encouraged and supported his entry into local politics and was to be his constant companion and trusted colleague sharing his interests in housing and other political and social activities after his election as an MP.

The couple had a daughter. Chamberlain showed little interest in politics, though his father and half-brother were in Parliament. During the "Khaki election" of 1900 he made speeches in su

Reginald W. James

Reginald William James, FRS was a student and teacher of physics in England and South Africa. He is best known for his service in the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1916, for which he was awarded the Silver Polar Medal. James was born on 9 January 1891 in London. After displaying adolescent skills as a maths prodigy, he was awarded a stipend to pursue studies in St. John's College, Cambridge. James signed on as an expedition physicist in the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, which departed England on the Endurance in August 1914, his journal of life on a Weddell Sea ice floe and on Elephant Island survives. Upon the rescue of the men from Elephant Island in 1916, James found his country fighting World War I, he joined the Royal Engineers, rising to the rank of captain and performing tasks relating to artillery spotting on the Western Front. With the coming of peace, James turned to academia at the University of Manchester, he was a lecturer in 1919, a senior lecturer in 1921, a Reader in 1934.

He specialised in problems of X-ray crystallography.1936–1937 saw a change in James' personal and professional life. In the first year he married Annie Watson, in the second year he changed institutions to the University of Cape Town, which offered him the rank of professor. One of his MSc students there was Aaron Klug, his professional career reached culmination in 1953–1957 when he served as Vice-Chancellor of the university. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1955. James began the process of his retirement in 1958 and, beset by progressive cardiovascular disease, wound down his teaching duties over the following five years, he died in Cape Town at age 73 on 7 July 1964, was survived by three children

William Binnington Boyce

William Binnington Boyce was an English-born philologist and clergyman, active in Australia. Boyce was born at Beverley, England, is mother's family were Wesleyans. Boyce studied commerce at Kingston upon Hull, he entered the Wesleyan ministry and in 1830 was sent to Buntingvale, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa with instructions to compile a grammar of the Kaffir language. He did this while working as a missionary and published it in 1834 under the title of A Grammar of the Kafir Language. A second edition, A Grammar of the Kaffir Language expanded and improved with Vocabulary and Exercises by William J. Davis, was published in 1844, a third in 1863. Boyce was recalled to England in 1843, serving at a church at Lancashire for two years. Boyce was sent to Australia as general superintendent of the Wesleyan missions, he arrived at Sydney in January 1846, carried on his work vigorously, was elected president of the first Wesleyan conference held in Australia. In August 1847 he published the weekly Gleaner.

He published in 1849 A Brief Grammar of Modern Geography, For the Use of Schools. In 1850 he was appointed one of the original sixteen members of the senate of the University of Sydney and took a special interest in the formation of the university library. Brusque at times, he had little time for'unthinking parrots who repeat without understanding the dogmas and sayings of the popularities of the day'. In 1859 Boyce resigned and went to England to become one of the general secretaries of foreign missions, he edited in 1874 a Memoir of the Rev. William Shaw, in the same year appeared Statistics of Protestant Missionary Societies, 1872-3. Boyce took up church work again, he was a busy man doing much lecturing during the week and preaching three times on a Sunday. He found time to do considerable literary work and brought out two important books, The Higher Criticism and the Bible, an Introduction to the Study of History. Early in 1885, at a dinner party in Sydney, he met J. A. Froude, much attracted to him.

Working until the end, with his mind in full vigour, Boyce died at Glebe, Sydney on 8 March 1889 and was buried in the Wesleyan section of Rookwood cemetery. He was married twice to a daughter of James Bowden and to a daughter of the Hon. George Allen and was survived by four daughters by the first marriage, he presented two thousand volumes from his own library to the Wesleyan Theological Institution at Stanmore. Boyce's Grammar of the Kaffir Language had special value as it formed the basis on which much of the study of other South African languages was built, his volume on The Higher Criticism and the Bible, his Introduction to the Study of History, were both excellent books of their period, his organizing power was shown in his bringing the Wesleyan Church in Australia to the state when it could free itself from requiring help from the missionary society in England. A grandson, William Ralph Boyce Gibson, was professor of mental and moral philosophy at the university of Melbourne from 1911 to 1934 and was the author of several philosophical works.

He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Boyce Gibson, born in 1900. A distant relative, born in 1994, Adam D. Binnington is a lecturer of Spanish in the town of Scarborough. Rothwell Lodge and Factory Serle, Percival. "Boyce, William Binnington". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Additional sources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography: J. Colwell, The Illustrated History of Methodism J. Colwell, A Century in the Pacific Weekly Advocate, 16 Mar 1889 Nathaniel Turner journal, 1853 Henry Parkes letters Wesleyan Methodist Australian District minutes, 1851-54 Wesleyan Methodist Conference, New South Wales and Queensland, 1890