Sir Frederic Metcalfe, K.C.B.

The Times 5th June 1965

Sir Frederic Metcalfe, K.C.B.
On VE-Day, 8th May 1945, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, leads the House of Commons ‘to give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination’ at St. Margaret’s, Westminster: Frederic Metcalfe is second from left wearing medals

Sir Frederic Metcalfe, K.C.B., Clerk of the House of Commons from 1948 to 1954, died on Thursday.

Frederic William Metcalfe was born on December 4, 1886, the son of W.P. Metcalfe, of Ceylon and Stone Hall, Oxted and was educated at Wellington and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, of which he was elected an honorary fellow in 1953, a distinction which he greatly valued.

He joined the 6th Special Reserve Battalion of the Rifle Brigade in the Great War of 1914 to 1918 and served in France and Belgium. After the war he was appointed to the Department of the Clerk of the House of Commons as an Assistant Clerk in 1919. After only 11 years he went to the Table as Second Clerk Assistant in 1930, becoming Assistant Clerk in 1937. He was appointed Clerk of the House on the retirement of the late Lord Campion in 1948, and filled that historic office until 1954. His retirement in July of that year was marked by warm tributes to his 35 years of service from all quarters of the House. Patience, courtesy and friendliness were the qualities with which he made himself such a valued adviser on all matters of procedure to successive generations of members, and his service as a private in the Parliamentary Home Guard was affectionately remembered.

Metcalfe’s retirement from the British House of Commons did not, however, end his parliamentary career, for in 1955 he was made Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, and his long experience at Westminster was of great value in Lagos. His time there was marked by various important events, the most notable being the visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to that country in 1956, when it fell to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to read the loyal address. This was followed in 1960 by the State Opening of Parliament on October 3, 1960, by her Majesty’s special representative, Princess Alexandra of Kent.

He was made C.B. in 1939 and advanced to K.C.B. in 1949.

In his retirement Metcalfe was a welcome visitor to the House of Commons, where his many friends recall his love of golf, fishing, and music.

He married in 1919 Helen, daughter of C.J. Goodman, of Oxted, who survives him.