Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:30 am

Part 1 of 2

Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax [Lord Halifax] [Lord Irwin] [Baron Irwin]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• The Viceroy, Lord Irwin [Lord Halifax]

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia

In general, I have undoubtedly made mistakes in my lists of members, but the mistakes, such as they are, are to be found rather in my attribution of any particular person to the outer circle instead of the inner core, rather than in my connecting him to the Group at all. In general, I have attributed no one to the inner core for whom I do not have evidence, convincing to me, that he attended the secret meetings of the Group. As a result, several persons whom I place in the outer circle, such as Lord Halifax, should probably be placed in the inner core.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Halifax
The Earl of Halifax in 1947
20th Viceroy and Governor-General of India
In office
3 April 1926 – 18 April 1931
Monarch George V
Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin
Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by The Earl of Reading
Succeeded by The Earl of Willingdon
Secretary of State for War
In office
7 June 1935 – 22 November 1935
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Viscount Hailsham
Succeeded by Duff Cooper
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
21 February 1938 – 22 December 1940
Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Preceded by Anthony Eden
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
British Ambassador to the United States
In office
23 December 1940 – 1 May 1946
Monarch George VI
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
Clement Attlee
Preceded by The Marquess of Lothian
Succeeded by The Lord Inverchapel
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
22 November 1935 – 21 February 1938
George V
Edward VIII
George VI
Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by The Marquess of Londonderry
Succeeded by The Earl Stanhope
In office
3 October 1940 – 22 December 1940
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by The Viscount Caldecote
Succeeded by The Lord Lloyd
Lord President of the Council
In office
28 May 1937 – 9 March 1938
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by Ramsay MacDonald
Succeeded by The Viscount Hailsham
Lord Privy Seal
In office
22 November 1935 – 28 May 1937
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Marquess of Londonderry
Succeeded by The Earl De La Warr
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
In office
Preceded by The Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Succeeded by Harold Macmillan
Personal details
Born Edward Frederick Lindley Wood
16 April 1881
Powderham Castle, Devon, England
Died 23 December 1959 (aged 78)
Garrowby Hall, Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Lady Dorothy Onslow (m. 1909)
Anne Duncombe, Countess of Feversham
Lady Mary Wood
Charles Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax
Major Hon Francis Wood
Richard Wood, Baron Holderness
Charles Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax
Lady Agnes Courtenay
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, TD, PC (16 April 1881 – 23 December 1959), styled The 1st Baron Irwin from 1925 until 1934 and The 3rd Viscount Halifax from 1934 until 1944, was a senior British Conservative politician of the 1930s. He held several senior ministerial posts during this time, most notably those of Viceroy of India from 1925 to 1931 and of Foreign Secretary between 1938 and 1940. He was one of the architects of the policy of appeasement of Adolf Hitler in 1936–38, working closely with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. However, after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 he was one of those who pushed for a new policy of attempting to deter further German aggression by promising to go to war to defend Poland.

On Chamberlain's resignation early in May 1940, Halifax effectively declined the position of Prime Minister as he felt that Churchill would be a more suitable war leader (his membership of the House of Lords was given as the official reason). A few weeks later, with the Allies facing apparently catastrophic defeat and British forces falling back to Dunkirk, Halifax favoured approaching Italy to see if acceptable peace terms could be negotiated. He was overruled by Churchill after a series of stormy meetings of the War Cabinet. From 1941 to 1946, he served as British Ambassador in Washington.

Early life and education

Wood was born on 16 April 1881 at Powderham Castle in Devon, home of his maternal grandfather William Courtenay, 11th Earl of Devon. He was born into a Yorkshire family, the sixth child and fourth son of Charles Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax (1839–1934), and Lady Agnes Elizabeth Courtenay (1838–1919). His father was President of the English Church Union, which pushed for ecumenical reunion, in 1868, 1919, and 1927–1934. His great-grandfather was Earl Grey, the Prime Minister who introduced the Great Reform Act of 1832.[1]

Between 1886 and 1890, Wood's three older brothers died young, leaving him, at the age of nine, heir to his father's fortune and seat in the House of Lords.[2] He was brought up in a world of religion and hunting. His religiosity as a devout Anglo-Catholic like his father earned him the nickname, possibly coined by Churchill, of the "Holy Fox". He was born with an atrophied left arm and no left hand, which did not stop him from enjoying riding, hunting and shooting.[1] He had an artificial left hand with a spring-operated thumb, with which he could hold reins or open gates.[3]

Wood's childhood was divided mainly between two houses in Yorkshire: Hickleton Hall, near Doncaster, and Garrowby.

Halifax attended St David's Prep School from September 1892 and Eton College from September 1894. He was not happy at school as he was not talented either at sport or classics. He went up to Christ Church, Oxford, in October 1899. He took no part in student politics but blossomed academically, graduating with a first class degree in Modern History.[1]

From November 1903 until 1910, he was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.[1] After a year at All Souls, he went on a Grand Tour of South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand with Ludovic Heathcoat-Amory. In 1905, he returned to England for two years of study at All Souls.[4] He visited Canada in 1907.[5] He wrote a short biography of the Victorian cleric John Keble (1909).[4]

Early political career and war service

Wood had not stood in the 1906 general election, at which the Liberals won a landslide victory, choosing to devote his energies to his All Souls Fellowship. By 1909 the political tides had turned enough for Wood to put himself forward for the Conservative candidacy at Ripon in Yorkshire, and he was easily selected through local influence.[6] Ripon had gone Liberal in 1906; Wood won it with a 1,000 vote majority in January 1910 and held it with a reduced majority in December 1910. He remained Member of Parliament for Ripon until his elevation to the Lords in 1925.[4] He was a Ditcher (i.e. opposed to the bitter end and ready to "die in the last ditch" to defend the House of Lords' right to veto legislation) in the disputes over the Parliament Act 1911 but really made little impact on politics before 1914. He was vigorously opposed to Welsh Disestablishment.[4]

Before the First World War he was already a captain in the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons, a West Riding yeomanry regiment. He made a rare intervention in debate, urging that conscription be introduced immediately. He was sent to the front line in 1916. In January 1917 he was Mentioned in dispatches ("Heaven Knows What For" he wrote). He rose to the rank of major. He was then Deputy Director of Labour Supply at the Ministry of National Service from November 1917 to the end of 1918. He was initially sympathetic to Lord Lansdowne's proposal for a compromise peace, but ultimately demanded all-out victory and a punitive peace.[4]

Wood was unopposed in the general elections of 1918, 1922, 1923 and 1924. He was a signatory to the April 1919 Lowther Petition calling for harsh peace terms against Germany in the Treaty of Versailles then being negotiated. In the 1918–1922 Parliament, Wood was an ally of Samuel Hoare, Philip Lloyd-Greame and Walter Elliot, all ambitious younger MPs in favour of progressive reform.[4]

In 1918, he and George Ambrose Lloyd (later Lord Lloyd) wrote "The Great Opportunity", a tract aiming to set an agenda for a revived Conservative and Unionist Party following the end of the Lloyd George coalition. They urged the Conservative Party to concentrate on the welfare of the community rather than the good of the individual. With the Irish War of Independence then in progress Wood urged a federal solution. At this time he concentrated on housing and agriculture and Ireland.[7]

Early ministerial career

In May 1920, he accepted the Governor-Generalship of South Africa, but the offer was withdrawn after the South African government announced that it wanted a Cabinet minister or a member of the Royal Family.[7]

In April 1921, he was appointed Under-Secretary for the Colonies, under Churchill who was initially reluctant to meet him (on one occasion he stormed into Churchill's office and told him that he "expected to be treated like a gentleman"). In the winter of 1921–1922, Wood visited the British West Indies and wrote a report for Churchill.[7]

On 16 October 1922, Wood attended the meeting of the junior ministers who expressed disquiet at the Lloyd George Coalition. On 19 October 1922, he voted at the Carlton Club meeting for the Conservatives to fight the next election as an independent force. The Coalition ended and Bonar Law formed a purely Conservative government. Wood was promoted to the Cabinet on 24 October 1922 as President of the Board of Education. Some saw this as an improvement in the moral character of the government. Austerity policies left no room for constructive policies. Wood, who spent two days hunting each week, was neither interested nor particularly effective in the job but saw it as a stepping stone to greater things. He was not happy about Stanley Baldwin's adoption of tariffs in December 1923, which saw the Conservatives lose their majority and give way to a minority Labour government.[7]

When the Conservatives were returned to power, on 6 November 1924, Wood was appointed Minister for Agriculture, a more onerous job than Education had been. He took an Agriculture and Tithes Bill through the Commons.[7]

Viceroy of India


In October 1925, Lord Birkenhead, Secretary of State for India, offered Wood the job of Viceroy of India at the suggestion of King George V. His paternal grandfather Sir Charles Wood had been Secretary of State for India in 1859–1865. He almost declined, as he had two sons of school age and his aged father seemed unlikely to live until 1931 when his term was due to end. He accepted on the advice of his father (who in the event lived to see him return). He was created Baron Irwin, of Kirby Underdale in the County of York. He left for India on 17 March 1926,[7] and arrived in Bombay on 1 April 1926.

Irwin was honoured with the GCSI and GCIE in 1926.[8]

Irwin relished the pomp of the Viceroyalty. He was an able horseman, and stood 6' 5". He had a "Cecilian stoop and sympathetic kindly eyes" and gave an impression of a Prince of the Church (R. Bernays Naked Fakir 1931). Several attempts were made to assassinate him. He was more sympathetic to Indians than his predecessors had been, although he had no compunctions about signing death warrants when he thought them justified. He wanted Indians to be more united and friendly to the UK; his first major speech as Viceroy, and several more throughout his term of office, urged an end to communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.[7]

Simon Commission

The 1919 Government of India Act had incorporated the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms ("Diarchy" - shared rule between British and Indians at the local level) and had promised that after ten years there would be a commission to inquire about a new constitution and to advise on whether further reforms were needed. Irwin accepted that greater self-government was necessary, as Indian national aspirations had grown since 1919. Birkenhead brought forward the date of the commission, and put it under Sir John Simon. Irwin recommended an all-British inquiry, as he thought that the Indian factions would not agree among themselves but would fall into line behind the results of the inquiry.[7] David Dutton believes that this was "the most fateful mistake of his viceroyalty, and one he came bitterly to regret".[8]

In November 1927, the composition of the Simon Commission was announced. All the leading Indian parties, including the Indian National Congress, boycotted it. Irwin assured Birkenhead that Simon could win over moderate Indian opinion. Simon arrived in Bombay on 3 February 1928. He achieved some limited successes, but Irwin became convinced that a new gesture would be necessary.[8]

Indian responses to Simon's arrival included the All-Parties Conference, a committee of which produced the Nehru Report (May 1928), advocating dominion status for India. However, there was also violence, including the death of Lala Lajpat Rai in November 1928 and the revenge attack of Bhagat Singh in December 1928. Other responses included the Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah's 14 points (March 1929).

The Irwin Declaration

In June 1929, a new Labour government took office in the UK, with Ramsay MacDonald Prime Minister for the second time and William Wedgwood Benn as Secretary of State for India. On 13 July 1929, Irwin arrived in the UK on leave, bringing with him a "suggested" draft exchange of letters between MacDonald and Simon. His plan was for Simon to write proposing a Round Table Conference to discuss the findings of the Commission, and that MacDonald would then reply pointing out that the 1917 Montagu Declaration implied a commitment to dominion status (i.e. that India should become completely self-governing, like Canada or Australia). Simon saw the drafts and had serious misgivings about the planned Round Table Conference. The exchange of letters did not mention Dominion Status as the other Commissioners did not favour it, although Simon did not report the depth of their feeling, which he came to share, that such a declaration would undermine the findings of the Commission and that Dominion Status would now become a minimum demand for the Indian leaders rather than an ultimate goal. The author David Dutton finds it "curious" that Irwin, who had believed that Simon would not object to Dominion Status, did not understand this.[8]

The Irwin Declaration of October 1929 committed Britain to eventual Dominion Status for India. Despite such a policy having been implicit for a decade, the Declaration was denounced by many on the Tory Right. Lord Reading (Irwin's predecessor as Viceroy) denounced it, and Simon made his displeasure known. There was brief hope of a breakthrough in Anglo-Indian relations, but the New Delhi Conference of December 1929 between Irwin and the Indian leaders failed to reach agreement. Gandhi now began a campaign of civil disobedience with a view to achieving complete independence. He walked for 24 days to the sea, where he proceeded to make salt, in breach of the government's historic monopoly. Irwin had all the Congress leaders put behind bars, including Gandhi eventually.[8]

Some criticism of Irwin may have been unfair, but he had made an error and the consequences were serious and unrest grew. Irwin's position was seen as excessively lenient by London but as half-hearted in India. With little room for manoeuvre, Irwin resorted to repression using his emergency powers to ban public gatherings and crush rebellious opposition. Gandhi's detention, however, only made matters worse.

Agreement with Mahatma Gandhi

In November 1930, King George V opened the First Round Table Conference in London; no Congress delegates took part because Gandhi was in gaol.[8]

In January 1931, Gandhi was released and at Irwin's invitation they had eight meetings together. Irwin wrote to his aged father that "it was rather like talking to someone who had stepped off another planet onto this for a short visit of a fortnight and whose mental outlook was quite other to that which was regulating most of the affairs on the planet to which he had descended". But they had mutual respect based on their respective religious faiths.[8]

The First Round Table Conference was inaugurated by King George-V on Nov.12, 1930 in London, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Delegate, seen in the left row (9th)

The fortnight-long discussions resulted in the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 5 March 1931, after which the Civil Disobedience Movement and the boycott of British goods were suspended in exchange for a Second Round Table Conference that represented all interests.[8]

The salient points were:

• The Congress would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement.
• The Congress would participate in the Round Table Conference.
• The Government would withdraw all ordinances issued to curb the Congress.
• The Government would withdraw all prosecutions relating to offences not involving violence.
• The Government would release all persons serving sentences of imprisonment for their activities in the civil disobedience movement.

It was also agreed that Gandhi would join the Second Round Table Conference as the sole representative of the Congress.

On 20 March 1931, Irwin paid tribute to Gandhi's honesty, sincerity and patriotism at a dinner given by ruling princes.


A month following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Lord Irwin's term ended and he left India. On Irwin's return to England in April 1931, the situation was calm, but within a year the conference collapsed and Gandhi was again arrested.

Despite the mixed outcomes, Irwin was overall a successful Viceroy; he had charted a clear and balanced course and had not lost the confidence of his home government. He had demonstrated toughness and independence. His successful term as Viceroy ensured that he returned to British politics with significant prestige.

British politics 1931–1935

Irwin returned to the UK on 3 May 1931. He was honoured with the KG (he became chancellor of the order in 1943). In 1931 he declined the Foreign Office in the new National Government, not least because the Tory Right would not have liked it. Officially, he declared that he wanted to spend time at home. He went to Canada, at the invitation of Vincent Massey, to speak at the University of Toronto.[8]

He was still a firm protégé of Stanley Baldwin. In June 1932, on the sudden death of Sir Donald Maclean, he returned to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Education, for the second time, having been apparently genuinely reluctant to accept. His views were somewhat old-fashioned: he declared: "We want a school to train them up to be servants and butlers".[8]

Irwin became Master of the Middleton Hunt in 1932 and was elected as Chancellor of Oxford University in 1933. In 1934 he inherited the title Viscount Halifax on the death of his 94-year-old father.[9]

He helped Hoare draft what became the Government of India Act 1935, the largest single piece of legislation of the 1931–1935 government.[9]

In June 1935, Baldwin became Prime Minister for the third time, and Halifax was appointed Secretary of State for War. He was pleased to give up the Education job. He felt the country was unprepared for war, but he resisted the Chiefs of Staffs' demands for rearmament.[9]

In November 1935, after the general election, Halifax became Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords.[9]

Foreign policy

Colleague of Eden

By this time, Halifax was becoming increasingly influential in foreign affairs.[9] Cabinet met on the morning of 18 December 1935 to discuss the public outcry over the Hoare–Laval Pact. Halifax, who was due to make a statement in the Lords that afternoon, insisted that the Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare must resign to save the government's position, causing J. H. Thomas, William Ormsby-Gore and Walter Elliott also to come out for his resignation. Anthony Eden was appointed Foreign Secretary in Hoare's place.[10] The following year, Halifax said the provisions of the Pact "were not so frightfully different from those put forward by the Committee of Five [of the League]. But the latter were of respectable parentage: and the Paris ones were too much like the off-the-stage arrangements of nineteenth-century diplomacy".[11]

Effectively, although not formally, Halifax was deputy Foreign Secretary to Eden. In general they got on well.[9] Halifax and Eden were in agreement about the direction of foreign policy (and in line with prevailing opinion throughout Britain) that Germany's remilitarization of the Rhineland, its "own backyard", would be difficult to oppose and should be welcomed insofar as it continued Germany's seeming progress towards normality after the tribulations of the post-First World War settlement.[citation needed]

In 1936, Neville Chamberlain recorded that Halifax was always saying he wanted to retire from public life.[12] In May 1937, when Neville Chamberlain succeeded Baldwin as Prime Minister, Halifax became Lord President of the Council, as well as remaining Leader of the House of Lords.[9] Chamberlain began increasingly to intervene directly in foreign policy, activity for which his background had not prepared him, and which caused increasing tension with Eden.[citation needed]

Lord Halifax with Hermann Göring at Schorfheide, Germany, 20 November 1937.

In his capacity as Master of the Middleton Hunt, Halifax accepted an invitation from Hermann Göring to go to a hunting exhibition in Berlin and hunt foxes in Pomerania in November 1937. Halifax later put it on the record that, far from this being an attempt by Chamberlain to bypass the Foreign Office, Eden had pressed him to accept. Halifax was not keen about the way the meeting was arranged.[9] Göring was a passionate hunter and gave Halifax the nickname Halalifax, after Halali!, a German hunting call, but Halifax was publicly and correctly regarded as acting on behalf of the British government to renew dialogue with the German government.[13]

On being taken to meet Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, Halifax almost created an incident by nearly handing his coat to him, believing him to be a footman:

"As I looked out of the car window, on eye level, I saw in the middle of this swept path a pair of black trousered legs, finishing up in silk socks and pumps. I assumed this was a footman who had come down to help me out of the car and up the steps and was proceeding in leisurely fashion to get myself out of the car when I heard von Neurath or somebody throwing a hoarse whisper at my ear of Der Führer, der Führer; and it then dawned upon me that the legs were not the legs of a footman, but of Hitler."[14]

A long and barbed meeting with the Führer then ensued.[14] In discussions with Hitler, Halifax spoke of "possible alterations in the European order which might be destined to come about with the passage of time". Ignoring Eden's reservations, he did not object in principle to Hitler's designs on Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia and Poland, although he stressed that only peaceful processes of change would be acceptable.[9] Writing to Baldwin on the subject of the conversation between Karl Burckhardt (the League of Nations' Commissioner of Danzig) and Hitler, Halifax said:

"Nationalism and Racialism is a powerful force but I can't feel that it's either unnatural or immoral! I cannot myself doubt that these fellows are genuine haters of Communism, etc.! And I daresay if we were in their position we might feel the same!"[15]

Halifax and Winston Churchill in 1938. Note Halifax's artificial left hand, concealed under a black glove.

In December 1937, Halifax told the Cabinet that "we ought to get on good terms with Germany", as despite the best efforts of Eden and Chamberlain, Britain was still faced with the prospect of war with Germany, Italy and Japan.[9]

By February 1938, Halifax warned Chamberlain of strains in the Cabinet, and tried to broker a deal between Chamberlain and Eden. Eden resigned as Foreign Secretary on 20 February, in protest at Chamberlain's wish to make further concessions to Benito Mussolini, whom Eden regarded as an untrustworthy gangster, without gestures of good faith on his part. Halifax was appointed Foreign Secretary on 21 February 1938, despite some criticism from Labour and elsewhere that so important a job was being given to a peer.[9]

Halifax commented "I have had enough obloquy for one lifetime" (i.e., as Viceroy of India) before accepting appointment as Foreign Secretary.[16] Chamberlain preferred him to the excitable Eden: "I thank God for a steady unruffled Foreign Secretary."[9]

Foreign Secretary


Halifax's political line as Foreign Secretary must be seen in the context of existing British foreign policy, which was predicated on a broad consensus that in none of the democracies was there popular support for war, military pressure, or even rearmament. There was debate about the extent to which the dictatorships' very separate interests could be teased apart. It was clear that an alignment of Germany and Italy would divide Britain's forces in any general war and that, without at least a neutral Italy, Britain would be unable to move large naval forces east to confront Japan, given America's refusal to help. For many, especially in the Foreign Office, appeasement was a necessary compromise to buy time for rearmament, a process to which Britain was already heavily committed.[17] Others, especially Churchill, hoped that a strong military alliance with France would permit a more robust foreign policy towards the dictators. Many shared Churchill's confidence in the large French Army, although fewer shared his belief that France would be a resilient ally.

Chamberlain embraced the policy of appeasement as a moral force for good, as did many others who were deeply opposed to war and defence spending. By comparison, Halifax's policy appears more pragmatic, like that of Samuel Hoare, coupled to a firm commitment to rearmament, albeit unenthusiastically. All parties recognised the hostility of public opinion to war or military preparations, and the difficulty of acting without a readiness on the part of America or the Soviet Union to play their part (the Labour Party opposed rearmament until well after the Munich Agreement). Nonetheless, Halifax was criticised as an appeaser, along with Chamberlain, Hoare, and twelve others, in the anonymous 1940 book Guilty Men.


Adolf Hitler greets British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the steps of the Berghof, 15 September 1938 during the crisis over Czechoslovakia. Joachim von Ribbentrop stands on the right.

Hitler's annexation of Austria in March 1938 made Halifax keener on rearmament. Czechoslovakia was clearly next on the agenda, but neither Britain nor France believed they had the military capacity to support her, and in the summer of 1938, Halifax still wanted to urge the Czechs in private to make concessions to Germany, which was making demand about the status of the Sudeten Germans.[18]

Halifax remained in London and did not accompany Chamberlain on his dramatic flights to Germany in the autumn of 1938. This was once seen as a sign of Chamberlain's dominance of his Cabinet.[18]

It appears that a frank conversation with his pugnacious Permanent Secretary, Sir Alexander Cadogan, brought Halifax to the sharp realisation that the road to appeasement had taken Britain into a series of concessions that were unwise and that were unlikely to secure the necessary pacification of Germany.

On 25 September 1938, Halifax spoke out in Cabinet against the inflated demands presented by Hitler in the Godesberg Memorandum after his second summit meeting with Chamberlain.[19] It is now known that Halifax, under Cadogan's influence, persuaded the Cabinet to reject the Bad Godesberg terms. Britain and Germany came close to war until Chamberlain flew to Munich. Chamberlain could hardly afford to lose a second Foreign Secretary, and his dominance of his Cabinet was never so overwhelming again.[18]

The eventual Munich Agreement, signed after Chamberlain's third summit meeting with Hitler, was apparently popular around the world and humiliating to many in the British government, but it was short of Hitler's desires (and of Chamberlain's proposed concessions) and increased Hitler's determination to return to destroy Czechoslovakia in the spring.

On 3 October 1938, Halifax defended the Munich Agreement in the House of Lords, in much more measured terms than the Prime Minister had done, not as a triumph but as the lesser of two evils.[18]

The Munich crisis had seen Halifax begin to take a stronger line than Chamberlain against further concessions to Germany. Andrew Roberts argues that from this point on, Halifax set his face firmly towards a policy of deterrence. He hoped that increased rearmament—including strengthening of alliances with and economic support to the countries of Eastern Europe, and the reintroduction of conscription—coupled with a firmer line towards Germany, Italy, and Japan would reduce the risks of those three hostile powers acting in combination. (It is of note that, when war did begin, neither Japan nor Italy was prepared to join in until the pendulum had swung much further in Germany's favour.)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:30 am

Part 2 of 2

After Munich

After Munich, Halifax (successfully) advised Chamberlain against capitalising on his popularity by calling a snap general election; instead he urged (in vain) that Chamberlain widen the National Coalition by offering jobs not just to Churchill and Eden but also to Labour and Liberal figures.[18] Halifax was also disgusted by the anti-Jewish pogrom of Kristallnacht (10 November). He advocated British financial aid to the countries of central and eastern Europe to discourage them from coming under Germany's influence.[18]

With Hitler's lack of commitment regarding the Munich Agreement becoming clearer, Halifax worked steadily to assemble a stronger British position, pushing Chamberlain to take economic steps to underpin British interests in Eastern Europe and prevent additional military supplies from reaching Germany, such as tungsten.

Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini, Halifax, and Count Ciano at the Opera of Rome, January 1939

In January 1939, Halifax accompanied Chamberlain to Rome for talks with Mussolini. That month Halifax pushed for staff talks with France, in view of the danger of war with both Germany and Italy simultaneously. After Hitler broke the Munich agreement and occupied the rump of "Czecho-slovakia" (the hyphen had been added after Munich), Chamberlain gave a speech in Birmingham on 17 March 1939, pledging that Britain would go to war to defend Poland. Halifax had been one of the drivers in this change of policy.[18] By March 1939, Eden, then out of office, observed that thanks to Halifax the government are "now doing what we would wish".[12]

Halifax granted a guarantee to Poland on 31 March 1939, triggered by alarming intelligence of German preparations, in hopes of sending clear signals to Germany that, in Halifax's words, there would be "no more Munichs".

The Foreign Office received intelligence in early April 1939 that Italy was about to invade Albania. At a Cabinet meeting on 5 April 1939, Halifax rejected these reports. Two days later, Italy invaded Albania; Halifax met Sir Alexander Cadogan and "decided we can't do anything to stop it".[20]

Although he disliked the Soviet regime, not least because of its atheism, Halifax was quicker than Chamberlain to realise that Britain should attempt to ally with the USSR. The negotiations (in summer 1939) failed, and the USSR allied with Germany instead on 23 August. It has been suggested that Halifax should have led the negotiations himself.[18] With Poland now looking likely to be carved up between Germany and the USSR (as indeed soon took place), the diarist "Chips" Channon, PPS to Halifax's junior minister Rab Butler, recorded (25 August 1939) that "the barometer of war kept shifting" and that "the Polish guarantee was [Halifax]'s pet scheme and favourite god-child" (Butler opposed the guarantee).[18]

When Germany invaded Poland, Halifax refused any negotiations while German troops remained on Polish soil. However, he stood solid with Chamberlain, who delayed in giving a commitment to go to war until the French also committed. The two of them were the objects of the Cabinet revolt which insisted that Britain honour the guarantee to Poland. Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939.[18]

Phoney War

After the outbreak of war, Halifax's diplomacy aimed to dissuade the Soviets from formally joining the Axis. He opposed the bombing of Germany, lest the Germans retaliate.[18]

Swedish intermediary Birger Dahlerus had approached Britain for peace talks in August 1939, just before the outbreak of war. Again, on 1 November 1939, Halifax replied to an approach through Swedish channels that no peace was possible with Hitler in power. Even that aroused the wrath of Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, who sent a private note to Halifax rebuking him that such talk was dangerous.[21] Halifax remained opposed to any hint of a compromise peace during the Phoney War.[22]

In January 1940, Halifax met an emissary of Ulrich von Hassell, a leading member of the German resistance, who stated that "he personally would be against the Allies taking advantage of a revolution in Germany to attack the Siegfried Line."[citation needed]

Churchill as Prime Minister

On 8 May 1940, Chamberlain's government survived a motion of no confidence brought about by the deteriorating military situation in Norway. The government had a nominal majority of 213 in the House: at the end of the "Norway Debate", they won the vote with a majority of only 81; 33 Conservatives and 8 of their allies voted with the opposition parties, and 60 abstained. Churchill had only grudgingly been appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Nevertheless, he mounted a strong and passionate defence of Chamberlain and his government in the debate preceding the vote.[23]

Under ordinary circumstances, such a weak vote would not have been politically disastrous, but it was decisive at a time when the Prime Minister was being strongly criticised by both sides of the House and there was a strong desire for national unity.[24] Talking to Churchill after the vote, Chamberlain admitted his dismay and said that he would try for a coalition government with the Labour and Liberal Parties, but Churchill opposed that.

At 10.15 am the next morning (9 May), Chamberlain met with Halifax and Churchill in the Cabinet Room. Churchill's own account of these events, published eight years later in The Gathering Storm, the first volume of his The Second World War, does not tally exactly with contemporary accounts such as Halifax's own diary and Alexander Cadogan's record of his conversations with Halifax, or accounts given by Chamberlain or by the Chief Whip David Margesson (whose presence at the meeting Churchill does not mention). Churchill described a battle of wills in which Chamberlain opened the meeting by arguing that Churchill could not command the support of the Labour Party after he had had to defend the government at the Norway Debate, only to be met with a lengthy silence before Halifax, with some hesitation, expressed his own unfitness for the job. Other eyewitness accounts describe Halifax demurring much more rapidly, and Churchill actively agreeing with him. Churchill also misdates the events of 9 May to the following day, and although his writing assistant William Deakin accepted responsibility for this error he later confirmed, in an interview in 1989, that Churchill's account was embellished after numerous retellings and was not meant to be taken seriously.[25]

The description of Chamberlain attempting to persuade Churchill to agree tacitly to Halifax's appointment as Prime Minister is also hard to reconcile with Halifax's having expressed his reluctance to do so to Chamberlain at a meeting between the two men on the morning of the 9th.[26][27]

At 4.30 pm that afternoon Chamberlain held another meeting, attended by Halifax, Churchill, and the leader and the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party (Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood respectively). He asked the Labour leaders if they would agree to serve in a coalition government. They replied that it might be possible but only with a different Prime Minister and that before they could give an official answer, they would need the approval of Labour's National Executive Committee, then in Bournemouth preparing for the annual conference which was to start on the Monday. They were asked to telephone with the result of the consultation by the following afternoon.[28][29]

In his diary entry for 9 May, written up the following morning, Halifax later wrote:

I had no doubt at all in my own mind that for me to succeed him would create a quite impossible situation. Apart altogether from Churchill's qualities as compared with my own at this particular juncture, what would in fact be my position? Churchill would be running Defence, and in this connexion one could not but remember the relationship between Asquith and Lloyd George had broken down in the first war... I should speedily become a more or less honorary Prime Minister, living in a kind of twilight just outside the things that really mattered.[30]

The Labour leaders telephoned at 5 pm on the 10th to report that the party would take part in a coalition government, although it had to be under the leadership of someone other than Chamberlain. Accordingly, Chamberlain went to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation, recommending that the King ask Churchill to form a government.[28] On doing so, one of Churchill's first actions was to form a new, smaller War Cabinet by replacing six of the Conservative politicians with Greenwood and Attlee, retaining only Halifax and Chamberlain.

Churchill's political position was weak, although he was popular with the Labour and Liberal Parties for his stance against appeasement in the 1930s. He was unpopular in the Conservative Party, however, and he might not have been the choice of the King. Halifax had the support of most of the Conservative Party and of the King and was acceptable to the Labour Party. His position as a peer was a merely technical barrier given the scale of the crisis, and Churchill reportedly was willing to serve under Halifax. As Lord Beaverbrook said, "Chamberlain wanted Halifax. Labour wanted Halifax. Sinclair wanted Halifax. The Lords wanted Halifax. The King wanted Halifax. And Halifax wanted Halifax." Only the last sentence was incorrect, however; Halifax did not want to become Prime Minister. He believed that Churchill's energy and leadership skills were superior to his own.[31]

Unlike Simon, Hoare and Chamberlain, Halifax was not the object of Labour hatred in May 1940. Dutton argues that he "drew back" because of "inner self-doubt". "Political ambition had never been the most compelling motivation". He had a stomach ache, possibly psychosomatic, at the thought of becoming Prime Minister, and also probably thought that he could wield more influence as Churchill's deputy.[18] Like Chamberlain, he served in Churchill's cabinet but was frequently exasperated by Churchill's style of doing business. Like many others, Halifax had serious doubts about Churchill's judgement.[22]

May 1940 War Cabinet Crisis

Main article: May 1940 War Cabinet Crisis

Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and France on 10 May 1940, the day that Churchill became Prime Minister. On 22–23 May, the German army reached the English Channel, isolating the British Expeditionary Force. Churchill soon had a confrontation with Halifax who believed that the United Kingdom should try to negotiate a peace settlement with Hitler, in view of the successful German invasion of France and the encirclement of British forces at Dunkirk, using Mussolini as an intermediary. He believed it better to try to get terms "safeguarding the independence of our Empire, and if possible that of France", in the belief that peace talks would make it easier to get the BEF home. He did not believe that there was any realistic chance of defeating Germany.[22] Churchill disagreed, believing that "nations which went down fighting rose again, but those which surrendered tamely were finished" and that Hitler was unlikely to honour any agreement. Moreover, he believed that this was the view of the British people.

On 24 May, Hitler issued the order for his armies to halt before they reached Dunkirk. Two days later, the British and French navies began an evacuation of the Allied forces, assisted by the Royal Air Force. Between 25 and 28 May, Churchill and Halifax each fought to bring the British War Cabinet around to their own respective points of view; by 28 May, it seemed as if Halifax had the upper hand and that Churchill might be forced from office. Halifax came close to resignation, which might have brought down Churchill's government.[22]

However, Churchill outmanoeuvred Halifax by calling a meeting of his 25-member Outer Cabinet, to whom he delivered a passionate speech, saying, "If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground",[32] convincing all who were present that Britain must fight on against Hitler whatever the cost. Churchill also obtained the backing of Neville Chamberlain, who was still Conservative Party leader.[22]

Churchill told the War Cabinet that there would be no negotiated peace. Halifax had lost. A few weeks later, in July 1940, Halifax rejected German peace offers presented through the Papal Nuncio in Berne and the Portuguese and Finnish prime ministers.

Halifax wrote in his memoirs of an occasion during a short holiday in Yorkshire:

One such interlude early in June 1940 is for ever graven into my memory. It was just after the fall of France, an event which at the time it happened seemed something unbelievable as to be almost surely unreal, and if not unreal then quite immeasurably catastrophic. Dorothy and I had spent a lovely summer evening walking over the Wolds, and on our way home sat in the sun for half an hour at a point looking across the plain of York. All the landscape of the nearer foreground was familiar—its sights, its sounds, its smells; hardly a field that did not call up some half-forgotten bit of association; the red-roofed village and nearby hamlets, gathered as it were for company round the old greystone church, where men and women like ourselves, now long dead and gone, had once knelt in worship and prayer. Here in Yorkshire was a true fragment of the undying England, like the White Cliffs of Dover, or any other part of our land that Englishmen have loved. Then the question came, is it possible that the Prussian jackboot will force its way into this countryside to tread and trample over it at will? The very thought seemed an insult and an outrage; much as if anyone were to be condemned to watch his mother, wife or daughter being raped.[33]

Ambassador to the United States

When Chamberlain retired from the Cabinet due to ill health, Churchill tried to ease Halifax out of the Foreign Office by offering him a job as de facto Deputy Prime Minister, living at 11 Downing Street. Halifax refused, although he agreed to become Leader of the Lords once again.[22]

In December 1940, the Marquess of Lothian, British Ambassador to the United States, died suddenly. Halifax was told to take the job by Churchill, with the proviso that he could still attend meetings of the War Cabinet when he was home on leave in London.[22] Churchill's secretary John Colville recorded on 20 December that Churchill thought the Washington job was a great opportunity for Halifax to help bring the United States into the war. Colville recorded Churchill's view that Halifax "would never live down the reputation for appeasement which he and the F.O. had won themselves here. He had no future in this country." Colville thought Churchill had been influenced by the monthly censorship reports, which showed that Halifax had inherited some of Chamberlain's unpopularity.[34] Halifax was the last man linked with appeasement to leave the Cabinet, as Chamberlain had by then died, and both Hoare and Simon had already moved to other jobs. Halifax and his wife desperately tried to persuade Eden to take the Washington job instead, but to no avail. Eden was restored to the Foreign Office in Halifax's place, and Halifax set sail for the still neutral United States in January 1941.[22]

Halifax and Soviet ambassador Maxim Litvinov at a garden party in Washington, D.C. in 1942

President Franklin D. Roosevelt welcomed him in person when he arrived. Casting aside diplomatic protocols, Roosevelt took the presidential yacht the Potomac to greet Halifax as his ship made harbour in the Chesapeake Bay. Initially Halifax damaged himself by a series of public relations disasters. Two weeks after his arrival in the United States, Halifax went to Capitol Hill, meeting with House and Senate leaders. Upon leaving, Halifax told reporters that he had inquired about the timetable for passage of the Lend-Lease Act.[15] Isolationists seized upon the meetings to decry British meddling in American political affairs. He likened Washington politics to "a disorderly day's rabbit shooting".[22]

Halifax was initially a cautious and elusive public figure, not an effective public diplomat like his predecessor. His relations with Roosevelt were satisfactory, but Halifax kept a low profile. Churchill's close engagement with the United States and his investment in personal communication with the President meant a more constrained role for the British Ambassador. Communications technology meant that Churchill could communicate directly with Roosevelt and was a regular visitor to Washington.

Halifax's cousin Angus McDonnell helped him find his feet, and he soon led a very effective propaganda effort. Even an incident that autumn where he was pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes by isolationists helped his reputation in the long run. He maintained good relations with Roosevelt and Harry Hopkins, and toured the country, meeting many more ordinary Americans than his predecessor had done. He became especially popular after Pearl Harbor.[22]

Lord Halifax in the middle (behind a seated Franklin D. Roosevelt) as a member of the Pacific War Council.

Relations also increasingly turned on military issues channelled through the Joint Chiefs of Staff secretariat in Washington. Halifax wearied of Washington, especially after the death in action of his middle son Peter in November 1942, and the serious wounding of his younger son Richard in January 1943. In March 1943 he vainly asked Anthony Eden to be relieved of his post, but had to stay.[22]

In May 1944 he was created Earl of Halifax, the fourth creation of the title.[22]

Halifax took part in a plethora of international conferences over the UN and the Soviet Union.

With Labour in power under Clement Attlee from July 1945, Halifax agreed to Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin's request to stay on until May 1946. In February 1946, he was present at Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech at Fulton, Missouri, of which he did not entirely approve. He believed that Churchill's view of the Soviet threat was exaggerated and urged him to be more conciliatory. He also helped John Maynard Keynes negotiate the Anglo-American loan, which was finalised in July 1946.[12]

The final year of his Ambassadorship also witnessed the transition to President Harry S. Truman. Those years contained fraught moments and challenges for the relationship, as American power eclipsed that of Britain, and Britain's interests and rights were ignored on occasion, in particular, the cessation of nuclear co-operation after construction of the atom bomb. However, the partnership in World War II was immensely successful and as close as any other such partnership. It was a demanding post by any standards, but Halifax could reasonably claim to have played his part, and he enjoyed a notably longer term than his less successful successor Archibald Clark Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel.[original research?]

Later life

Back in the United Kingdom, Halifax refused to rejoin the Conservative front bench, arguing that it would be inappropriate as he had been working for the Labour Government then still in office. The Labour Government were proposing that India become fully independent by May 1948 (later brought forward to August 1947) with no plans in place to protect minorities. Viscount Templewood (as Samuel Hoare was now known) opposed the plan, but Halifax spoke in the government's favour, arguing that it was not appropriate to oppose the plan if no alternative was suggested. He persuaded many wavering peers to support the government.[12]

In retirement he returned to largely honorary pursuits. He was Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. He was an active governor of Eton and Chancellor of Oxford University. He was an honorary Fellow of All Souls from 1934. He was Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and High Steward of Westminster. He was Master of the Middleton Hunt. He was President of the Pilgrims Society, a society dedicated to better Anglo-American relations. From 1947 he was chairman of the General Advisory Council of the BBC. From 1957 he was Grand Master of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.[12]

By the mid-1950s his health was failing.[12] One of his last major speeches in the House of Lords was in November 1956, when he criticised the government's Suez policy and the damage it was doing to Anglo-American relations.[12] He did little to challenge the critical view of appeasement which was then fashionable. His 1957 autobiography Fulness of Days was described in the Dictionary of National Biography as "gently evasive".[35] David Dutton describes it as "an extremely reticent book which added little to the historical record".[12] He gave the impression that he had been Chamberlain's faithful subordinate, omitting to mention his role in changing policy in spring 1939.[9]

He died of a heart attack at his estate at Garrowby on 23 December 1959, aged 78. His widow survived him until 1976.[12]

Halifax had sold Temple Newsam to the City of Leeds for less than market value in 1925, and in 1948 he donated 164 of his paintings to a museum being opened there by Leeds City Council.[36] His will was valued for probate at £338,800 10s 8d (not including settled land - land tied up in family trusts so that no individual has full control over it), equivalent to around £7m at 2016 prices.[37][38] Despite his great wealth, Halifax was notoriously mean with money. Rab Butler recounted a tale of how he had once been having a meeting with Halifax, his boss at the time. An official brought in two cups of tea and four biscuits for them; Halifax passed two of the biscuits back, instructing the official not to charge him for them.[37][39]


Halifax could not pronounce his "r"s. He had professional charm and the natural authority of an aristocrat, the latter aided by his immense height. He stood 1.96 metres (6 ft 5 in).[12]

Harold Begbie described Halifax as "the highest kind of Englishman now in politics" whose "life and doctrine were in complete harmony with a very lofty moral principle, but who has no harsh judgement for men who err and go astray."[40]

Harold Macmillan said that Halifax possessed a "sweet and Christian nature."[41]

Rab Butler called him "this strange and imposing figure—half unworldly saint, half cunning politician."[42]

In 1968, the official records were released of Halifax's years as Foreign Secretary (the "fifty-year rule" was replaced by the "thirty-year rule"). Conservative historian Maurice Cowling argued that Halifax's stance of increasing resistance to Hitler, especially the Polish guarantee in the spring of 1939, was motivated not so much by considerations of strategy but by a need to keep ahead of a sea-change in British domestic opinion. He wrote in 1975: "To history, until yesterday, Halifax was the arch-appeaser. This, it is now recognised, was a mistake. His role, however, was complicated. In these pages he is not the man who stopped the rot, but the embodiment of Conservative wisdom who decided that Hitler must be obstructed because Labour could not otherwise be resisted."[43]

David Dutton argues that Halifax, like Chamberlain, was slow to appreciate the sheer evil of Hitler and was overly confident that negotiation could yield results. His period as Foreign Secretary was "the pivot of his career and it remains the period upon which his historical reputation ultimately depends"; just as Eden saved his reputation by resigning in time, so Halifax damaged his by being Foreign Secretary in 1938–40. "He deserves some credit for abandoning, or at least for decisively modifying, the policy of appeasement". His refusal to seize the premiership in May 1940 was "the most significant act of his long career". He argues that later that month, far from being a potential Quisling, Halifax based his policies on rational considerations, and that "on rational grounds, there had been much to be said for the Foreign Secretary's line that Britain should at least have investigated what peace terms were on offer." However, his "most important role in public life" was, in Dutton's view, as Ambassador to the United States, where he helped to smooth a relationship which was "often more fraught than early interpretations … tended to suggest".[44]

Halifax College at the University of York is named after him. Lady Irwin College, a women's college in Delhi, was established under the patronage of Dorothy, Lady Irwin in 1931.[45]


Arms of The Rt Hon. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax

• 16 April 1881 – 8 August 1885: Edward Frederick Lindley Wood
• 8 August 1885 – 1910: The Hon. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood
• 1910 – 25 October 1922: The Hon. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood MP
• 25 October 1922 – 22 December 1925: The Rt. Hon. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood MP[46]
• 22 December 1925 – 3 April 1926: The Rt. Hon. The 1st Baron Irwin PC[47]
• 3 April 1926 – 18 April 1931: His Excellency The Rt. Hon. The Lord Irwin PC, Viceroy and Governor-General of India[48]
• 18 April 1931 – 19 January 1934: The Rt. Hon. The Lord Irwin PC
• 19 January 1934 – December 1940: The Rt. Hon. The 3rd Viscount Halifax PC
• December 1940 – 1944: His Excellency The Rt. Hon. The 3rd Viscount Halifax PC, HM Ambassador to the United States of America
• 1944–1946: His Excellency The Rt. Hon. The 1st Earl of Halifax PC, HM Ambassador to the United States of America
• 1946–1959: The Rt. Hon. The 1st Earl of Halifax PC


• Honours of Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax

Marriage and family

Halifax married Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Onslow (1885–1976), daughter of William Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow, former Governor-General of New Zealand, on 21 September 1909.[4]

They had five children together:[49]

• Lady Anne Dorothy Wood, OBE JP (31 July 1910 – 25 March 1995); married Charles Duncombe, 3rd Earl of Feversham, on 14 December 1936.[50]
• Lady Mary Agnes Wood (31 July 1910 – 3 August 1910)
• Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood, 2nd Earl of Halifax (3 October 1912 – 19 March 1980)
• Major Hon Francis Hugh Peter Courtenay Wood (born 5 October 1916, killed in action[51] 26 October 1942)
• Richard Frederick Wood, Baron Holderness (5 October 1920 – 11 August 2002); MP from 1950, holding office from 1955.[12]

In popular culture

• Halifax was portrayed by Richard Murdoch in the 1981 TV miniseries Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years.
• Halifax features in the novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and the 1993 film of the same name, in which he is portrayed by Peter Eyre.
• Halifax appears in the film Gandhi, portrayed by Sir John Gielgud. The film incorrectly depicts him as possessing a left hand.
• Halifax appears as Lord Irwin in the film The Legend of Bhagat Singh, played by the Israeli actor Gil Alon.
• Halifax is a significant character in Michael Dobbs' novels Winston's War and Never Surrender.
• He is portrayed by British actor Richard Durdon in the BBC docudrama miniseries Dunkirk (2004).
• His cabinet struggle with Churchill is the subject of the 2011 play Three Days in May by Ben Brown.
• He appears as a character in the BBC television drama Cambridge Spies played by James Fox.
• He was played by Donald Sumpter in the HBO/BBC biographical film Into the Storm.
• Halifax is mentioned in the 2011 novel The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville, an alternative history novel in which Halifax became Prime Minister following a massacre of British forces at Dunkirk, the novel's divergence point, and negotiates an uneasy peace with Nazi Germany. He also plays a minor part in the 2015 sequel The Madagaskar Plan.
• In the alternative history novel Dominion by C. J. Sansom, World War II ended in June 1940 when the British government, under the leadership of Halifax, signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany in Berlin. Due to poor health, Halifax resigned as Prime Minister in 1941 and was succeeded by the 78-year-old David Lloyd George.
• In the alternative history novel For the Sake of England by Richard K. Burns, in which Winston Churchill was born in New York City in 1874 when his mother Jennie Jerome left his father Lord Randolph Churchill and was elected President of the United States in 1936, Halifax became Prime Minister in 1940 and signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany after the Battle of France. However, Hitler betrayed Halifax and attacked the UK in 1941, leading the United States to enter the war.
• In Upstairs Downstairs, Halifax is portrayed by British actor Ken Bones.
• Halifax appears briefly in three different alternate history novel series by Harry Turtledove: Worldwar, Southern Victory, and The War That Came Early. In Southern Victory, he is portrayed with a modicum of dignity and integrity, whereas in the other two series he is portrayed as an incompetent bumbler used for comic relief.
• Halifax is mentioned in episode four of Close to the Enemy, where it is claimed he had been given a now defunct key to the back garden of Buckingham Palace to enable him secret meetings with Queen Elizabeth to discuss matters of state, intimating that he might have been a front runner for Prime Minister ahead of Winston Churchill.
• Halifax is portrayed by Stephen Dillane in Joe Wright's 2017 drama Darkest Hour, opposite Gary Oldman as Churchill.

See also

• List of covers of Time magazine (1920s) – 12 April 1926


1. Matthew 2004, p. 81.
2. Roberts 1991, p. 10.
3. Roberts 1991, p9
4. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Matthew 2004, p. 82.
5. Roberts 1991, p11
6. Roberts 1991, pp11-12
7. Matthew 2004, p. 83.
8. Matthew 2004, p. 84.
9. Matthew 2004, p. 85.
10. Roberts 1991, pp. 78–79.
11. Keith Feiling, A Life of Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1970), p. 275.
12. Matthew 2004, p. 88.
13. Lois G. Schwoerer, "Lord Halifax's Visit To Germany: November 1937." Historian 32#3 (1970): 353–375.
14. The Earl of Halifax, Fulness of Days (London: Collins, 1957), p. 185.
15. Andrew Roberts, The Holy Fox. The Life of Lord Halifax (Phoenix, 1997), p. 282.
16. Jago 2015, p. 85.
17. "Britain to increase spending on arms". The Guardian. 4 March 1935. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
18. Matthew 2004, p. 86.
19. Jago 2015, p. 106.
20. Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (London: Allen Lane, 2009), p. 208.
21. Howard 1987, p. 96.
22. Matthew 2004, p. 87.
23. "Conduct of the War". Hansard. 8 May 1940. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
24. Jenkins 2002, p. 582.
25. Roberts 1991, pp. 275–277.
26. Jenkins 2002, p. 583.
27. On the 9 May meeting, see Taylor Downing, "Cometh the finest hour." History Today 60.5 (2010): 25ff.
28. Jenkins 2002, p. 586.
29. Roberts 1991, p. 279.
30. Roberts 1991, p. 277.
31. Blake, Robert (1993). "How Churchill Became Prime MInister". In Blake, Robert B.; Louis, William Roger (eds.). Churchill. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 264–270. ISBN 0-19-820626-7.
32. "Churchill decides to fight on". BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
33. Halifax, p. 215.
34. Colville, Fringes of Power, p. 321.
35. Martin, Stanley (2007). The Order of Merit: one hundred years of matchless honour. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 375.
36. Roberts 1991, p. 14; the book says "there" which presumably means at Temple Newsam rather than the Leeds City Museum.
37. Matthew 2004, p. 89.
38. "Compute the Relative Value of a U.K. Pound". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
39. Roberts 1991, p. 14.
40. A Gentleman with a Duster [pseud. for Harold Begbie], The Conservative Mind (London: Mills & Boon, 1924), pp. 47–48.
41. Harold Macmillan, Winds of Change (London: Macmillan, 1966), p. 531.
42. Lord Butler, The Art of the Possible (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1971), p. 77.
43. Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy, 1933–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 9.
44. Matthew 2004, pp. 85–88.
45. "Making history with brick and mortar". Hindustan Times. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012.
46. "No. 32759". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 October 1922. p. 7527.
47. "No. 33117". The London Gazette. 25 December 1925. p. 8567.
48. "No. 33139". The London Gazette. 5 March 1926. p. 1667.
49. The Peerage, entry for 1st Earl of Halifax
50. Lady Anne Dorothy Wood profile,; accessed 27 March 2016.
51. Christ Church Oxford, Biography Archived 2012-12-24 at the Wayback Machine


• Churchill, Winston S., Their Finest Hour. New York, 1949.
• Churchill, Winston S., The Gathering Storm. Boston, 1948.
• Colville, John, The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries 1939–1955. New York, 1985.
• Dalton, Hugh, The Fateful Years, Memoirs 1939–1945. London, 1957.
• Gilbert, Martin, Churchill: A Life. New York, 1991.
• Gilbert, Martin, Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill 1939–1941. London, 1983.
• Gilbert, Martin (ed.), The Churchill War Papers Volume I: At the Admiralty. September 1939 – May 1940. London, 1993.
• Gilbert, Martin (ed.), The Churchill War Papers Volume II: Never Surrender. May 1940 – December 1940. London, 19.
• Gries, Thomas E. (ed.), The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean. West Point, New York 2002.
• Halifax, Lord, Fullness of Days. New York, 1957.
• Howard, Anthony, RAB: The Life of R. A. Butler, Jonathan Cape 1987 ISBN 978-0224018623.
• Jago, Michael, Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?, Biteback Publishing 2015 ISBN 978-1849549202.
• Jenkins, Roy, Churchill. London: Pan, 2002. ISBN 0 330 48805 8.
• Liddell-Hart, B. H., History of the Second World War. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky, 1970. ISBN 978-1-56852-627-0.
• Lukacs, John, Five Days in London: May 1940. Yale University, 1999 ISBN 0-300-08466-8.
• Matthew (editor), Colin (2004). Dictionary of National Biography. 60. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198614111., essay on Halifax (pp. 81–89) written by David Dutton.
• Roberts, Andrew, The 'Holy Fox': The Life of Lord Halifax. London, 1991.
• Schwoerer, Lois G. "Lord Halifax's Visit To Germany: November 1937." Historian 32.3 (1970): 353-375.
• Young, Peter (ed.), Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia. Volume 2. Jaspard Polus, Monaco 1966.


• Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (London: Allen Lane, 2009).
• A Gentleman with a Duster [pseud. for Harold Begbie], The Conservative Mind (London: Mills & Boon, 1924).
• Lord Butler, The Art of the Possible (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1971).
• Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy, 1933–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 1975).
• Keith Feiling, A Life of Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1970).
• The Earl of Halifax, Fulness of Days (London: Collins, 1957).
• Andrew Roberts, The Holy Fox: The Life of Lord Halifax (Phoenix, 1997 (originally published 1991)).

Further reading

• Alan Campbell-Johnson and R. Hale. Viscount Halifax: A Biography. 1941
• Earl of Birkenhead. Earl of Halifax: The Life of Lord Halifax. Hamilton, 1965.

External links

• Works by Charles, Lord Halifax Lindley at Faded Page (Canada)
• Works by or about Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax at Internet Archive
• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Halifax
• Lord Irwin
• Biography,
• Bibliography
• Lord Halifax, Our War Aims – Now and After, radio broadcast November 1939
• Newspaper clippings about Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:43 am

Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• Sir Malcolm Hailey, Governor of the Punjab

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia


William Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey OM GCSI GCMG GCIE PC (15 February 1872 – 1 June 1969), known as Sir Malcolm Hailey between 1921 and 1936, was a British peer and administrator in British India.


Hailey was a graduate of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, having been educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, and entered the Indian Civil Service in 1896.

Hailey College of Commerce is a constituent undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate college of the University of the Punjab in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Established on 4 March 1927 after the name of Sir Malcolm Hailey, the then Governor of the Punjab and the Chancellor of the university. It is the oldest specialized institution of commerce in Asia.


Hailey was Governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928, a compromiser with the Akali leadership,[1] and Governor of the United Provinces 1928 to 1934. He was early convinced of the strength of Indian nationalism, but remained ambivalent about it.[2]

He was appointed a CIE in 1911, a Companion of the Order of the Star of India in 1915, a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire 1921 and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1928 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of India in 1932. In 1936, while he was the Governor of United Provinces, India's oldest national park was created and was named Hailey National Park in his honour (later renamed Jim Corbett National Park). The same year, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Hailey, of Shahpur in the Punjab and Newport Pagnell in the County of Buckingham.[3] In 1937 he was elected President of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. [4] In 1939 he was made a GCMG.

He subsequently spent time on missions to Africa, producing the African Survey in the late 1930s that proved very influential.[5] He advised limited recognition of African national movements.[6] He was invited to a meeting by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Malcolm MacDonald, in 1939 at which the setting up of the Colonial Social Science Research Council was discussed. In 1942 he was appointed to lead the British Colonial Research Committee.[7]

In 1948, he was made a member of the Privy Council. His powers of speaking and intellectual synthesis were widely recognised.[8] He became a member of the Order of Merit in 1956.

Hailey also served as a Trustee of The Rhodes Trust from 1941-1964.

Personal life

Malcolm Hailey married Andreina Alesandra Balzani in 1896.[9]

Lord Hailey died in 1969 aged 97. With his death, the barony became extinct, as his only son and heir, Alan Hailey (1900–1943) had been killed without issue in the Middle East during the Second World War.


• 1872–1911: Malcolm Hailey
• 1911–1915: Malcolm Hailey, CIE
• 1915–1921: Malcolm Hailey, CSI, CIE
• 1921–1928: Sir Malcolm Hailey, KCSI, CIE
• 1928–1932: Sir Malcolm Hailey, GCIE, KCSI
• 1932–1936: Sir Malcolm Hailey, GCSI, GCIE
• 1936–1939: The Right Honourable The Lord Hailey, GCSI, GCIE
• 1939–1948: The Right Honourable The Lord Hailey, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE
• 1948–1956: The Right Honourable The Lord Hailey, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC
• 1956–1969: The Right Honourable The Lord Hailey, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC


1. Jaito Da Morcha
2. Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj (1994) , p. 227.
3. "No. 34307". The London Gazette. 21 July 1936. p. 4670.
4. "The Journal Of The Royal Asiatic Society 1937". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
5. Robert D. Pearce, The Turning Point in Africa: British Colonial Policy, 1938-48 (1982), p. 43.
6. Barbara Bush, Imperialism, Race and Resistance: Africa and Britain, 1919-1945 (1999), p. 263.
7. Hargreaves, J. D. (1978). "Anglo-Saxon attitudes: A personal note about Sierra Leone Studies". Revue française d'histoire d'outre-mer. 65 (241): 553–556. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
8. Robin W. Winks, Alaine M. Low, The Oxford History of the British Empire (1999), p. 31.
9. Lundy, Darryl. "William Malcolm Hailey, 1st and last Baron". The Peerage.


• Concise Dictionary of National Biography
• John W. Cell (1992), Hailey: A Study in British Imperialism, 1872–1969
• Lundy, Darryl. "William Malcolm Hailey, 1st and last Baron". The Peerage.
• 1942 speech
• SIR WILLIAM MALCOLM HAILEY, site hosted by National Informatics Centre, UP State Unit, retrieved 19 September 2012
• Newspaper clippings about Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:56 am

Sir Edwin Hall Pascoe
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• Sir Edwin Pascoe, Director of the Geological Survey of India

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia


Sir Edwin Hall Pascoe (17 February 1878 – 7 July 1949) was an English geologist who worked in India with the Geological Survey of India. He proposed the idea that an Indo-Brahm river flowed between the rising Himalayas and Gondwanaland. The idea was that it was north of the current Gangetic plain and was shifted south with the rise of Himalayas and by deposition of soil by the river.

Early Life

Born in London to Edwin Pascoe and Mary A. Hall, he went to St John's College, Cambridge and joined the Geological Survey of India in 1905.


His early study in India was on the Great Kangra earthquake of 4 April 1905. He surveyed oil fields in Burma, Assam, Punjab, and on the Arabian Coast. He became the director of the GSI in 1921 and retired from it in 1932. He also worked with the Indian Museum and presided over the Indian School of Mines. He was a specialist on the Tertiary formations of India and hypothesized that the northern rivers of India (including the Brahmputra and the Ganges) flowed as one stream (the "Indobrahm" or the Shiwalik river of G.E. Pilgrim) draining west into the Arabian Sea.[1] He revised and published the third edition of the Manual of the Geology of India whose first edition had been by H.B. Medlicott and W.T. Blanford in 1879 with a second edition in 1893 by R.D. Oldham.[2]

He was knighted in the 1928 New Year Honours. [3]


1. Pascoe, E. H (1919). "The Early History of the Indus, Brahmaputra, and Ganges". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. 75: 138. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1919.075.01-04.11.
2. Fermor, L. L (1949). "Sir Edwin Pascoe". Nature. 164 (4176): 817. doi:10.1038/164817a0.
3. "No. 33343". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1927. p. 2.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:02 am

General Sir Kenneth Wigram
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• Major General Kenneth Wigram

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia

Sir Kenneth Wigram
Born: 5 December 1875
Died: 11 July 1949 (aged 73)
Allegiance: United Kingdom
Service/branch: British Indian Army
Years of service: 1896–1936
Rank: General
Commands held: Northern Command, India (1934–36)
Chief of the General Staff, India (1931–34)
Waziristan District (c. 1926–30)
Delhi Brigade Area (1922–24)
2nd Battalion, 2nd King Edward's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) (circa 1921)
Battles/wars: North-West Frontier; First World War
Awards: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of the Star of India
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Knight of the Legion of Honour (France)
Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Croix de guerre (Belgium)
Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Siam

General Sir Kenneth Wigram, GCB, CSI, CBE, DSO (5 December 1875 – 11 July 1949) was a British Indian Army officer. From 1931 to 1934 he was Chief of the General Staff of the Indian Army. From 1934 to 1936 he was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command in India.

Military career

Wigram was the son of Herbert Wigram, Indian Civil Service, and younger brother of Clive Wigram, 1st Baron Wigram. He was educated at Winchester College and was commissioned from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant, with a view to his appointment to the Indian Staff Corps on 22 January, 1896, and was eventually posted to the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles).[1]

He saw active service on North West Frontier of India from 1897 to 1898 and again from 1901 to 1902 before serving in Tibet from 1903 to 1904.[2]

At the outbreak of the First World War, Wigram was a major serving as a staff officer at the Indian Army headquarters. He remained in staff posts during the war, until February 1917 when he was promoted to temporary brigadier general and appointed Head of Operations (B) Section at the General Headquarters of the British Army in France. The following year, at the start of October, he was granted an RAF commission as a temporary brigadier general and he served on the Air Staff until April 1919 when he returned to the Army.[3]

He was appointed Director of Staff Duties at Army Headquarters in India in 1919, Commander of the Delhi Brigade Area in 1922 and Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster General at Northern Command in India in 1924.[2] He went on to be Commander of the Waziristan District in 1926, Chief of the General Staff in India in 1931 and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, India in 1934 before retiring in 1936.[4]

He was appointed Colonel of the Colonel of the 2nd K.E. VII's Gurkha Rifles in 1930. He relinquished his appointment as Colonel of the 2nd K.E. VII's Gurkha Rifles, 5th Dec. 1945.[5]


1. Winchester College 1867-1920. A Register.
2. Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
3. Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – General Sir Kenneth Wigram
4. "No. 34166". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 May 1935. p. 3594.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:19 am

William Louis Oberkirch Twiss (Indian Army officer)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• Brigadier W. L. O. Twiss

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia

William Louis Oberkirch Twiss
Born: 18 January 1879
Died: 13 October 1962
Allegiance: United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch: British Indian Army
Years of service: 1898 - 1939
Rank: Major-General
Unit 25th Madras Infantry
9th Gurkha Rifles
1st Punjab Regiment
Battles/wars Boxer Rebellion
British expedition to Tibet
First World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Major-General Sir William Louis Oberkirch Twiss KCIE CB CBE MC FRGS (1879-1962) was a senior British Indian Army officer.


Born on 18 January 1879, William Twiss was educated at Bedford School and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He received his first commission in January 1898, was appointed to the 25th Madras Infantry March 1899 and then was appointed to the 9th Gurkha Rifles in 1901.[1] He served in China during the Boxer Rebellion between 1900 and 1901 as a Transport Officer and was mentioned in despatches and during the British expedition to Tibet, between 1903 and 1904.

He served during the First World War in France and Flanders from September 1914 to September 1917 on the Staff and was Deputy Director of Military Intelligence, Army Headquarters, India, between 1917 and 1919.[2] He commanded the 2/9th Gurkha Rifles, between 1921 and 1923, was Director of Military Intelligence, Army Headquarters, India, between 1923 and 1924, and Director of Military Operations, Army Headquarters, India, between 1924 and 1927.

Promoted to the rank of Major General in 1929, he was Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, India, between 1932 and 1936, General Officer Commanding, Burma Independent District, between 1936 and 1937, and General Officer Commanding, Army in Burma, between 1937 and 1939.[3]

Major General Sir William Twiss was awarded the Military Cross in the London Gazette of 1 January 1916, became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 12 December 1919,[4] a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 1 January 1930,[5] and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire on 14 June 1938.[6] He retired from the British Indian Army in January 1939 and died on 13 October 1962.[7]


1. Indian Army List January 1901
2. Supplement to the Indian Army List January 1939
3. Who's Who
4. "No. 31684". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 1919. p. 15452.
5. "No. 33566". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1929. p. 3.
6. "No. 15500". The Edinburgh Gazette. 14 June 1938. p. 488.
7. Supplement to the Indian Army List January 1939
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:31 am

British expedition to Tibet [Younghusband Expedition]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/1/20

British invasion of Tibet
British and Tibetan officers negotiating
Date December 1903 – September 1904
Location: Tibet
26°05′20″N 89°16′37″ECoordinates: 26°05′20″N 89°16′37″E
Result: British Indian victory; Treaty of Lhasa; Return to status quo ante bellum, occupation of Chumbi valley until 1908 for Chinese payment of indemnities

The British expedition to Tibet, also known as the British invasion of Tibet or the Younghusband expedition to Tibet began in December 1903 and lasted until September 1904. The expedition was effectively a temporary invasion by British Indian forces under the auspices of the Tibet Frontier Commission, whose purported mission was to establish diplomatic relations and resolve the dispute over the border between Tibet and Sikkim.[2] In the nineteenth century, the British conquered Burma and Sikkim, occupying the whole southern flank of Tibet. The Tibetan Ganden Phodrang regime, which was then under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty, remained the only Himalayan state free of British influence.

The expedition was intended to counter Russia's perceived ambitions in the East and was initiated largely by Lord Curzon, the head of the British India government. Curzon had long obsessed over Russia's advance into Central Asia and now feared a Russian invasion of British India.[3] In April 1903, the British received clear assurances from the Russian government that it had no interest in Tibet. "In spite, however, of the Russian assurances, Lord Curzon continued to press for the dispatch of a mission to Tibet", a high level British political officer noted.[4]

The expedition fought its way to Gyantse and eventually reached Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in August 1904. The Dalai Lama had fled to safety, first in Mongolia and later in China, but thousands of Tibetans armed with antiquated muzzle-loaders and swords had been mown down by modern rifles and Maxim machine guns while attempting to block the British advance. At Lhasa, the Commission forced remaining Tibetan officials to sign the Treaty of Lhasa (1904), before withdrawing to Sikkim in September, with the understanding the Chinese government would not permit any other country to interfere with the administration of Tibet.[5]

The mission was recognized as a military expedition by the British Indian government, which issued a campaign medal, the Tibet Medal, to all those who took part.[6][7]


Main article: The Great Game

Col. Francis Younghusband

The causes of the conflict are obscure; historian Charles Allen considered the official reasons for the invasion "almost entirely bogus".[8] It seems to have been provoked primarily by rumours circulating amongst the Calcutta-based British administration that the Chinese government (which nominally ruled Tibet) was intending to give the province to the Russians, thus providing Russia with a direct route to British India, breaking the chain of quasi-autonomous buffer-states which separated India from the Russian Empire to the north. These rumours were supported by the Russian exploration of Tibet; Russian explorer Gombojab Tsybikov was the first photographer of Lhasa, residing there during 1900–1901 with the aid of the thirteenth Dalai Lama's Russian courtier Agvan Dorjiyev [Agvan Dorzhiev]. The Dalai Lama declined to have dealings with the British government in India, and sent Dorjiyev as emissary to the court of Czar Nicholas II with an appeal for Russian protection in 1900. Dorjiyev was warmly received at the Peterhof, and a year later at the Czar's palace in Yalta.

These events reinforced Curzon's belief that the Dalai Lama intended to place Tibet firmly within a sphere of Russian influence and end its neutrality.[9] In 1903, Lord Curzon sent a request to the governments of China and Tibet for negotiations, to be held at Khampa Dzong, a tiny Tibetan village north of Sikkim to establish trade agreements. The Chinese were willing, and ordered the thirteenth Dalai Lama to attend. However, the Dalai Lama refused, and also refused to provide transport to enable the amban, You Tai, to attend. Curzon concluded that China had no power or authority to compel the Tibetan government, and gained approval from London to send the Tibet Frontier Commission, led by Colonel Francis Younghusband
with John Claude White and E.C. Wilson as Deputy Commissioners, to Khampa Dzong.[10][11] However, it is not known whether the Balfour government was fully aware of the difficulty of the operation, or of the Tibetan intention to resist it.

On 19 July 1903, Younghusband arrived at Gangtok, the capital city of the Indian state of Sikkim, where John Claude White was Political Officer, to prepare for his mission. White was unhappy with his secondment to the expeditionary force and, to Younghusband's displeasure, had done everything in his power to have the appointment cancelled. He failed and Younghusband had his revenge for White's insubordination when he later left him in the leech-infested jungles of Sikkim to arrange mule and coolie transport to Tibet.[11]

Meanwhile, a letter from the under-secretary to the government of India to Younghusband on 26 July 1903 stated that "In the event of your meeting the Dalai Lama, the government of India authorizes you to give him the assurance which you suggest in your letter." From August 1903, Younghusband and his escort commander at Khampa Dzong, Lt-Col Herbert Brander, tried to provoke the Tibetans into a confrontation.[12] The British took a few months to prepare for the expedition which pressed into Tibetan territories in early December 1903 following an act of "Tibetan hostility", which was afterwards established by the British resident in Nepal to have been the herding of some trespassing Nepalese yaks and their drovers back across the border.[13] When Younghusband telegrammed the Viceroy, in an attempt to strengthen the British Cabinet's support of the invasion, that intelligence indicated Russian arms had entered Tibet, Curzon privately silenced him. "Remember that in the eyes of HMG we are advancing not because of Dorjyev, or Russian rifles in Lhasa, but because of our Convention shamelessly violated, our frontier trespassed upon, our subjects arrested, our mission flouted, our representations ignored."[14]

About two months after the return of the party I went out on a short trip on horseback to a place about fifty miles north-east of Lhasa. While I was there I saw two hundred camels fully loaded arrive from the north-east. The load consisted of small boxes, two packed on each camel. Every load was covered with skin, and so I could not even guess what it contained. The smallness of the boxes however arrested my attention, and I came to the conclusion that some Mongolians must have been bringing ingots of silver as a present to the Dalai Lama. I asked some of the drivers about the contents of the boxes, but they could not tell me anything. They were hired at some intermediate station, and so knew nothing about the contents. However they believed that the boxes contained silver, but they knew for certain that these boxes did not come from China. They had been informed by somebody that they came from some unknown place.

When I returned to the house of my host, the Minister of Finance came in and informed him that on that day a[506] heavy load had arrived from Russia. On my host inquiring what were the contents of the load, the Minister replied that this was a secret. I took a hint from this talk of the Minister and left the room. I had however by good chance discovered that the load came from Russia, and though I could not as yet form any idea about the contents, I tried to get some reliable information.

Now I knew one Government officer who was one of the worst repositories imaginable for any secret; he was such a gossip that it was easy to worm out anything from him. One day I met him and gradually the trend of our conversation was turned to the last caravan. I found him quite communicative as usual, and so I asked him about the contents of the load. The gentleman was so far obliging, that he told me (confidentially, he said) that another caravan of three hundred camels had arrived some time before, and that the load brought by so many camels consisted of small fire-arms, bullets, and other interesting objects. He was quite elated with the weapons, saying that now for the first time Tibet was sufficiently armed to resist any attack which England might undertake against her, and could defiantly reject any improper request which that aggressive power, as the Tibetans believe her to be, might make to her.

I had the opportunity to inspect one of the guns sent by Russia. It was apparently one of modern pattern, but it did not impress me as possessing any long range nor seem to be quite fit for active service. The stock bore an inscription attesting that it was made in the United States of America. The Tibetans being ignorant of Roman letters and English firmly believed that all the weapons were made in Russia. It seems that about one-half of the load of the five hundred camels consisted of small arms and ammunition.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

The British force, which had taken on all the characteristics of an invading army, numbered over 3,000 fighting men complemented by 7,000 sherpas, porters, and camp followers. The British authorities, anticipating the problems of high altitude conflict, included many Gurkha and Pathan troops from mountainous regions such as Nepal; six companies of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers, four companies of the 8th Gurkhas in reserve at Gnatong in Sikkim, and two Gurkha companies guarding the British camp at Khamba Jong were involved.

The Tibetans were aware of the expedition; to avoid bloodshed, the Tibetan general at Yadong pledged that if the British made no attack upon the Tibetans, he would not attack the British. Colonel Younghusband replied, on 6 December 1903, that "we are not at war with Tibet and that, unless we are ourselves attacked, we shall not attack the Tibetans". When no Tibetan or Chinese officials met the British at Khampa Dzong, Younghusband advanced with some 1,150 soldiers, porters, labourers, and thousands of pack animals, to Tuna, 50 miles beyond the border. After waiting more months there, hoping in vain to be met by negotiators, the expedition received orders (in 1904) to continue toward Lhasa.[15]

The Tibet government, guided by the Dalai Lama, alarmed by a large acquisitive foreign power dispatching a military mission to its capital, began marshalling its armed forces.

Initial advance

Major Francis Younghusband leading a British force to Lhasa in 1904

The British army that departed Gnathong in Sikkim on 11 December 1903 was well prepared for battle, having had long experience of Indian border wars. Its commander, Brigadier-General James Ronald Leslie Macdonald, wintered in the border country, using the time to train his troops near regular supplies of food and shelter before advancing in earnest in March, travelling over 50 miles (80 km) before encountering his first major obstacle at the pass of Guru, near Lake Bhan Tso on 31 March.

The massacre of Chumik Shenko

A military confrontation on 31 March 1904 became known as the Massacre of Chumik Shenko. Facing the vanguard of Macdonald's army and blocking the road was a Tibetan force of 3,000 armed with antiquated matchlock muskets, ensconced behind a 5-foot-high (1.5 m) rock wall. On the slope above, the Tibetans had placed seven or eight sangars.[16] The Commissioner, Younghusband, was asked to stop but replied that the advance must continue, and that he could not allow any Tibetan troops to remain on the road. The Tibetans would not fight, but nor would they vacate their positions. Younghusband and Macdonald agreed that "the only thing to do was to disarm them and let them go". This at least was the official version. The writer Charles Allen has also suggested that a dummy attack was played out in an effort to provoke the Tibetans into opening fire.[17]

It seems then that scuffles between the Sikhs and Tibetan guards grouped around Tibetan generals sparked an action of the Lhasa general: he fired a pistol hitting a Sikh in the jaw. British accounts insist that the Tibetan general became angry at the sight of the brawl developing and shot the Sikh soldier in the face, prompting a violent response from the soldier's comrades, which rapidly escalated the situation. Henry Newman, a reporter for Reuters, who described himself as an eye-witness, said that following this shot, the mass of Tibetans surged forward and their attack fell next on a correspondent for the Daily Mail, Edmund Candler, and that very soon after this, fire was directed from three sides on the Tibetans crowded behind the wall. In Doctor Austine Waddell's account, "they poured a withering fire into the enemy, which, with the quick firing Maxims, mowed down the Tibetans in a few minutes with a terrific slaughter."[18]
Second-hand accounts from the Tibetan side have asserted both that the British tricked the Tibetans into extinguishing the fuses for their matchlocks, and that the British opened fire without warning. However, no evidence exists to show such trickery took place and the likelihood is that the unwieldy weapons were of very limited use in the circumstances. Furthermore, the British, Sikh, and Gurkha soldiers closest to the Tibetans were nearly all protected by a high wall, and none were killed.[19]

Tibetan Soldier at Target Practice

The Tibetans were mown down by the Maxim guns as they fled. "I got so sick of the slaughter that I ceased fire, though the general’s order was to make as big a bag as possible", wrote Lieutenant Arthur Hadow, commander of the Maxim guns detachment. "I hope I shall never again have to shoot down men walking away."[20]

Half a mile from the battlefield, the Tibetan forces reached shelter and were allowed to withdraw by Brigadier-General Macdonald. Behind them, they left between 600 and 700 dead and 168 wounded, 148 of whom survived in British field hospitals as prisoners. British casualties were 12 wounded.[21] During this battle and some to follow, the Tibetans wore amulets which their lamas had promised would magically protect them from any harm. After one battle, surviving Tibetans showed profound confusion over the ineffectiveness of these amulets.
[21] In a telegraph to his superior in India, the day after the massacre, Younghusband stated: "I trust the tremendous punishment they have received will prevent further fighting, and induce them at last to negotiate."

The advance continues to Gyantse

Armoured Tibetan horseman

Past the first barrier and with increasing momentum, Macdonald's force crossed abandoned defences at Kangma a week later, and on 9 April attempted to pass through Red Idol Gorge, which had been fortified to prevent passage. Macdonald ordered his Gurkha troops to scale the steep hillsides of the gorge and drive out the Tibetan forces ensconced high on their cliffs. This they began, but soon were lost in a furious blizzard, which stopped all communications with the Gurkha force. Some hours later, exploratory probes down the pass encountered shooting and a desultory exchange continued till the storm ended around noon, which showed that the Gurkhas had by chance found their way to a position above the Tibetan troops. Thus faced with shooting from both sides as Sikh soldiers pushed up the hill, the Tibetans moved back, again coming under severe fire from British artillery and retreated in good order, leaving behind 200 dead. British losses were again negligible.

Following this fight at the "Red Idol Gorge", as the British later called it, the British military pressed on to Gyantse, reaching it on 11 April.[22] The town's gates were opened before Macdonald's forces, the garrison having already departed. Francis Younghusband wrote to his father; "As I have always said, the Tibetans are nothing but sheep."
The townspeople continued with their business and the Westerners took a look at the monastic complex, the Palkor Chode. The central feature was the Temple of One Hundred Thousand Deities, a nine-storey stupa, modelled on the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, the spot where Gautama Buddha first achieved enlightenment.[23] Statuettes and scrolls were shared out between officers. Younghusband's Mission Staff and Escort were billeted in the country mansion and farmyard of a Tibetan noble family named Changlo, and 'Changlo Manor' became the Mission Headquarters where Younghusband could hold his durbars and meet representatives of the Dalai Lama. In the words of historian Charles Allen, they now entered 'a halcyon period', even planting a vegetable garden at the Manor while officers explored the town unescorted, or went fishing and shooting. The Commission's medical officer, the philanthropic Captain Herbert Walton, attended to the needs of the local populace, notably performing operations to correct cleft palates, a particularly common affliction in Tibet.[24] Five days after he arrived at Gyantse, and deeming the defences of Changlo Manor secure, Macdonald ordered the main force to begin the march back to New Chumbi to protect the supply line.[25]

Younghusband wanted to move the Mission to Lhasa and telegraphed London for an opinion but got no reply. Reaction in Britain to the massacre at Chumik Shenko had been one of "shock [and] growing disquiet". The Spectator and Punch magazines had expressed views critical of a spectacle that included "half-armed men" being wiped out "with the irresistible weapons of science". In Whitehall, the Cabinet "kept its collective head down". Meanwhile, intelligence reached Younghusband that Tibetan troops had gathered at Karo La, 45 miles east of Gyantse.[26]

Lt. Colonel Herbert Brander, Commander of the Mission Escort at Changlo Manor, decided to strike against the Tibetan force assembling at Karo La without consulting Brigadier-General Macdonald, who was two days' riding away. Brander consulted Younghusband instead, who declared himself in favour of the action.
Perceval Landon, correspondent of The Times who had sat in on the discussions, observed that it was "injudicious" to attack the Tibetans, and that it was "quite out of keeping with the studious way in which we have hitherto kept ourselves in the right." Brander's telegram setting out his plans reached Macdonald at New Chumbi on 3 May and he sought to reverse the action, but it was too late.[27] The battle at Karo La on 5–6 May is possibly the highest altitude action in history, won by Gurkha riflemen of the 8th Gurkhas and sepoys of the 32nd Sikh Pioneers who had climbed and then fought at an altitude in excess of 5,700 m.[28]

The Mission under siege

Meanwhile, an estimated 800 Tibetans attacked the Chang Lo garrison. The Tibetan war whoops gave the Mission staff time to form ranks and repulse the assailants, who lost 160 dead; three men of the Mission garrison were killed.

I may call the Sword Festival a sort of Tibetan military review. At any rate the regulars in and about Lhasa participated in it, and also the special soldiers temporarily organised for the occasion. They were all mounted, and numbered altogether perhaps two thousand five hundred men. They were quaintly accoutred, and seemed to be divided according to the colors of the pieces of cloth attached to the back of their helmets and hanging down behind. I saw a party of about five hundred troopers distinguished by white cloths, then another with purple cloths, while there was a third which used cloths of variegated dyes. But irrespective of the different colors, they were all clad in a sort of armor and carried small flags also of different colors. Some were armed with bows and arrows and others with guns, and the procession of the gaily attired soldiery was not unlike the rows of decorated May dolls arranged for sale in Tokyo on the eve of the Boys’ Festival in Japan.

The proceedings began with a signal gun. As the booming sound subsided the procession of soldiery made its appearance and each division went past the Grand Lama’s seat constructed on an elevated stand to the west of the Hall. With the termination of this march-past a party of about three hundred priests, carrying a flat drum each with a long handle and with the figure of a dragon inscribed upon its face, came out of the main edifice. Each of them carried in his right hand a crooked drum-stick. This party took its stand in a circle in front of the Hall. Next marched out the second party of priests all gorgeously attired in glittering coats and brocade tunics, each carrying a metallic bowl used in religious services. I must mention that the function demands of the soldiery and priests the washing of their bodies with warm water on the preceding evening, and so on that particular occasion those Tibetans, careless and negligent of bodily cleanliness at other times, are for the first time in the year almost decently clean.

The metallic-bowl party was arranged in a row around the drum party, and soon the signal for the service was given by one of the bowl-men who was apparently a leader. It was a peculiar signal, and consisted in striking on the bowl and starting a strange dancing movement. On this the two parties beat their drums and bowls in some sort of tune. After this had gone on for some time the whole party burst out into a chorus of ominous howls, not unlike the roar of the tiger. As the thousand priests composing the two parties all howled to the fullest extent of their throats, the noise made was sufficiently loud.

After the howling parties had completed their part in this ceremony, out marched a party of Nechung priests, those oracle-mongers of Tibet to whom reference has been made more than once already. The oracle-mongers’ party was heralded by a number of sacred-sword-bearers[547] in two rows, about a dozen in each. The sword carried measured about four feet in length and was set off with pieces of silk cloth of five different colors. The sword-bearers were followed by the bearers of golden censers and other sacred caskets or vessels. Then followed the oracle-monger, dressed cap-à-pie in all the glittering fashion which Tibetan ingenuity alone could devise. He was clad in gold brocade and wore head-gear of the same cloth. He behaved like a man stricken with palsy, was supported right and left by an assistant, and his eyes were shut. Gasping like a fish out of water and walking with a tottering gait not unlike that of a man who has lost his power of locomotion through too much liquor, the Nechung slowly emerged from the Hall. By the ignorant populace he was greeted as an object of veneration, but there were seen not a small number of priests and laymen who looked upon this peculiar appearance of the Nechung with eyes of undisguised disgust.

The part assigned to this Lama fanatic is one of semi-divine character, he being required to act as a guardian angel, to prevent any mishaps occurring during the ceremony of the ‘Sword Festival’.

Last of all slowly marched forth the procession of the Ganden Ti Rinpoche. I saw him under a capacious and highly decorated awning which is the same sort of umbrella as that of the Grand Lama. He was attired in the ceremonial robe befitting his rank of Ti Rinpoche. His appearance was highly impressive and even those priests who had viewed the oracle-mongers with well-deserved scorn were seen in attitudes of sincere respect. That was also my sentiment as my eyes met him; for he truly impressed me as a living Buḍḍha. To the Ti Rinpoche was entrusted the most important function in this ceremony, the hurling of the sacred sword in order to avert any evil spirits that may obstruct the prosperous reign of the[548] Chinese Emperor. With this sword-hurling the ceremony was brought to a close.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

An extravagant account of the attack, written by Lieutenant Leonard Bethell while faraway at New Chumbi, extolled Younghusband's heroism; in fact, Younghusband's own account revealed that he had fled to the Redoubt, where he remained under cover. The Gurkhas' light mountain guns and Maxims which would have been extremely useful in defending the fort, now back in Tibetan hands, had been requisitioned by Brander's Karo La party. Younghusband sent a message to Brander telling him to complete his attack on Karo, and only then to return to relieve the garrison. The unprovoked attack on the Mission and the Tibetans' reoccupation of the Gyantse Jong,[29] though a shock, did in fact serve Younghusband's purpose. He wrote privately to Lord Curzon: "The Tibetans as usual have played into our hands." To Lord Ampthill in Simla he wrote that "His Majesty's Government must see that the necessity for going to Lhasa has now been proved beyond all doubt."[30]

Following the 5 May attack, the Mission and its garrison remained under constant fire from the Jong. The Tibetans' weapons may have been inefficient and primitive but they kept up a constant pressure and fatalities were an irregular but nagging reality; a fatality on 6 May was followed by another eleven in the seven weeks after the surprise attack on Changlo Manor. The garrison responded with its own attacks; some of the Mounted Infantry returned from Karo La, armed with new standard-issue Lee–Enfield rifles, and pursued Tibetan horsemen, and one of the Maxims was stationed on the roof and short bursts of machine-gun fire met targets as they appeared on the walls of the Jong.[31]

The attack on Changlo Manor seemed to spur the British and Indian Governments to renewed efforts, and reinforcements were duly despatched. British troops stationed at Lebong, the 1st battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, the nearest British infantry available, were sent, as well as six companies of Indian troops from the 40th Pathans, a party from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles with two Maxim guns, a British Army Mountain Battery with four ten-pounder guns, and Murree Mountain Battery, as well as two Field Hospitals. Setting out on 24 May 1904, the Royal Fusiliers joined up with Macdonald at New Chumbi, the base depot of the Tibet Mission, in the first days of June.[32]

Alarms and politics at Gyantse, and beyond

Native troops on the expedition

Significant alarms and actions during this period included fighting on 18–19 May when attempts were made to take a building away from the Tibetans between the Jong and the Mission post, which were successful. About 50 Tibetans were gunned down and the building was renamed the Gurkha House. On 21 May Brander's fighters set out for the village of Naini, where the monastery and a small fort were occupied by the Tibetans; they were involved in significant fighting but were required to break off to return to defend the Mission which was under concerted attack from the Jong – an attack stifled by Ottley's Mounted Infantry. It was the last serious attempt by Dapon Tailing (the Tibetan commander of the garrison at Gyantse Jong) to take Changlo Manor. On 24 May a company of the 32nd Sikh pioneers arrived and Captain Seymour Shepard, DSO, 'a legend in the Indian Army' reached Gyantse, commanding a group of sappers, which lifted British morale. On 28 May he was involved in an attack on Palla Manor, 1,000 yards east of Changlo Manor. 400 Tibetans were killed or wounded. No more assaults were contemplated at this point until Macdonald returned with more troops and Brander concentrated on strengthening the 3 positions: the Manor, the Gurka House, and Palla Manor; he also reopened the line of communication with New Chumbi.

By now the Commander-in-Chief in India, Lord Kitchener, was determined to see that Brigadier-General Macdonald should henceforth be in charge of the Mission at all times. The feeling in Simla was that Younghusband was unduly eager to head straight for Lhasa. Younghusband set out for New Chumbi on 6 June and telegraphed Louis Dane, the head of Curzon's Foreign Department, telling him that "we are now fighting the Russians, not the Tibetans. Since Karo La we are dealing with Russia." He further sent off a stream of letters and telegrams claiming there was overwhelming evidence of the Tibetans relying on Russian support and that they were receiving a very substantial amount of it. These were claims with no foundation. Younghusband was ordered by Lord Ampthill, as acting Viceroy, to re-open negotiations and try again to communicate with the Dalai Lama. Reluctantly Younghusband did deliver an ultimatum in two letters, one addressed to the Dalai Lama and one to the Chinese amban, Manchu Resident in Lhasa, Yu-t'ai, though, as he wrote to his sister, he was against this course of action for he saw it as "giving them another chance of negotiating". On 10 June Younghusband arrived at New Chumbi. Macdonald and Younghusband discussed their differences, and on 12 June the Tibet Field Force marched out of New Chumbi.

Once the obstacle of Gyantse Dong was cleared, the road to Lhasa would be open. Gyantse Dzong was, however, too strong for a small raiding force to capture, and as it overlooked British supply routes, it became the primary target of Macdonald's army. On 26 June, a fortified monastery at Naini which covered the approach was taken in house-to-house fighting by the Gurkhas and 40th Pathan soldiers. Further, Tibetan forces in two forts in the village were caught "between two fires" as the garrison at Changlo Manor joined the fight.[33] On 28 June a final obstacle to assaulting Gyantse Jong was overcome when the Tsechen monastery, to the north-west, and the fortress that guarded its rear were cleared by two companies of Gurkhas, the 40th Pathans and two waves of infantry. Since the monastery had offered resistance it was considered fit to loot – several old and valuable thankas duly surfaced at Christie's later in the summer and were sold for high prices.[34]

Tibetan responses to the invasion so far had comprised almost entirely static defences and sniping from the mountains at the passing column, neither tactic proving effective. Apart from the failed assault on Chang Lo two months previously, the Tibetans had not made any sallies against British positions. This attitude was born of a mix of justifiable fear of the Maxim Guns, and faith in the solid rock of their defences, yet in every battle they were disappointed, primarily by their poor weaponry and inexperienced officers.

On 3 July, a formal durbar was held at the Mission and the Tibetan delegation told by Younghusband to clear out of the Jong in 36 hours. Younghusband made no effort to negotiate, though why talks could not take place while the Tibetans held the Jong was not clear. The more patient General Macdonald, meanwhile, was subject to a campaign that sought to undermine his authority; Captain O'Connor wrote to Helen Younghusband on 3 July that "He should be removed & another & better man -- a fighting general -- substituted".

Storming of Gyantse Dzong

The Gyantse Dzong today

The Gyantse Dzong was a massively protected fortress; defended by the best Tibetan troops and the country's only artillery, it commanded a forbidding position high over the valley below. Macdonald engaged in a 'demonstration', a feint directed mainly against the western edges of Gyantse Jong which would draw Tibetan soldiers away from the southern side of the Jong which was to be the main object of the attack to come. An artillery bombardment with mountain guns would then create a breach, which would be stormed immediately by his main force. The ancient monastic complex at Tsechen, dating from the fourteenth century, was torched, to prevent its re-occupation by the Tibetans.

The eventual assault on 6 July did not happen as planned, as the Tibetan walls were stronger than expected. General Macdonald's plan was for the infantry to advance in three columns, from the south-west, the south, and south-east. Yet at the opening of the attack there was a near disaster when two columns blundered into each other in the dark. It took eleven hours to break through. The breach was not completed until 4:00 pm, by which time the assault had little time to succeed before nightfall. As Gurkhas and Royal Fusiliers charged the broken wall, they came under heavy fire and suffered some casualties. Gurkha troops climbed the rock directly under the upper ramparts, scaling the rock face as rocks rained down on them and misdirected fire from one of the Maxims hit more of these Gurkhas than Tibetan defenders above them.[35] After several failed attempts to gain the walls, two soldiers broke through a bottleneck under fire despite both being wounded. They gained a foothold which the following troops exploited, enabling the walls to be taken. The Tibetans retreated in good order, allowing the British control of the road to Lhasa, but denying Macdonald a route and thus remaining a constant threat (although never a serious problem) in the British rear for the remainder of the campaign.

The two soldiers who broke the wall at Gyantse Jong were both well rewarded. Lieutenant John Duncan Grant was given the only Victoria Cross awarded during the expedition, whilst Havildar Pun received the Indian Order of Merit first class (equivalent to the VC as Indian soldiers were not eligible for VCs until the First World War). Major Wimberley, one of the Medical Officers to the Mission, wrote that though he had seen the Gordons at Dargai he considered "the storming of the breach at Gyantse Jong by the Gurkhas a far finer performance."

Considerable pillaging took place at Palkor Chode, Dongtse and other monasteries after the fall of Gyantse Jong.[36] Whatever General Orders and the Hague Convention of 1899 may have dictated, looting seemed acceptable if the army felt it had been opposed in any way. According to Major William Beynon, in a letter to his wife of 7 July, some of the looting was officially approved –- claims by Dr Waddell, Brigadier-General Macdonald and his chief of staff, Major Iggulden that monastic sites were "most religiously respected" look hollow.[37]

Entry to Lhasa

The Potala Palace

On 12 July the sappers pulled down the Tsechen monastery and fort and on 14 July Macdonald's force marched east on the Lhasa road.

Amban Yu-t'ai with Col. Younghusband at Lhasa

At the Karo La, the Wide-Mouthed Pass that had been the scene of fighting two and a half months earlier, the Gurkhas skirmished with a determined group of Tibetan fighters on the heights to the left and right. Essentially however resistance faded before the advance and a policy of scorched earth was adopted – the Tibetans removed what food and fodder they could and emptied villages. Nevertheless, troops could fish in the lakes, where there were also plenty of gulls and redshanks. They passed along the shores of the Yamdok Tso, and reached the fortress of Nakartse, unoccupied except for a party of delegates from Lhasa. Macdonald urged Younghusband to settle the business but Younghusband would negotiate only at Lhasa. By 22 July, the troops camped under the wall of another fortress, Peté Jong, deserted and in ruins, while Mounted Infantry pushed on ahead to seize the crossing at Chushul Chakzam, the Iron Bridge. On 25 July, the army began to cross the Tsangpo in the wake of the Mounted Infantry, a feat that took four days to achieve.

The force arrived in Lhasa on 3 August 1904 to discover that the thirteenth Dalai Lama had fled to Urga, the capital of Outer Mongolia. The Amban escorted the British into the city with his personal guard, but informed them that he had no authority to negotiate with them. The Tibetans told them that only the absent Dalai Lama had authority to sign any accord. The Amban advised the Chinese emperor to depose the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Council of Ministers and the General Assembly began to submit to pressure on the terms as August progressed, except on the matter of the indemnity which they believed impossibly high for a poor country.[38] Eventually however Younghusband intimidated the regent, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, and the Tsongdu (Tibetan National Assembly), into signing a treaty on 7 September 1904, drafted by himself, known subsequently as the Treaty of Lhasa. It was signed, again at Younghusband's insistence, at the Potala Palace. He wrote gleefully to his wife that he had been able to "ram the whole treaty down their throats".[39]

The Anglo-Tibetan Treaty of Lhasa (1904)

Main article: Treaty of Lhasa

The salient points of the Treaty of Lhasa of 1904 were as follows:

• The British allowed to trade in Yadong, Gyantse, and Gartok.
• Tibet to pay a large indemnity (7,500,000 rupees, later reduced by two-thirds; the Chumbi Valley to be ceded to Britain until paid).
• Recognition of the Sikkim-Tibet border.
• Tibet to have no relations with any other foreign powers (effectively converting Tibet into a British protectorate).[40]

The size of the indemnity had been the hardest factor to accept for the Tibetan negotiators. The Secretary of State for India, St John Brodrick, had in fact expressed the need for it to be "within the power of the Tibetans to pay" and given Younghusband a free hand to be "guided by circumstances in this matter". Younghusband raised the indemnity demanded from 5,900,000 to 7,500,000 rupees, and further demanded the right for a British trade agent, based at Gyantse, to visit Lhasa "for consultations".
It seems that he was still following Lord Curzon's geo-political agenda to extend British influence in Tibet by securing the Chumbi Valley for Britain. Younghusband wanted the payment to be met by yearly instalments; it would have taken about 75 years for the Tibetans to clear their debt, and since British occupation of the Chumbi valley was surety until payment was completed, the valley would remain in British hands.[41] Younghusband wrote to his wife immediately after the signing; "I have got Chumbi for 75 years. I have got Russia out for ever".[42] The regent commented that "When one has known the scorpion [meaning China] the frog [meaning Britain] is divine".

The Amban later publicly repudiated the treaty, while Britain announced that it still accepted Chinese claims of authority over Tibet. Acting Viceroy Lord Ampthill reduced the indemnity by two-thirds and considerably eased the terms in other ways. The provisions of this 1904 treaty were revised in the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1906.[43] The British, for a fee from the Qing court, also agreed "not to annex Tibetan territory or to interfere in the administration of Tibet", while China engaged "not to permit any other foreign state to interfere with the territory or internal administration of Tibet".[44][45][46]

Conclusion of the campaign

The British mission departed in late September 1904, after a ceremonial presentation of gifts. Britain had "won" and had received the agreements it desired, but without actually receiving any tangible results. The Tibetans had lost the war but had seen China humbled by its failure to defend its client state from foreign incursion, and had pacified the invader by signing an unenforceable and largely irrelevant treaty. Captured Tibetan troops were released without condition upon the war's conclusion, many after receiving medical treatment.

It was in fact the reaction in London which was fiercest in condemnation of the war. By the Edwardian period, colonial wars had become increasingly unpopular, and public and political opinion were unhappy about waging war for such minor reasons as those provided by Curzon, and about the beginning battle, which was described in Britain as a deliberate massacre of unarmed men. It was only because of support from King Edward VII that Younghusband, Macdonald, Grant and others were praised for the war. The British lost just 202 men to the enemy and 411 to other causes. Tibetan casualties have been estimated at between 2,000-3,000 killed or fatally wounded.[47]

Though Younghusband, through Curzon's patronage, ascended to the Residency of Kashmir following the campaign, his judgment was no longer trusted, and political decisions on Kashmir and the princely states were made without him. Once Curzon's protection was gone, Younghusband had no future in the Indian political service. In 1908, the position he wanted, that of Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province, was handed to George Roos-Keppel, a man whose interactions with the people of the border regions was based on respect, rather than the contempt which marked Younghusband's attitudes toward "lesser breeds without the law".[48]

Force composition

The composition of the opposing armies explains a lot about the outcome of the ensuing conflict. The Tibetan soldiers were almost all rapidly impressed peasants, who lacked organisation, discipline, training and motivation. Only a handful of their most devoted units, comprising monks armed usually with swords and jingals, proved to be effective, but they were in such small numbers as to be unable to reverse the tide of battle. This problem was exacerbated by their generals, who seemed in awe of the British and refused to make any aggressive moves against the small and often dispersed column. They also failed conspicuously to properly defend their natural barriers, frequently offering battle in relatively open ground, where Maxim guns and rifle volleys caused great numbers of casualties.

By contrast, the British and Indian troops were experienced veterans of mountainous border warfare on the North-West Frontier, as was their commanding officer. Amongst the units at his disposal in his 3,000 strong force were elements of the 8th Gurkhas, 40th Pathans, 23rd and 32nd Sikh Pioneers, 19th Punjab Infantry and the Royal Fusiliers, as well as mountain artillery, engineers, Maxim gun detachments from four regiments and thousands of porters recruited from Nepal and Sikkim. With their combination of experienced officers, well-maintained modern equipment and strong morale, they were able to defeat the Tibetan armies at every encounter.


The Tibetans were not just unwilling to fulfil the treaty; they were also unable to perform many of its stipulations. Tibet did not have any substantial international trade commodities, and already accepted the borders with its neighbours. Nevertheless, the provisions of the 1904 treaty were confirmed by the 1906 Anglo-Chinese Convention signed between Britain and China. The British, for a fee from the Qing court, also agreed "not to annex Tibetan territory or to interfere in the administration of Tibet", while China engaged "not to permit any other foreign state to interfere with the territory or internal administration of Tibet".[44][45]

The British invasion was one of the triggers for the 1905 Tibetan Rebellion at Batang monastery, when anti-foreign Tibetan lamas massacred French missionaries, Manchu and Han Qing officials, and Christian converts before the Qing crushed the revolt.[49][50]

No. 10. Despatch from Consul-General Wilkinson to Sir E. Satow, dated Yünnan-fu, 28th April, 1905. (Received in London 14th June, 1905.) Pere Maire, the Provicaire of the Roman Catholic Mission here, called this morning to show me a telegram which he had just received from a native priest of his Mission at Tali. The telegram, which is in Latin, is dated Tali, the 24th April, and is to the effect that the lamas of Batang have killed PP. Musset and Soulie, together with, it is believed, 200 converts. The chapel at Atentse has been burnt down, and the lamas hold the road to Tachien-lu. Pere Bourdonnec (another member of the French Tibet Mission) begs that Pere Maire will take action. Pere Maire has accordingly written to M. Leduc, my French colleague, who will doubtless communicate with the Governor-General. The Provicaire is of opinion that the missionaries were attacked by orders of the ex-Dalai Lama, as the nearest Europeans on whom he could avenge his disgrace. He is good enough to say that he will give me any further information which he may receive. I am telegraphing to you the news of the massacre.

I have, &c., (Signed) W. H. WILKINSON. East India (Tibet): Papers Relating to Tibet [and Further Papers ...], Issues 2–4, Great Britain. Foreign Office, p. 12.[51][52]

Contemporary documents show that the British continued the physical occupation of Chumbi Valley until 8 February 1908, after having received the full payment from China.[53]

In early 1910, Qing China sent a military expedition of its own to Tibet for direct rule. However, the Qing dynasty was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution, which began in October 1911. Although the Chinese forces departed once more in 1913, the First World War and the Russian Revolution isolated the now independent Tibet, reducing Western influence and interest. Ineffectual regents ruled during the 14th Dalai Lama's infancy and China began to reassert its control, a process that culminated in 1950–1951 with the Chinese invasion of Tibet by a newly-formed Communist China.[54]

The position of British Trade Agent at Gyangzê was occupied from 1904 until 1944. It was not until 1937, with the creation of the position of "Head of British Mission Lhasa", that a British officer had a permanent posting in Lhasa itself.[55]

The British seem to have misread the military and diplomatic situation, for the Russians did not have the designs on India that the British imagined, and the campaign was politically redundant before it began. Russian arms in Tibet amounted to no more than thirty Russian government rifles, and the whole narrative of Russian influence, and the Czar's ambitions, was dropped. The defeats the Russians experienced in the Russo-Japanese war that began in February 1904 further altered perceptions of the balance of power in Asia, and the Russian threat. However, it has been argued that the campaign had "a profound effect upon Tibet, changing it forever, and for the worse at that, doing much to contribute to Tibet's loss of innocence."[56]

Subsequent interpretations

Chinese historians write of Tibetans heroically opposing the British out of loyalty not to Tibet, but to China. They assert that the British troops looted and burned, and that the British interest in trade relations was a pretext for annexing Tibet, a step toward the ultimate goal of annexing all of China. They assert also that the Tibetans destroyed the British forces, and that Younghusband escaped only with a small retinue.[57] The Chinese government has turned Gyantze Dzong into a "Resistance Against the British Museum", promoting these views, as well as other themes such as the brutal life endured by Tibetan serfs who fiercely loved their motherland.[58] China also treats the invasion as part of its "century of humiliation" at the hands of Western and Japanese powers and the defence as a Chinese resistance, while many Tibetans look back to it as an exercise of Tibetan self-defence and an act of independence from the Qing dynasty as the dynasty was falling apart.[59]

The historian Charles Allen, while disputed, has apologetically remarked that, although the Younghusband Mission did inflict "considerable material damage on Tibet and its people", it was damage that paled into insignificance when compared "to the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese People's Liberation Army in 1951 and the genocidal Cultural Revolution of 1966–1967".[60]

See also

• Tibetan Expedition of Islamic Bengal
• Tibet under Qing rule
• Chinese expedition to Tibet (1720)
• Chinese expedition to Tibet (1910)
• The Great Game
• Perceval Landon
• John Duncan Grant
• Sikkim Expedition
• Red River Valley, a 1997 Chinese movie about the events of the British expedition to Tibet
• Category:British military personnel of the British expedition to Tibet



1. Charles Allen, p. 299.
2. Landon, P. (1905). The Opening of Tibet Doubleday, Page & Co., New York.
3. Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows, John Murray 2004, p. 1.
4. Bell, Charles (1992). Tibet Past and Present. CUP Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 66. ISBN 81-208-1048-1. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
5. "Convention Between Great Britain and Tibet (1904)". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
6. Charles, Bell (1992). Tibet Past and Present. CUP Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 68. ISBN 81-208-1048-1. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
7. Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. pp. 217–8. Published Spink, London. 1988.
8. Duel in the Snows, Charles Allen, p.1
9. Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows, p. 2. John Murray, 2004.
10. John Powers (2004) History as Propaganda: Tibetan exiles versus the People's Republic of China. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-517426-7, p. 80.
11. French, Patrick (2011). Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer. Penguin Books Limited. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-14-196430-0. Archived from the original on 4 January 2016. Retrieved 15 November2015.
12. Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows, p. 28.
13. Charles Allen, p. 31.
14. Allen, p. 33.
15. Powers (2004), p. 80.
16. Fleming (1961); p. 146.
17. Charles Allen, p. 113.
18. Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows'. pp. 111–120.
19. Charles Allen, p. 120.
20. Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood, p. 195.
21. Powers (2004), p. 81.
22. Allen, p. 137.
23. Allen, p. 141.
24. Plarr, V. (1938). Plarr's Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Vol. 3, p. 815. Royal College of Surgeons, London.
25. Allen, p. 149.
26. Charles Allen, p.156
27. Charles Allen, pp. 157–159.
28. Charles Allen, p. 176.
29. Charles Allen, p. 163.
30. Charles Allen, p. 177.
31. Charles Allen, p. 186.
32. Charles Allen, p.185
33. Charles Allen, p. 201.
34. Charles Allen, p. 209.
35. Charles Allen, p. 221.
36. Carrington, 2003, "Officers, Gentlemen and Thieves"
37. Charles Allen, pp. 225–226.
38. Charles Alen pp. 272–273.
39. Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows, p. 284.
40. Powers 2004, p. 82.
41. Charles Allen, p. 278.
42. Charles Allen, p. 284.
43. "Anglo-Chinese Convention". Archived from the original on 11 August 2009. Retrieved 15 August2009.
44. "Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting Tibet (1906)". Archived from the originalon 11 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
45. Bell, 1924, p. 288.
46. Powers 2004, pp. 82–83.
47. Charles Allen , p. 299.
48. Charles Allen, p. 302.
49. Bray, John (2011). "Sacred Words and Earthly Powers: Christian Missionary Engagement with Tibet". The Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. fifth series. Tokyo: John Bray & The Asian Society of Japan (3): 93–118. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
50. Tuttle, Gray (2005). Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (illustrated, reprint ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0231134460. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
51. Great Britain. Foreign Office (1904). East India (Tibet): Papers Relating to Tibet [and Further Papers ...], Issues 2-4. Contributors India. Foreign and Political Dept, India. Governor-General. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 12. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
52. East India (Tibet): Papers Relating to Tibet [and Further Papers ...]. H.M. Stationery Office. 1897. pp. 5–.
53. East India (Tibet): Papers Relating to Tibet [and Further Papers ..., Issues 2-4,p. 143
54. Charles Allen, p. 311.
55. McKay, 1997, pp. 230–1.
56. Martin Booth, review of Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows, The Sunday Times.
57. Powers 2004, pp. 84-9
58. Powers 2004, pg. 93
59. "China Seizes on a Dark Chapter for Tibet" Archived 18 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine, by Edward Wong, The New York Times, 9 August 2010 (10 August 2010 p. A6 of NY ed.). Retrieved 10 August 2010.
60. Charles Allen, p. 310.


• Allen, Charles (2004) Duel in the Snows: The True Story of the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa; J.Murray
• Bell, Charles Alfred (1924) Tibet: Past & present Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford.
• Candler, Edmund (1905) The Unveiling of Lhasa. New York; London: Longmans, Green, & Co; E. Arnold
• Carrington, Michael (2003) "Officers, Gentlemen and Thieves: the looting of monasteries during the 1903/4 Younghusband Mission to Tibet", in: Modern Asian Studies; 37, 1 (2003), pp. 81–109
• Fleming, Peter (1961) Bayonets to Lhasa London: Rupert Hart-Davis (reprinted by Oxford U.P., Hong Kong, 1984, ISBN 0-19-583862-9)
• French, Patrick (1994) Younghusband: the Last Great Imperial Adventurer. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-637601-0.
• Herbert, Edwin (2003) Small Wars and Skirmishes, 1902-18: early twentieth-century colonial campaigns in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Nottingham: Foundry Books. ISBN 1-901543-05-6.
• Hopkirk, Peter (1990) The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia. London: Murray (Reprinted by Kodansha International, New York, 1992 ISBN 1-56836-022-3; as: The Great Game: the struggle for empire in central Asia)
• McKay, Alex (1997). Tibet and the British Raj: The Frontier Cadre 1904–1947. London: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-0627-5.
• Powers, John (2004) History as Propaganda: Tibetan exiles versus the People's Republic of China. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517426-7.
• Gordon T. Stewart (2009) Journeys to Empire: Enlightenment, Imperialism, and the British Encounter with Tibet 1774-1904. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-73568-1.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tibet" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 916–928.

External links

• "No. 27743". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 December 1904. pp. 8529–8536. Macdonald's official report
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:11 am

John Claude White
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/2/20

John Claude White around 1908

John Claude White (1 October 1853 – 1918) CIE was an engineer, photographer, author and civil servant in British India.

Early life

The son of army surgeon John White (1871-1920) and Louise Henriette (Claude) Pfeffer White, he was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. His education included a period at Rugby School for six months in 1868. White later studied at the Royal Indian Engineering College in Cooper's Hill, Surrey before joining the Bengal Public Works Department as Assistant Engineer in 1876.[1]

India and Sikkim

White originally worked in Bengal, Nepal and Darjeeling. In 1883, he was assigned to the British Residency in Kathmandu, Nepal where he photographed the architecture and monuments.[2] He was appointed Political Officer in the north east Indian Kingdom of Sikkim in 1889.[1] He became chairman of the council that advised Sikkim's Chogyal Thutob Namgyal whereafter he reorganised Sikkim's administration before going on to order land and mineral surveys and develop unused wasteland. He also established a forestry department and the first police post in Aritar as well as introduced English apple cultivation in the northern towns of Lachung and Lachen.[3]

Following the 1890-1893 Convention of Calcutta signed by Britain and Qing dynasty China, White was despatched to Yatong at the foot of the Chumbi Valley in Tibet to assess the trade situation at the new outpost. He subsequently reported that although the Chinese were friendly towards him, they "had no authority whatever" and were unable to control the Tibetans. White concluded that "China was suzerain over Tibet only in name".[4]

In 1903, under orders from Viceroy of India Lord Curzon, White became Deputy Commissioner of the Tibet Frontier Commission under Francis Younghusband, a Political Officer on secondment to the British Army,[5] which led the 1903-04 British expedition to Tibet. The putative aim of the expedition was to settle disputes over the Sikkim-Tibet border but in reality it became (by exceeding instructions from London) a de facto invasion of Tibet. White was unhappy with his secondment to the mission as he would lose the benefits of his current role and went so far as to cable Viceroy Lord Curzon and Indian Army Commander-in-Chief Lord Kitchener to have the order cancelled. Younghusband saw this as insubordination, as did his masters in Shimla, and the appointment was confirmed. Younghusband would have his revenge for White's truculence when he later left him in the leech-infested jungles of Sikkim to arrange mule and coolie transport to Tibet.[5]

White is claimed to have been the only member of the Tibet expedition permitted to photograph Lhasa's monasteries.[2]

He made five trips to Bhutan and in 1907 photographed the coronation of the country's first king.[2]

Personal life

On 12 September 1876, before departing for India, White married his distant cousin Jessie Georgina Ranken at All Saints Church in Kensington, London. They had a daughter, Beryl born in Bengal in 1877.[1]


White created a rich and detailed photographic account of the culture and scenery of the Himalayas during his travels through the region. John Falconer, curator of photographs at the British Library’s Oriental and India Office Collections described White's work as "probably one of the last, and certainly among the most impressive products of a tradition of quasi-amateur photography which had flourished among administrators and military personnel in India since the 1850’s."[6]

The 2005 book In the Shadow of the Himalayas: Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim : a Photographic Record by John Claude White, 1883-1908 contains an anthology of Himalayan photos taken by White.


• Sikhim & Bhutan: Twenty-one years on the North East Frontier 1887-1908. London: Edward Arnold. 1909.

See also

• History of Sikkim


1. "John Claude White - career". King's College London. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
2. Hannavy, John (2013). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. Routledge. p. 1496. ISBN 978-1-135-87327-1.
3. Rajiv Rai (2015). The State in the Colonial Periphery: A Study on Sikkim’s Relation with Great Britain. Partridge Publishing India. ISBN 978-1-4828-4871-7.
4. Younghusband 1910, p. 54.
5. Patrick French (2011). Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer. Penguin Books Limited. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-14-196430-0.
6. "John Claude White - politics". King's College London. Retrieved 19 August 2015.


• Younghusband, Francis (1910). India and Tibet: a history of the relations which have subsisted between the two countries from the time of Warren Hastings to 1910; with a particular account of the mission to Lhasa of 1904. London: John Murray.

Further reading

• Meyer, Kurt; Meyer, Pamela Deuel (2005). In the Shadow of the Himalayas: Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim : a Photographic Record by John Claude White, 1883-1908. Mapin. ISBN 978-1-89-020661-1.

External links

• Media related to John Claude White at Wikimedia Commons
• Works written by or about John Claude White at Wikisource
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:45 am

Sir James Ronald Leslie Macdonald (British Army officer)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/2/20

Sir James Ronald Leslie Macdonald
Commissioner of Uganda (acting)
In office
30 May 1893 – 4 November 1893
Preceded by Gerald Herbert Portal
Succeeded by Henry Edward Colville
Personal details
Born: 8 February 1862, Rajamundry, Madras, India [1][2]
Died: 27 June 1927 (aged 65), Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
Profession: Soldier, engineer

Sir James Ronald Leslie Macdonald KCSI KCIE CB DL (8 February 1862 – 27 June 1927) was a Scottish engineer, explorer and cartographer. He served as a British Army engineer, rose to the rank of Brigadier-General and was knighted. A balloon observer as a young man, he surveyed for railways in India and East Africa, explored the upper Nile region, commanded balloon sections during wars in South Africa and China and led a major expedition into Tibet in 1903–1904.

Early career

Macdonald was born on 8 February 1862 in Rajahmundry in the Madras Presidency, India, the son of Surgeon-Major James Macdonald (1828–1906) of Aberdeen and Margaret Helen Leslie née Collie (1841-1876); his younger sister was the Egyptologist and archaeologist Nora Griffith. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and the University of Aberdeen.[3] He passed through the Royal Military Academy and was gazetted to the Royal Engineers in 1882.[4]

As a lieutenant, on 15 May 1885 Macdonald was appointed to the corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners, Torpedo service, Calcutta on special duty as a balloon photographer.[5] He served in the Hazara campaign of 1888, and also working in the Indian railway organization.[4] Macdonald had spent seven years in service in India and was in Bombay in 1891 ready to embark for England on leave when he was offered the job of Chief Engineer of "the proposed railway survey from Mombasa to the Victoria Nyanza". He accepted, and continued to England to find out what would be involved.[6]

Uganda railway

The Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA Co) commission was to survey a railway route from Mombasa on the Indian Ocean to Port Florence on the shores of Lake Victoria, roughly following the existing caravan route.[7] The Survey began in December 1891, and took more than a year.[8] Macdonald encountered many difficulties in his survey of 27,000 miles of possible route for the railway including sickness, attacks by ants, bees, lions and elephants, formidable physical obstacles and hostile Africans. All these took their toll on his carriers and other followers.[9]

The survey's findings confirmed that the caravan route to the Great Rift Valley was the best path for the line, followed by the easiest gradient to be found over the Mau Escarpment and down to Lake Victoria. Macdonald and John Wallace Pringle, his second in command, recommended construction of a three-foot six inch gauge railway. They suggested that Kikuyuland would be a suitable place for whites to live, and their civilizing effect would drive out slavery, but the railway was needed to give access to the new colony.[10] The IBEA Co did not have enough money to undertake construction before handing over the protectorate to the British government in 1895.[7] Construction of the line began in 1895 under the direction of George Whitehouse, a young English engineer.[11]

British East Africa 1895–1896. The Nile runs northwest from Lake Victoria to Lake Albert, then north into Sudan

While conducting the survey, Macdonald had been favorably impressed by the intelligent and sophisticated Baganda people living to the north of the lake.[12] In May 1893 Macdonald was appointed Acting British Commissioner of the Uganda Protectorate by General Gerald Herbert Portal with directions to stay away from the internal affairs of Buganda.[13] He accordingly withdrew all the Sudanese troops from the west of the country.[14] In 1894 he was chief Staff Officer of an expedition to the neighboring kingdom of Bunyoro, now in northern Uganda.[15] Later he was posted back to India.[4]

Nile expedition

In 1897 Macdonald was in London when he was appointed leader of another expedition to Uganda, ostensibly to review the northern boundaries.[15] Although Uganda had been declared a British Protectorate the British were concerned that France or Italy would claim some of the unoccupied territory.[16] General Herbert Kitchener was advancing up the Nile towards Khartoum, which he would capture at the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898. However, a French column under Jean-Baptiste Marchand was striking across Africa from Senegal to Fashoda, south of Khartoum on the Nile, and would get there well before Kitchener. Macdonald`s instructions were to reach Fashoda first.[17]

The expedition's officers reached Mombasa in July 1897. After moving inland to a base camp at Ngara Nyuki, in September the force was divided into three columns. Captain Herbert H. Austin would lead 300 men north to uncover the source of the Juba River, thought to be connected with Lake Rudolph. The second column, under Macdonald, would go northwest to the Nile and then downstream to Fashoda, arriving there before the French. A third column would supply the first two. However these plans were thrown into disarray when the escort of Nubian troops from Sudan deserted and fled to Lake Victoria.[18]

The Nubian troops had been the Egyptian garrison of Equatoria in the south of Sudan under the leadership of Emin Pasha. In 1885 they were threatened by the forces of Muhammad Ahmad, the self-proclaimed Mahdi whom Kitchener was now preparing to attack, and retreated south to Lake Albert. Emin was "rescued" in 1888 by Henry Morton Stanley. With nowhere else to go, the Nubians had accepted the offer of Captain Frederick Lugard to sign up with the British in 1891, but over the years they had accumulated many grievances.[17] Macdonald spent the next seven months trying to suppress their mutiny, finally handing over responsibility for this task in May 1898 to troops that had been dispatched from India.[19]After the mutiny was put down, Macdonald recommended retaining a force of Indians in the country on the basis that the Sudanese troops could be useful, but only if there was an independent body of sepoys.[20]

By the end of May 1898, Macdonald decided he did not have enough people or supplies to reach his original objective of Fashoda. Instead, his column would aim for Lado, further south on the Nile, while Austin's column would pursue its original objective of exploring around Lake Rudolf.[19] On the route to Lado Macdonald's column passed through Lotuko country in what is now the Eastern Equatoria state of South Sudan, where he was given a friendly reception by the Lotuko chief Lomoro Xujang.[21] Macdonald saw a resemblance between the Maasai people and the Lotuko, and for this reason later recommended incorporation of the Lotuko lands into Uganda.[22]

Both of Macdonald's columns managed to return to Mombasa by December 1898, having completed their revised tasks, and the force was disbanded early in 1899.[19] This was one of the last incidents in the Scramble for Africa, in which almost the entire continent was brought under European rule.[16] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1900 New Year Honours list on 1 January 1900[23] (the order was gazetted on 16 January 1900),[24] and invested by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 1 March 1900.[25]


British artillery during Boer War – 4.7 inch field guns

Macdonald had become a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1891, and gave an account of his African Expedition to the society at a meeting in June 1899.[4] He was next posted to South Africa, where he was responsible for introducing most of the new sections of balloon observers, which made a significant contribution to British progress in the Second Boer War.[26] In this war, the British required over 450,000 men to subdue settlers of Dutch origin who were seeking to preserve their independence. The Boer forces never numbered more than 60,000.[27] The war introduced innovations such as the field telephone, searchlights and barbed wire. Creeping artillery barrages supported infantry advances against entrenched opponents armed with rifles and machine guns, a technique later developed to the extreme during the First World War.[28]

Macdonald left in August 1900 to take up the command of the fourth Balloon section with the British imperial troops fighting the Boxer Rebellion in China.[26] He was then appointed Director of Railways for the China expeditionary force.[3] The fighting in China was the result of growing assertiveness by European powers in China over trade, religion and control of territory during the dying days of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, aggravated by poverty due to harvest failures. A widespread popular uprising led to a siege of Europeans in Beijing. The European colonial powers cooperated in military action to suppress the uprising and imposed harsh indemnities and conditions.[29] From China, Macdonald was posted to Mauritius as general officer commanding later in 1900.[3]

Tibet expedition

Francis Younghusband

In 1903 the British were suspicious of the intentions of the Russian Empire in the lands bordering India. As a demonstration of strength, the British determined to send a diplomatic and trade mission to Tibet under Colonel Francis Younghusband. Originally peaceful, the project was transformed into an armed invasion when the Tibetans refused to accept the mission.[30] In October 1903 the strength of the mission's escort was brought up to a brigade with about 2,500 British and Indian troops under Macdonald, who had been temporarily promoted from Colonel to Brigadier-General. He was instructed to avoid aggression and act in a strictly defensive role as the mission advanced into Tibet to Gyantse and occupied the Chumbi valley.[31] 10,000 unskilled laborers were attached to the expedition.[32]

The British army left Sikkim on 11 December 1903, and occupied Phari at the northern end of the 60-mile long Chumbi Valley on 22 December. They reached Tuna in mid-January and remained there until the end of March hoping to negotiate with the Tibetans.[33] On 31 March the force advanced, soon coming in contact with a force of about 3,000 Tibetans armed with antique matchlock muskets defending the Guru (or Gura) Pass on the road to Gyantse, about 15,000 feet (4,600 m) above sea level. Macdonald insisted that the Tibetans surrender their arms, a brawl broke out, the British opened fire and the Tibetans were forced to retreat leaving 600–700 dead. The British-led troops had superior discipline and greatly superior weapons including machine guns. The engagement was completely one-sided and the British themselves expressed disgust with the slaughter of their helpless opponents. About 200 Tibetan wounded were carried to makeshift hospitals. Many had been shot in the back.[34]

The advance continued, reaching the original destination of Gyantse on 12 April 1904. Macdonald then took half the force back 150 miles to New Chumbi to check communications and arrangements for supply, earning the nickname "Retiring Mac".[35] There may have been tensions between MacDonald as military leader, backed by Herbert Kitchener, and the younger and more junior Younghusband as political leader, backed by George Curzon. One of the officers in the expedition thought that Macdonald was much more timid than his reputation had led him to expect, perhaps due to illness.[36] Younghusband was so exasperated by Macdonald's cautious approach that he twice threatened to resign. However, caution may have been justified by the extremely challenging terrain and climate, with logistical problems increasing exponentially as the supply chain lengthened.[37] According to one account, 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg) of supplies were needed daily.[32]

The Gyantse Dzong today

In Macdonald's absence, Younghusband authorized more aggressive action. He achieved some tactical successes, but the situation remained confused. On the grounds of having exceeded his authority, Younghusband was made subordinate to Macdonald, returning to New Chumbi to report to Macdonald on 10 June 1904. The reinforced escort advanced again, reaching the powerful fortress of Gyantse Dzong by 24 June 1904.[35] On 6 July a breach was made in the fortress walls and troops stormed in, forcing the Tibetans to abandon the position. Macdonald had succeeded in his mission of clearing the road, and handed over command to Younghusband for the advance to Lhasa.[38] He received a K.C.I.E. (Knight Commander of the Indian Empire) decoration for his services in Tibet.[4]

Later life

Macdonald was the general officer commanding in Mauritius from 1900 until he retired from active service in 1912.[3][4] On 22 July 1908 the University of Aberdeen conferred an honorary decree in the Faculty of Law on Macdonald.[39] Macdonald died on 27 June 1927 in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England at the age of 65.[40]


• Macdonald, James Ronald Leslie (1892). East Central African customs.
• Macdonald, James Ronald Leslie (1897). Soldiering and surveying in British East Africa, 1891–1894. Dawsons of Pall Mall. p. 333.
• Macdonald, James Ronald Leslie (1899). Journeys to the north of Uganda. Royal Geographical Society, London.

See also

• Scramble for Africa
• Fashoda incident
• Second Boer War
• Boxer Rebellion
• The Great Game
• British Expedition to Tibet


1. "India Births and baptisms 1786-1947". India, Births and Baptisms, 1786-1947," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Jan 2013), James Ronald Leslie Macdonald, 08 Feb 1862; citing reference v 43 p 18, FHL microfilm 521852. Familysearch. Retrieved 27 January 2013. External link in |work= (help)
2. "Source Citation: Parish: New Machar; ED: 4; Page: 5; Line: 3; Roll: CSSCT1871_41. Source Information: 1871 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Scotland. 1871 Scotland Census. Reels 1-191. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland". Missing or empty |url= (help)
3. Macdonald & Pringle 1892.
4. Geographical Journal 1927.
5. India Office 1888.
6. NY Times 1897.
7. Maina, Oboka & Makong'o 2004, pp. 78.
8. Nicholls 2005, pp. 17–18.
9. Gann & Duignan 1978, pp. 326.
10. Nicholls 2005, pp. 18.
11. Ellis 2001, pp. 69.
12. Mozer.
13. Okoth 2006, pp. 188.
14. Ingham 1975, pp. 77.
15. Sharf 2005, pp. 13.
16. Naval & Military Press.
17. Collins 1996, pp. 59.
18. Sharf 2005, pp. 16.
19. Sharf 2005, pp. 17.
20. Metcalf 2008, pp. 212.
21. Hill 1967, pp. 216.
22. Simonse 1992, pp. 83.
23. "New Year Honours". The Times (36027). London. 1 January 1900. p. 9.
24. "No. 27154". The London Gazette. 16 January 1900. p. 285.
25. "Court Circular". The Times (36079). London. 2 March 1900. p. 6.
26. Driver 1997, pp. 177.
27. Fremont-Barnes 2003, pp. 7.
28. Fremont-Barnes 2003, pp. 8–9.
29. Bodin 1979, pp. 1ff.
30. Waddell 2007, pp. 55–56.
31. Waddell 2007, pp. 58–59.
32. Grunfeld 1996, pp. 56.
33. Raugh 2004, pp. 321.
34. Waddell 2007, pp. 154ff.
35. Raugh 2004, pp. 322.
36. Gould 1999, pp. 169.
37. Meyer & Brysac 2006, pp. 298.
38. Waddell 2007, pp. 265ff.
39. British Medical Journal 1908.
40. Encyclopædia Britannica.


• Bodin, Lynn (1979). The Boxer Rebellion. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85045-335-5.
• "Aberdeen". British Medical Journal. 1 August 1908. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
• Carrington, Michael. Officers Gentlemen and Thieves: The Looting of Monasteries during the 1903/4 Younghusband Mission to Tibet, Modern Asian Studies 37, 1 (2003), PP 81–109.
• Collins, Robert O. (1996). The waters of the Nile: hydropolitics and the Joglei Canal, 1900–1988. Markus Wiener Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55876-099-8.
• Driver, Hugh (1997). The birth of military aviation: Britain, 1903–1914. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN 978-0-86193-234-4.
• Ellis, Reuben J. (2001). Vertical margins: mountaineering and the landscapes of neoimperialism. Univ of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-17004-2.
• Encyclopædia Britannica. "Sir James Ronald Leslie Macdonald". Retrieved 8 July 2011.
• Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2003). The Boer War 1899–1902. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-396-5.
• Gann, Lewis H.; Duignan, Peter (1978). The rulers of British Africa, 1870–1914. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-85664-771-0.
• Gregory, J. W. (November 1927). "Major-General Sir J.R.L. Macdonald". Geographical Journal. Royal Geographical Society. 70 (5): 509–511. doi:10.2307/1783519. JSTOR 1783519.
• Gould, Tony (1999). Imperial warriors: Britain and the Gurkhas. Granta Books. ISBN 978-1-86207-365-4.
• Grunfeld, A. Tom (1996). The making of modern Tibet. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-1-56324-714-9.
• Hill, Richard Leslie (1967). A biographical dictionary of the Sudan. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-1037-5.
• India Office (1888). The India office and Burma office list.
• Ingham, Kenneth (1975). The kingdom of Toro in Uganda. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-416-80210-8.
• Macdonald, James Ronald Leslie; Pringle, John Wallace (1892). "Uganda Railway Survey Diaries". Janus. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
• Maina, Ephalina; Oboka, Wycliffe; Makong'o, Julius (2004). History and Government Form 2. East African Publishers. ISBN 978-9966-25-333-0.
• Metcalf, Thomas R. (2008). Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860–1920. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25805-1.
• Meyer, Karl Ernest; Brysac, Shareen Blair (2006). Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-04576-1.
• Mozer, David. "Uganda: Bicycle Tour Travel Guide". International Bicycle Fund. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
• Naval & Military Press. "WITH MACDONALD IN UGANDA A Narrative Account of the Uganda Mutiny and Macdonald Expedition in the Uganda Protectorate and Territories to the North". Retrieved 8 July 2011.
• Nicholls, Christine Stephanie (2005). Red strangers: the white tribe of Kenya. Timewell Press. ISBN 978-1-85725-206-4.
• "Africa: Surveying and fighting in that country in recent years" (PDF). The New York Times. 24 April 1897. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
• Okoth, Assa (2006). A History of Africa: African societies and the establishment of colonial rule, 1800–1915. East African Publishers. ISBN 978-9966-25-357-6.
• Raugh, Harold E. (2004). The Victorians at war, 1815–1914: an encyclopedia of British military history. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-925-6.
• Sharf, Frederic A. (2005). Expedition from Uganda to Abyssinia (1898): the diary of Lieutenant R.G.T. Bright with annotations and introductory text. Tsehai Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59907-007-0.
• Simonse, Simon (1992). Kings of disaster: dualism, centralism, and the scapegoat king in southeastern Sudan. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-09560-1.
• Waddell, Laurence A. (2007). Lhasa and Its Mysteries: With a Record of the Expedition of 1903–1904. Cosimo. ISBN 978-1-60206-724-0.

Further reading

• Austin, Herbert Henry 1868–1937 (1903). With Macdonald in Uganda]: a narrative account of the Uganda mutiny and Macdonald expedition in the Uganda Protectorate and the territories to the north. Edward Arnold, London. p. 314.
• William John Ottley (Brevet-Major 34th Sikh Pioneers): With mounted infantry in Tibet. Publisher: Smith, Elder & Co. London, 1906
• Sir Francis Edward Younghusband: India and Tibet; a history of the relations which have subsisted between the two countries from the time of Warren Hastings to 1910; with a particular account of the mission to Lhasa of 1904. Publisher: J. Murray London, 1910
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:16 am

Gerard Mackworth Young
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/2/20

The founding members [of the Himalayan Club] were:[2]

• Mr. G. Mackworth Young, Army Secretary

-- The Himalayan Club, by Wikipedia

Gerard Mackworth Young CIE (1884–1965) was director of the British School at Athens from 1936 to 1946.[1]

He was the eldest of four sons of Sir William Mackworth Young (1840–1924), KCSI, JP, of the Indian Civil Service, who was Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab from 1897 to 1902, and his second wife Frances Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Eyles Egerton, KCSI, JP, Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab from 1877 to 1882.[2][3] Sir Robert Egerton was nephew of the 8th and 9th Grey Egerton baronets.[4] Gerard's paternal grandfather was Sir George Young, 2nd Baronet; the name 'Mackworth' came from his paternal grandmother, Susan, daughter of William Mackworth-Praed, Serjeant-at-law, of that gentry family of Mickleham, Surrey.[5][6]

Gerard Mackworth Young assumed the surname of Mackworth-Young by deed poll in 1947. In 1916, he married Natalie Leila Margaret, daughter of Rt Hon Sir Walter Francis Hely Hutchinson, GCMG, PC, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope from 1901 to 1910, son of the 4th Earl of Donoughmore. The elder of their two sons (there being also two daughters) was the royal librarian Sir Robin Mackworth-Young.[7]

His brothers Sir Hubert Winthrop Young, KCMG and Sir Mark Aitchison Young, GCMG were also colonial administrators.


1. Dilys Powell, "Young, Gerard Mackworth- (1884–1965)", rev. Katherine Prior, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2012.
2. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 1164
3. Dilys Powell, "Young, Gerard Mackworth- (1884–1965)", rev. Katherine Prior, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2012.
4. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 2, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 1674
5. Burke's Landed Gentry 18th edition, vol. 2, ed. Peter Townend, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1969, p.505
6. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 3, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, p. 4274
7. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 1, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 2003, pp. 1163-1164
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