Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
Field Marshal Viscount Allenby
|Born||23 April 1861
Brackenhurst, Nottinghamshire, England
|Died||14 May 1936 (aged 75)
|Years of service||1880–1925|
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG, GCVO (23 April 1861 – 14 May 1936) was an English soldier and British Imperial Governor. He fought in the Second Boer War, and also in World War I in which he led the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918, which culminated in the victory of the Battle of Megiddo. T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), whose campaign with the Arab irregulars aided the E.E.F's destruction of the Ottoman Empire in Palestine, commented on Allenby: "(He was) physically large and confident, and morally so great that the comprehension of our littleness came slow to him".
Early years and active service 
Born the son of Hynman Allenby and Catherine Anne Allenby (née Cane), Allenby was educated at Haileybury College. He had no great desire to be a soldier, and tried to enter the Indian Civil Service, failing the entry exam. He sat the exam for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1880, was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons on 10 May 1882 and joined his regiment in South Africa later that year. After serving at the cavalry depot in Canterbury, he was promoted to captain on 10 January 1888 and then returned to South Africa.
Allenby returned to Britain in 1890 and he sat – and failed – the entry exam for the Staff College in Camberley. Not deterred, he sat the exam again the next year and passed. Captain Douglas Haig of the 7th Hussars also entered the Staff College, at the same time, thus beginning a rivalry between the two that was to run until the First World War. Allenby was more popular with fellow officers, even being made Master of the Draghounds in preference to Haig who was the better rider; Allenby had already developed a passion for polo. James Edmonds, a contemporary, later claimed that the staff at Staff College thought Allenby dull and stupid but were impressed by a speech he gave to the Farmers’ Dinner, which had in fact been written for him by Edmonds and another.
Boer War 
At the outbreak of the Second Boer War, Allenby was returned to his regiment, and the Inniskillings were embarked at Queenstown before landing at Cape Town, South Africa, later that year. He took part in the actions at Colesberg on 11 January 1900, Klip Drift on 15 February 1900 and Dronfield Ridge on 16 February 1900.
While camped beside the Australian Light Horse outside Bloemfontein with Lord Roberts' army, the New South Wales Lancers with the rest of French's cavalry, waited to move. At this time both men and horses suffered continuously rainy weather and cases of enteric were taken away every day. Major Allenby, appointed to commanded the squadron of New South Wales Lancers, arrived one evening towards midnight. He was about to walk in on a rum soaked officers' mess, when he was intercepted by an acquaintance, (A. B. Paterson who later commanded Remounts during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War) who inform Allenby the mess were just drinking his health. He replied, "I heard you. But that's no excuse for keeping the whole camp awake. You tell them to be in bed with all lights out, in five minutes, or I'll have to do something about it."
Allenby went on take part in the actions at Zand River on 10 May 1900, Kalkheuval Pass on 3 June 1900, Barberton on 12 September 1900 and Tevreden on 16 October 1900 when the Boer General Jan Smuts was defeated. He was promoted to local lieutenant-colonel on 1 January 1901, local colonel on 29 April 1901, lieutenant-colonel on 2 August 1902 and brevet colonel on 22 August 1902.
Edwardian Period 
Allenby returned to Britain in 1902 and became commanding officer of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers in Colchester. Promoted to the substantive rank of colonel and to the temporary rank of brigadier general on 19 October 1905, Allenby assumed command of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in 1906. Promoted again to the rank of major-general on 10 September 1909 – due to his extensive cavalry experience, was appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry in 1910. His increasing tendency as his career progressed for sudden bellowing outbursts of explosive rage directed at his subordinates, combined with his powerful physical frame, led to the coining of his nickname as "The Bull".
World War I 
Western Front 
During the First World War he initially served on the Western Front. At the outbreak of war in August 1914 a British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to France, consisting of four infantry divisions and one cavalry division, the latter commanded by Allenby, which first saw action in semi-chaotic circumstances covering the retreat after the Battle of Mons opposing the German Army's invasion of France, and distinguished itself under Allenby's direction in the subsequent fighting with minimal resources at its disposal at the First Battle of Ypres. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant-general on 10 October 1914. As the BEF was expanded in size to two Armies, he was rewarded by being made commander of the Cavalry Corps. On 6 May 1915 Allenby voluntarily left the Cavalry Arm to take up command of V Corps which was engaged at that moment in severe fighting at Second Battle of Ypres; V Corps, whilst victorious in defeating the German Imperial Army's assault incurred controversially heavy losses in the process through Allenby's tactical policy of continual counter-attacks at the German attacking force. In September 1915, as an attempted diversion of German Army strength to facilitate the concurrent British Army offensive at Loos, V Corps under Allenby's direction executed a minor attack in the Hooge Sector in the Ypres Salient, which once again incurred substantial losses to its units involved in the affair. In October 1915 Allenby was promoted to lead the British Third Army., being made Lieutenant-General (substantive rank) on 1 January 1916. In mid-Summer 1916, in support of the launch of the Battle of the Somme offensive, he was the Army Commander with responsibility for the abortive assault by 3rd Army troops on the trench fortress of the Gommecourt salient, which failed with severe casualties to the units under his command in the operation. After weeks of heavy fighting during 3rd Army's offensive at the Battle of Arras in the Spring of the 1917, where an initial break-through had deteriorated into trench-fighting positional warfare once more with heavy casualties to 3rd Army's units involved, Allenby lost the confidence of his Commander-in-Chief Douglas Haig, and, having been promoted to full General on 3 June 1917, he was replaced at the head of 3rd Army on 9 June 1917 and returned to England.
Egypt and Palestine 
With Allied victory over Germany far from certain in May 1917, the allocation of British resources between the Western Front and other fronts was a matter of debate in the War Cabinet. Curzon and Hankey recommended that Britain seize ground in the Middle East. Lloyd George, who also wanted more effort on other fronts, wanted a commander “of the dashing type” to replace Sir Archibald Murray in command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Smuts refused the command (late May) unless promised resources for a decisive victory. Lloyd George appointed Allenby, telling him that his objective was “Jerusalem before Christmas” and that he had only to ask for reinforcements to get them. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff ("CIGS") Robertson believed that Western Front commitments (Third Ypres was in progress from 31 July until November) did not justify a serious attempt to capture Jerusalem, and throughout 1917 put pressure on Allenby to demand unrealistically large reinforcements in order to discourage the politicians from authorising Middle East offensives. Allenby’s exact remit was still undecided when he was appointed.
Shortly after his departure from England for the Middle East he learned that his son, Michael, had fallen in action on the Western Front. He arrived on 27 June 1917. He assessed the Turkish Army's fighting force that he was facing as 46,000 rifles and 2,800 sabres, and estimated that he could take Jerusalem with 7 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions, although he did not feel there was a sufficient purely military case to do so, and that he would need reinforcements to advance further. Allenby was eventually ordered to attack the Turks in southern Palestine, but the extent of his advance was not yet to be decided, advice which Robertson repeated in “secret and personal” notes (1 and 10 August).
Allenby quickly won the respect of his troops by making frequent visits to the E.E.F.'s front-line units, in a marked change from the leadership style of his predecessor Murray, who had commanded primarily from Cairo, and moved the E.E.F.'s GHQ from the Egyptian capital city to Rafah, nearer to the front lines at Gaza, and re-organized the hitherto disparate forces of the EEF into a three primary corps order of battle: XX, XXI & the Desert Mounted Corps. He also approved the utilization of Arabic irregular forces which were operating at that time to the Turkish Army's open left flank in the Arabian interior under the direction of a young British Army Intelligence Officer called T. E. Lawrence, whom he sanctioned the provision of £200,000 a month for to facilitate his work amongst the tribes involved.
In early October 1917 Robertson asked Allenby to state his extra troop requirements to advance from the Gaza-Beersheba line (30 miles wide) to the Jaffa-Jerusalem line (50 miles wide), urging him to take no chances in estimating the threat of a German-reinforced threat. Allenby’s estimate was that he would need 13 extra divisions (an impossible demand even if Haig’s forces went on the defensive) and that he might face 18 Turkish and 2 German divisions. Yet in private letters Allenby and Robertson agreed that sufficient British Empire troops were already in place to take and hold Jerusalem and in the event the Germans sent only 3 battalions to Palestine, and Turkish strength there was only 21,000 (out of 110,000 on all fronts) facing 100,000 British Empire troops.
Having reorganised his regular forces Allenby won the Third Battle of Gaza (31 October - 7 November 1917) by surprising the defenders with an attack at Beersheba. His force pushed northwards towards Jerusalem. The Ottomans were beaten at Junction Station (10–14 November) and Jerusalem was captured on 9 December 1917.
Honouring Jerusalem on foot 
In deliberate contrast to the perceived arrogance of the Kaiser's entry of Jerusalem on horseback in 1898, Allenby dismounted and together with his officers, entered the city on foot through the Jaffa Gate out of respect for the status of Jerusalem as the Holy City important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam (see his proclamation of martial law below). He subsequently stated in his official report:
...I entered the city officially at noon, 11 December, with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the Military Attaches of France, Italy, and America... The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Italy. The population received me well..."
Allenby's official proclamation of martial law following the fall of Jerusalem on 9 December 1917 read as follows:
To the Inhabitants of Jerusalem the Blessed and the People Dwelling in Its Vicinity:
The defeat inflicted upon the Turks by the troops under my command has resulted in the occupation of your city by my forces. I, therefore, here now proclaim it to be under martial law, under which form of administration it will remain so long as military considerations make necessary.
However, lest any of you be alarmed by reason of your experience at the hands of the enemy who has retired, I hereby inform you that it is my desire that every person pursue his lawful business without fear of interruption.
Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.
Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel's Tomb. The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.
The hereditary custodians at the gates of the Holy Sepulchre have been requested to take up their accustomed duties in remembrance of the magnanimous act of the Caliph Omar, who protected that church.
Middle East victory 
Asked again after the Fall of Jerusalem, Allenby wrote that he would need 16-18 divisions for a further advance of 250 miles to Aleppo (the Damascus-Beirut Line) to cut Turkish communications to Mesopotamia. By early 1918 50,000 Turks in the theatre were tying down a British Empire ration strength of over 400,000 (of whom almost half were non-combatants, and 117,471 were British troops).
With Robertson's clash with the government now moving to its final stages, and the new Supreme War Council at Versailles drawing up plans for more efforts in the Middle East, Smuts was sent to Egypt to confer with Allenby and Marshall. Allenby told Smuts of Robertson’s private instructions (sent by hand of Walter Kirke, appointed by Robertson as Smuts’ adviser) that there was no merit in any further advance and worked with Smuts to draw up plans, reinforced by 3 divisions from Mesopotamia, to reach Haifa by June and Damascus by the autumn, the speed of the advance limited by the need to lay fresh rail track. This met with War Cabinet approval (6 March 1918).
The German offensive on the Western Front meant that Allenby was without reinforcements and after his forces failed to capture Amman in March and April 1918 he halted the offensive. In the spring of 1918 he had to send 60,000 men to the Western Front, although the Dominion Prime Ministers in the Imperial War Cabinet continued to demand a strong commitment to the Middle East in case Germany could not be beaten.
New troops from the Empire (specifically Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa) led to the resumption of operations in August 1918. Following an extended series of deceptive moves the Ottoman line was broken at the Battle of Megiddo (19–21 September 1918) and the Allied cavalry passed through and blocked the Turkish retreat. The EEF then advanced at an impressive rate, (as high as 60 miles in 55 hours for cavalry, and infantry slogging 20 miles a day) encountering minimal resistance, Damascus fell on 1 October, Homs on 16 October and Aleppo on 25 October. Turkey capitulated on 30 October 1918.
Field Marshal, peerage and retirement 
Allenby was made a Field Marshal on 31 July 1919 and on 7 October of that year was created Viscount Allenby, of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk. He remained in the Middle East as High Commissioner for Egypt and the Sudan until 1925, retiring from active service in that year.
Later years 
Murray and Allenby were invited to give lectures at Aldershot in 1931 about the Palestine Campaign. Exchanging letters beforehand, Murray asked whether it had been worth risking the Western Front to transfer troops to Palestine. Allenby avoided that question, but commented that in 1917 and into the spring of 1918 it had been far from clear that the Allies were going to win the war. Russia had dropped out, but the Americans were not yet present in strength. France and Italy were weakened and might have been persuaded to make peace, perhaps by Germany giving up Belgium, Alsace-Lorraine and the Trentino. In those circumstances, with Germany likely to be left in control of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, it had been sensible for Britain to grab some land in the Middle East to block Germany’s route to India. Allenby’s views mirrored those of the War Cabinet at the time.
Allenby went to Patagonia for a last fishing trip, aged 74, to see if the salmon really were as big as those in the Tay. He died suddenly from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, on 14 May 1936, in London, aged 75. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey.
Allenby supposedly once said that people would have to visit a war museum to learn of him, but that T. E. Lawrence would be remembered and become a household name. This quote was used by Robert Bolt in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. A blue plaque unveiled in 1960 commemorates Allenby at 24 Wetherby Gardens, South Kensington, London.
Publicity surrounding Allenby's exploits in the Middle East was at its highest in Britain in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Allenby enjoyed a period of celebrity in the United States as well. He and his wife went on an American tour in 1928, receiving a standing ovation when he addressed Carnegie Hall in New York City. Biographer Raymond Savage claimed that for a time Allenby was better known in America than Lawrence.
In David Lean's film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), which depicts the Arab Revolt during World War I, Allenby is given a major part and is portrayed by Jack Hawkins in one of his best-known roles. Screenwriter Robert Bolt called Allenby a "very considerable man" and hoped to depict him sympathetically. Nonetheless, many view Allenby's portrayal as negative.
T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), whose efforts with the Arab Revolt were greatly aided by Allenby, thought highly of him: "(He was) physically large and confident, and morally so great that the comprehension of our littleness came slow to him".
Ribbon bar (as it would look today):
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) - 17 December 1917
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Military Division (GCB) - 5 November 1918 (KCB: 18 February 1915; CB: 26 June 1902)
- Viscount Allenby of Meggido and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk - 18 October 1919
- Knight of Justice of the Venerable Order of St. John (KJStJ) - 19 June 1925 (Knight of Grace: 21 December 1917)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) - 4 June 1934
- Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour of France - 18 March 1915
- Belgian Croix de Guerre - 11 March 1918
- Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle with Swords of the Kingdom of Serbia - 10 September 1918
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer of the Kingdom of Greece - 10 October 1918
- Croix de Guerre of France - 11 March 1919
- Army Distinguished Service Medal of the United States - 12 July 1919
- Grand Officer of the Military Order of Savoy of the Kingdom of Italy - 21 August 1919
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Romania of the Kingdom of Romania - 20 September 1919
- Order of Wen-Hu, 1st Class of the Republic of China - 17 February 1920
- Order of the Renaissance, 1st Class with Brilliants of the Kingdom of Hejaz - 5 March 1920
- Order of Michael the Brave, 1st Class of the Kingdom of Romania - 7 May 1920
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun of the Empire of Japan - 21 January 1921
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers of the Empire of Japan - 20 January 1922
- Grand Cross (Mil.) of the Order of Leopold of the Kingdom of Belgium - 23 March 1935 (Grand Officer: 26 July 1917)
See also 
- First World War
- Battle of Jerusalem (1917)
- Second Boer War
- British Mandate of Palestine
- Allenby Street Tel Aviv, Israel
- Army Manoeuvres of 1912
- Victory Services Club
- Heathcote, p. 19
- The London Gazette: . 9 May 1882. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Heathcote, p. 20
- The London Gazette: . 14 February 1888. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Reid 2006, p69
- The London Gazette: . 8 June 1897. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- A. B. Paterson (1934). "Happy Despatches". Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Unknown parameter
|publisher2=ignored (help) pp. 188–9, 111–3
- The London Gazette: . 17 March 1901. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 21 June 1901. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 1 August 1902. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 31 October 1902. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 27 October 1905. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Heathcote, p. 21
- The London Gazette: . 5 October 1909. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 20 November 1914. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Gardner, pp. 66-115
- The London Gazette: . 11 January 1916. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 1 June 1917. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Woodward, 1998, pp155-9
- Woodward, 1998, pp157-9
- Hughes, chapter 5
- Woodward, 1998, pp159-162
- Heathcote, p. 22
- James 1993, p140
- Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles Francis Horne, National Alumni 1923.
- Woodward, 1998, pp164, 167
- Woodward, 1998, pp165-8
- The London Gazette: . 31 July 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Heathcote, p. 23
- Woodward, 1998, pp212
- Reid 2006, p67
- "Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (1861-1936)". English Heritage. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Gardner, p. 259
- Gardner, p. 257
- "As I wrote the part I admired (Allenby) exceedingly and tried to show him as performing his duty... perfectly and without relish." Quoted in Adrian Turner, Robert Bolt: Scenes from Two Lives (London: Hutchinson, 1998), p. 509.
- Wilson, Jeremy. "Lawrence of Arabia or Smith in the Desert?" T.E. Lawrence Studies. Retrieved 13 September 2012
- Caton, Steven C. Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology (University of California Press, 1999), p. 59
- "General Allenby". Mediashift. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 18 December 1917. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 5 November 1918. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 2 March 1915. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 26 June 1902. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 21 October 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 23 June 1925. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The Edinburgh Gazette: . 1 January 1918. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 4 June 1934. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The Edinburgh Gazette: . 23 March 1915. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 8 March 1918. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 10 September 1918. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 10 October 1918. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 11 March 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 12 July 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 19 August 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 20 September 1919. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 17 February 1920. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 5 March 1920. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The Edinburgh Gazette: . 11 May 1920. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 21 January 1921. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 24 January 1922. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 26 March 1935. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 24 July 1917. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Gardner, Brian (1965). Allenby. London: Cassell. OCLC 2287641.
- Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5.
- Hughes, Matthew (1999). Allenby and British Strategy in the Middle East 1917-1919. Routledge. ISBN 978-0714644738.
- James, Lawrence (1993). Imperial Warrior. The Life and Times of Field Marshal Viscount Allenby 1861–1936. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0297811527.
- Reid, Walter (2006). Architect of Victory: Douglas Haig. Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh. ISBN 1-84158-517-3.
- Woodward, David R. (1998). Field Marshal Sir William Robertson. Westport Connecticut & London: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-95422-6.
Further reading 
- Massey, W. T. (1919). How Jerusalem Was Won. Being the Record of Allenby’s Campaign in Palestine. London: Constable. OCLC 220692395.
- Massey, W. T. (1920). Allenby’s Final Triumph. London: Constable. ISBN 978-1846776830.
- Savage, Raymond (1925). Allenby of Armageddon. A Record of the Career and Campaigns of Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby. London: Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 221977744.
- Wavell, Archibald (1940). Allenby: A Study in Greatness. London: Harrap. ISBN 978-1164504092.
- Wavell, Archibald (1943). Allenby in Egypt. London: Harrap. OCLC 68009347.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby|
- General Allenby, PBS feature on Lawrence of Arabia
- General Allenby, Used to fulfill 2520 year Biblical prophecy
- Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (1861-1936), Field Marshal: Sitter in 29 portraits (National Portrait Gallery)
- Lord Allenby – High Commissioner of Egypt. The New York Times, 5 March 1922
- Lord Allenby's Special Train, Dock Siding, Port Said, Egypt
- Historic film footage of General Edmund Allenby entering Jerusalem on foot and reading Jerusalem proclamation, 11 December 1917.
- His introduction to The New Zealanders in Sinai nd Palestine
|GOC V Corps
May 1915 – October 1915
|Commander of the British Third Army
October 1915 – June 1917
Sir Julian Byng
The Lord Grenfell
|Colonel of the 1st Life Guards
|amalgamated to form The Life Guards|
|Chief Administrator of Palestine
Sir Arthur Wigram Money
Sir Reginald Wingate
|British High Commissioner in Egypt
Sir George Lloyd
Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton
|Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Herbert John Clifford Grierson
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Viscount Allenby