Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs, KCMG, CBE (Bury St Edmunds, 19 November 1881 – London, 1 November 1955) was an official in the British Foreign and Colonial Office. He served as Oriental Secretary in Cairo, Military Governor of Jerusalem, Governor of Cyprus, and Governor of Northern Rhodesia.
Storrs entered the Finance Ministry of the Egyptian Government in 1904, five years later becoming Oriental Secretary to the British Agency, succeeding Harry Boyle in this post. In 1917 Storrs became Political Officer representing the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia as Liaison officer for the Anglo-French mission in Baghdad and Mesopotamia where he met Gertrude Bell and Sir Percy Cox.
"The first of all of us was Ronald Storrs, Oriental Secretary of the Residency, the most brilliant Englishman in the Near East, and subtly efficient, despite his diversion of energy in love of music and letters, of sculpture, painting, of whatever was beautiful in the world's fruit... Storrs was always first, and the great man among us".
Storrs is credited with a classic example of British understatement when referring to the behaviour of the British toward the many tribal and regional leaders that the British were trying to influence in the Great Game: "we deprecated the imperative, preferring instead the subjunctive or even, wistfully, the optative mood".
During the First World War Storrs was a member of the Arab Bureau and a participant in the negotiations between the Sharif Husayn and the British government and in the organisation of the Arab Revolt. His own personal positions were that the Sharif Husayn was asking for more Arab territory than he had any right to, and that Syria and Palestine should be incorporated into a British-sponsored Egyptian Empire as a replacement for the Ottoman Empire, a plan which was never implemented. Storrs is thought to have underestimated Arab Muslim resistance to non-Muslim rule.
In 1917 Storrs became, as he said, "the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate", for which purpose he was given the army rank of colonel. In 1921 he became Civil Governor of Jerusalem and Judea. In both positions he attempted to support Zionism while protecting the rights of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and thus earned the hostility of both sides. He devoted much of his time to cultural matters, including town planning, and to Pro-Jerusalem, a cultural organisation that he founded.
In 1919, Storrs was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy.
Cyprus and Rhodesia
From 1926–1932 Storrs was Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Cyprus, a period which included an attempted revolt (1931) during which Government House was burned to the ground. He was then appointed Governor of Northern Rhodesia in 1932. He retired for health reasons in 1934, at the age of 53.
Storrs was one of the six pallbearers at the funeral of T.E. Lawrence in 1935.
In 1937 he published his memoirs Orientations (US edition The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs). Between 1937 and 1945 he served on the London County Council, and during the Second World War he broadcast for the Ministry of Information. He died in 1955 and is buried at St John the Baptist Church, Pebmarsh.
- Ritchie Ovendale, ‘Storrs, Sir Ronald Henry Amherst (1881–1955)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,
- Michael Korda, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia ISBN 978-0-06-171261-6, p. 353
- Xypolia, Ilia (2011). Orientations and Orientalism: The Governor Sir Ronald Storrs 11 (1). pp. 24–43.
- Ronald Storrs. Orientations.(1937)
- Ronald Storrs. Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism and Palestine. (1940)
- Georghallides, G. S. (1985). Cyprus and the governorship of Sir Ronald Storrs: The causes of the 1931 crisis (Texts and studies of the history of Cyprus). Cyprus Research Centre. ISBN 9963-0-8004-9.
- Storrs, Ronald (1972). The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs. New York: Arno Press. ISBN 0-405-04593-X.
- Storrs, Ronald (1999). Middle East Politics & Diplomacy, 1904–1956:The Private Letters and Diaries of Sir Ronald Storrs (1881–1955) from Pembroke College, Cambridge. Marlborough, Wiltshire, England: Adam Matthew Publications. ISBN 1-85711-152-4.
- Ronald Storrs (2006). A Record of the War – The Second Quarter (December 1939 – February 1940). Obscure Press. ISBN 1-84664-761-4.
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