Lieutenant-General Sir Louis Bols


Accompanying General Allenby to Palestine as his chief of staff in June 1917, Bols showed his profound knowledge of the handling of troops, their limitations, and their skilful use, which enabled him to effect one of the most brilliant feats of the war: the capture of Jerusalem (9 December 1917) and the final defeat of the Turks in Syria. In 1918 he was created KCMG at the hands of the duke of Connaught in Jerusalem, and in the following year he was promoted KCB. He had been twelve times mentioned in dispatches, and besides his two military knighthoods had received many decorations from the allied powers.

Bols attended the peace conference in Paris in 1919 (January–March) and returned to Palestine later that year as chief administrator of the province (still a military appointment). Despite great hopes of what he could achieve, he felt stymied by the Zionist commission, which he described as an administration within the administration. A civil administration led by Herbert Samuel took over from Bols and the military in 1920. However, before transferring power the latter was forced to sign ‘one of the most quoted documents in Zionist history’. This read: ‘Received from Major-General Sir Louis J. Bols K.C.B.—One Palestine, complete’. Samuel described the event in his Memoirs (1945).

Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery


Palestine: Britain's Crown of Thorns




Share