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Sir Sebastian Edmund Chauncer KCMG, KBE, CB, PC, was an Eduardan politician who served as the country's first Prime Minister and fourth Governor-General, making him the only person ever to hold both positions; as well as the third British Resident of the Mandate of New Swabia.
During his tenure as Governor-General, he oversaw the Antarctic Campaign of World War II, and became the first native-born Eduardan to hold the office. He received the Antarctic Tuzelmann Award in 1926 for his leadership in the Eduardan self-determination movement.
Early life and family
- See also: Chauncer family
Chauncer came from an Aristocratic family who were the Governing family of the New Perthshire colony, and had been since its establishment in the early 1830s. At the time of his birth on the 19th of January, 1888, his father, Lord Ludwell Chauncer, was ruling as its fourth Governor. As Sebastian was younger than his two brothers, James and Cecil, he was unlikely to inherit his father's position as Lord of New Perthshire.
A common (but disputable) story holds that, when Chauncer's mother was pregnant with him, her water unexpectedly broke during a Garden Party, effectively ruining the event (in the eyes of the puritan Victorian culture of the day); and that he was consequently very awkward and uneasy at social events for the rest of his life.
In the biography A Quiet Fellow, which interviewed many people who knew Chauncer, he was described by a childhood friend as "Friendly, good-natured and unshakeably positive; but also exceptionally quiet, and even rather shy. In short, he was the last person one would expect to go into politics".
World War I
In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, 26-year-old Chauncer enlisted in the British Antarctic Colonial force. This was highly uncharacteristic, as he was a quiet figure, with no real leadership ability, and he generally avoided confrontations of all kinds. It is commonly believed that he enlisted solely to impress Violet Stewart, a woman who he had been unsuccessfully courting for years — and who did in fact marry Chauncer towards the end of the War.
Due to his status as the son of a Lord, Chauncer was permitted to enter the Army directly as an officer (more specifically, a Captain); and was introduced to Sir William Bullen, the supreme commander of the Commonwealth forces in Antarctica. Bullen found Chauncer unimpressive and ineffectual — writing a report on the newly-commissioned officer, he said that Chauncer had "no discernible talent; no capability for strategic thought; nor any inclination or ability to lead frontline troops. He will, no doubt, be put to some use in administration or supply."
Chauncer was indeed posted to Supply, and tasked with expanding the Interior Antarctic railroad system, as well as constructing foundations for highways in the region. While Chauncer's work had little impact on the war effort (very few troops and supplies passed through the rural regions where his roads were built); he did lay the foundations for New Devon's "Railway Resolution" of the 1920s.
He saw little combat during the war, only engaging in two actual firefights; both of them against small expeditionary forces of New Swabian troops, backed up by Mustaks and a handful of Santiagan infantrymen.
In 1914, while overseeing the repair of a railroad bridge, Chauncer had a brief chance meeting with Lt. Daniel Quilt, whose platoon was being deployed to Santiago via the same railroad. Quilt and Chauncer both went on to become prominent leaders at roughly the same time.