Gertrude Bell- Unsung Heroine of Iraq

At our last meeting of 17/18 our speaker Jan Long MBE “ sang “ the praises of her life long heroine in the 150th year after her birth, 14/7/1868.

Gertrude fully intended to use all her abilities after a 1st in History at Oxford ,the youngest person ever. She mountaineered in Switzerland then moved to Tehran to learn Arabic . She joined an archaeological dig with T E Lawrence, later drawing maps of Iraq and with her local knowledge was even recruited as a British spy !

She was often the only woman at meetings with Arab leaders and after WW1 complained at her perceived British betrayal of Arab interests at a 1920 Peace conference. She became a friend and confidant to King Feisal of Iraq who appointed her Director of Antiquities of the Museum of Baghdad. A state funeral marked her death on 12/7/1926.

So , heroine : academic, archaeologist ,photographer, writer, linguist, mountaineer, cartographer ,spy, interpreter ,air pilot and archivist- in Jan Long’s view a resounding…… Yes.

Next meeting is on Sept 21 at 7.30pm “The Battle of Edgehill, October 1642 “ at the Crawford Hall Bidford B50 4EZ.