Wyndham Deedes

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Sir Wyndham Deedes
Sir Wyndham Deedes-head.jpg
Deedes in 1920
Birth nameWyndham Henry Deedes
Born(1883-03-10)10 March 1883
Kent, England
Died2 September 1956(1956-09-02) (aged 73)
Kent, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1901-1923
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
World War I
AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
RelationsWilliam Deedes
Other workCouncillor
Social worker

Brigadier-General Sir Wyndham Henry Deedes,[1] CMG, DSO[2](10 March 1883 – 2 September 1956)[3] was a British Army officer and civil administrator, he was the Chief Secretary to the British High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine.

Early life[edit]

Deedes was born on 10 March 1883 in Kent, England,[4] he was the youngest son of East Kent gentry, Colonel Herbert George Deedes and Rose Elinor Barrow,[3] whose family had owned the land between Hythe and Ashford for four centuries.[5]

He was educated at Eton College, an all-boys public boarding school in Eton, Berkshire.[3]

Military career[edit]

On 4 February 1901, Deedes was commissioned into the 9th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps as a second lieutenant,[6] he was posted to South Africa where he fought in the Second Boer War.[7] On 22 January 1906, Deedes was promoted to lieutenant and seconded to the Colonial Office.[8] During this time he learned Turkish. By 1910 he had enough of a command of the language to satisfy a posting to Constantinople.[5] On 8 May 1910, Deedes was seconded for service under the Foreign Office.[9]

During World War I, Deedes saw service in Gallipoli, where he took part in the Gallipoli Campaign.[5] On 27 April 1915, the then Captain Deedes was appointed as a General Staff Officer (2nd Class).[10] Deedes was promoted to Major on 14 September 1916.[11] On 1 January 1916, he was appointed Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) "for distinguished service in the field".[12] In October 1916, he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, 4th Class (with Swords) by King Peter I of Serbia.[13] On 21 March 1917, Deedes was promoted to temporary Lieutenant Colonel upon appointment as a General Staff Officer (1st Class) in the General Staff.[14] On 3 June 1917, Deedes was awarded the rank of Brevet Colonel "for distinguished service in the field".[15] During the war, he was honoured by the French Republic with the appointment to the Legion of Honour as a Chevalier.[16]

Front row, left to right: Col. T. E. Lawrence, Emir Abdullah, Air Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond and Sir Wyndham Deedes in Palestine

After the war he was posted to Istanbul, Turkey, as a military attaché, he was posted to Cairo, Egypt, which was at that time a British protectorate, as public security director.[17] Here he helped to set up the Palestine Police Force.[18]

From 1920 to 1922, Deedes served as Chief Secretary to the then British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel in Palestine.[17] Palestine was then under British mandate following the League of Nations decision in 1920 to hand it over to British control from 1923 onwards. Although Deedes had pro-Zionist sympathies, he played a role in promoting the Supreme Muslim Council as an Arab counterweight to the Jewish Agency,[17] he retired from the British Army on 27 June 1923, with the honorary rank of Brigadier General.[19] There is a street named after him in the Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel.[20]

Later life[edit]

Upon returning to England, Deedes did not take up his heritage as a country squire, but moved to London and chose to do unpaid social work in one of the poorest quarters of the city.[5]

Between 1931 and the end of World War II in 1945, he shared a house in Bethnal Green with his nephew William Deedes. During this time he became a local councillor, served on the education committee and became chairman of the London Council of Social Service,[5] he was also vice chairman of the National Council of Social Services.[21]

When the London Turkish House (Halkevi) was set up during World War II to help foster Anglo-Turkish relations, Deedes was its Chairman, with Lady Dorina Neave in charge of its social side.[22] During the War, Deedes also became chief Air Raid Warden of his borough.[5]

In 1946, severe illness forced him to retire from his work in the London East End, he returned to Hythe to live his years in a single room.[5] In 1949, one year after the state of Israel was formed, he set up the Anglo-Israel Association,[23][24] he died in 1956.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Deedes was a strict Christian,[24] he never married nor had any children.[3] His older brother, Herbert William Deedes (born 27 October 1881), married Melesina Gladys Chenevix Trench on 3 July 1912, they had three children, with one of whom, William Deedes, he shared a home from 1931 to 1939.[5]


Deedes translated three major Turkish literary works into English: two novels by Reşat Nuri Güntekin and a memoir by Mahmut Makal:[25]

  • Reşat Nuri Güntekin. The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl (Çalıkuşu, 1922). London: George Allen & Unwin, 1949.
  • Reşat Nuri Güntekin. Afternoon Sun (Akşam Güneşi, 1926). London: Heinemann, 1951.
  • Mahmut Makal. A Village in Anatolia (Bizim Köy, 1950). London: Vallentine, Mitchell & Co., 1954.


  1. ^ "BETHNAL GREEN, E2". exploringeastlondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Anglo Israel Association - Scholarships". angloisraelassociation.com. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Person Page - 34806". thepeerage.com. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  4. ^ "DEEDES, Brig.-Gen. Sir Wyndham (Henry)". Who Was Who. A & C Black. December 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wyndham Deedes". eastlondonhistory.com. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ "No. 27288". The London Gazette. 22 February 1901. p. 1355.
  7. ^ Chandler, Andrew (January 2011). "Deedes, Sir Wyndham Henry (1883–1956)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  8. ^ "No. 27912". The London Gazette. 11 May 1906. p. 3248.
  9. ^ "No. 28384". The London Gazette. 14 June 1910. p. 4176.
  10. ^ "No. 29195". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 15 June 1915. p. 1.
  11. ^ "No. 29746". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 12 September 1916. p. 8978.
  12. ^ "No. 29565". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 2 May 1916. p. 4428.
  13. ^ "No. 29945". The London Gazette (6th supplement). 13 February 1917. p. 1605.
  14. ^ "No. 30051". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 4 May 1917. p. 4311.
  15. ^ "No. 30111". The London Gazette (6th supplement). 1 June 1917. p. 5464.
  16. ^ "No. 31222". The London Gazette (5th supplement). 7 March 1919. pp. 3279–3280.
  17. ^ a b c "Mideast & N. Africa Encyclopedia: Wyndham Deedes". answers.com. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  18. ^ "The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters". lhdletters.inwriting.org. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  19. ^ "No. 32837". The London Gazette. 26 June 1923. p. 15.
  20. ^ "Google Maps". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Sir Wyndham Deedes". zoominfo.com. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  22. ^ "Romance of the Bosphorus". friendsofdagnampark.org.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  23. ^ "Anglo-Israel Association". zoominfo.com. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  24. ^ a b "Anglo-Israel Association". angloisraelassociation.com. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  25. ^ "Turkish Literature". The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. Retrieved 13 February 2011.

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