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Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
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Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby

Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (April 23rd 1861 - May 14th 1936) was a British general known for his command in World War I.

Table of contents
1 Early years
2 Active service
3 World War I
4 Promotions
5 Jerusalem proclamation
6 See also

Early years

Born in Brackenhurst, England, he was educated at Haileybury College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In 1882 he was commissioned into the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons.

Active service

He entered active service in 1884 on the Bechuanaland Expedition, and later in Zululand, 1888. He returned to Britain with his unit in 1890 and in 1896-97 completed the course at the Staff College, Camberley. He was promoted to Major in 1897 and in 1898 joined the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, then serving in Ireland. He returned to South Africa to fight in the Second Boer War from 1899. He finished the war as a Colonel and returned to Britain in 1902 to command the 5th Royal Irish Lancers until 1905 and then the 4th Cavalry Brigade until 1910. His extensive cavalry experience led to him being made Inspector of Cavalry.

World War I

Western Front

During World War I he initially served on the Western Front. At the outbreak of war he was made commander of a cavalry division and distinguished himself when his unit covered the retreat after the Battle of Mons, France. He was rewarded by being made commander of the BEF Cavalry Corps. In 1915 he commanded V Corps during the Second Battle of Ypres and in October he took charge of the British Third Army. However at the Battle of Arras, his forces failed to exploit a breakthrough and he was replaced by Julian Byng on June 9th.

Egypt and Palestine

Allenby was sent to Egypt to be made commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) on June 27th 1917, replacing Sir Archibald Murray. One of Allenby's first moves was to support the efforts of T. E. Lawrence amongst the Arabs with 200,000 a month. Having reorganised his regular forces Allenby won the Third Battle of Gaza (October 31st - November 7th, 1917) by surprising the defenders with an attack at Beersheba.

His force pushed on towards Jerusalem, the Ottomans were beaten at Junction Station (November 13-15) and Jerusalem was captured on December 11th 1917.

Honoring Jerusalem on foot

Although he was a supreme master of cavalry horse warfare, before entering Jerusalem, Allenby dismounted and together with his officers, entered the city on foot through the Jaffa Gate out of his great respect for the status of Jerusalem as the Holy City important to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (see his proclamation of marshal law below). He subsequently stated in his official report:

Middle East victory

The German offensive on the Western Front meant that Allenby was without reinforcements and after his forces failed to capture
Amman in March and April 1918 he halted the offensive. New troops from the Empire (specifically Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa) led to the resumption of operations in August 1918. Following an extended series of deceptive moves the Ottoman line was broken at the Battle of Megiddo (September 19-21, 1918) and the Allied cavalry passed through and blocked the Turkish retreat. The EEF then advanced at an enormous rate, encountering minimal resistance, Damascus fell on October 1st, Homs on October 16th, and Aleppo on October 25th. Turkey capitulated on October 30th 1918.


Allenby was made a Field Marshal in 1919 and on August 6th was created Viscount Allenby of Megiddo. He remained in the Middle East as High Commissioner for Egypt and the Sudan until 1925 and he was instrumental in the creation of sovereign Egypt.

He retired in 1925 and died in London.

Jerusalem proclamation

Sir Edmund Allenby's official proclamation of marshal law following the fall of Jerusalem, December 9th 1917:

(Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923)

See also

Preceded by:
New Creation
Viscount Allenby Succeeded by:
Dudley Allenby