Sir Leo Victor de Gale, GCMG
Former Governor-General of Grenada
Sir Leo de Gale was the first Governor General of Grenada. He was appointed when the island became independent on 7 February 1974, and served until 30 September 1978.
Early life and education
Leo Victor de Gale was born on 28 December 1921, in the parish of St. Andrew, Grenada, to George Victor De Gale, well know agriculturist, and his wife Marie Leonie. Sir Leo was a qualified Land Surveyor and Public Accountant and held diplomas in accountancy and business administration. His early education was received at the Grenada Boy’s Secondary School (GBSS) after which he attended the Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Canada.
During World War II, Sir Leo served from 1940 to 1945 as a gunner with the first Canada Survey Regiment (Royal Canadian Artillery) in Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Britain and Canada, following which he returned to Grenada in 1945.
He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star; the Italian Campaign Star; the France and Germany Star; the Canadian Volunteer Medal; the Defence of Britain Medal; and the Victory Medal. In the business world, he served as chairman of the Grenada Breweries Ltd., and director of a number of Commercial and Agricultural companies until January 1974.
From 1951 to 1954, Sir Leo held a commission in the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary and his public record includes service as President of the Catholic Men’s Society, Member of the West India Committee, and Member of the West Indies Associated States Judicial and Legal Services Commission.
He was a member of the Public Service Commission from 1960 to 1966 and served as chairman from 1966 to 1974. He was the first director of the Red Cross in Grenada from 1960 to 1965. Sir Leo also served as Chairman of the Grenada Banana Co-operative Society; a member of the Government Loan Board from 1960 to 1970; Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Grenada Boy’s Secondary School; and was co-founder of the auditing firm of De Gale & Rapier from which he retired in 1964.
His term of office as Governor General ended in 1978 and soon after the revolution of 1979, he took up residency in Bristol, England.
Honours and awards
Queen Elizabeth II honoured Sir Leo twice, the first time being 1969 when he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). On the second occasion, in 1974, he was elevated to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG).
Death and legacy
Sir Leo died on 23 March 1986, aged 64.
On 23 July 2014, the family of the late Sir Leo De Gale presented to the Grenada National Museum and the people of Grenada, Sir Leo’s war medals (1939-1945 Star, the Italian Campaign Star, the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Medal, the Defence of Britain Medal, and the Victory Medal); Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and the Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George medals, as well as the official instruments of appointment issued to him when he became Acting Governor, Governor and then Governor General.