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Posted October 3, 2003
Orde Wingate is not the only foriegn or british officer to be buried at Arlington, nor the highest ranking, nor the first. General Sir John Dill, former Chief of the Imperial General Staff (the same as the US Chief of Staff of the Army) during 1940-41 is also buried at Arlington, having been picked by Churchill to head the British Joint Staff Mission. He achieved such a rapport with General Marshall, that upon his death in December 1944, Marshall at the request of his widow (she had suffered a stroke in December 1940, and may not have been able to afford shipping him home) saw to it that he was buried at Arliongton with full American Military honors. I suggest you check with the National Cemetery as to how many foriegn oficers are buried there, as I'll bet they are not alone. Dill was very well regarded by his peers in the British Army, but was not of the outrageous argumentative type that Churchill thrived on in his postmidnight reviews of the war effort, where he deliberately said provocative insulting things about the army, or something else to get someone to argue it out, or perhaps to change whatever it was that had attracted his ire. The RAF brass who always attended these sessions, and had gone to some length to cultivate Churchill, hinting that he was the true father of the RAF,and when in trouble (their bombing campaign in 1940-41 was incompetent and pathetic) they often distracted him by criticizing the army. Considering the traditions and bureaucratic nature of the british army, that limited any reforms, the effectively abject neglect of rearming the army before the war(perhaps 10% of the defense budget), parlimentary strictures on dicipline and trainning made his tasks almost impossible, yet he carried the load well until the burden of personally caring for his wife after her stroke (her modesty did not permit strangers to perform the more personal aspects of care etc). There was a period during the winter when his staff wondered when he slept; between the normal duty day, then nursing his wife, then attending to the PM's post midnight skull sessions, he might have got an hour or two. Churchill was oblivious to Dill's predicament with his wife's care until far too late. Though replaced by Brooke, Dill accompanied Churchill to Washington after Pearl Harbor, and then was tapped to preside over the Britsh side of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Marshall considered Dill to be of enormous help during the war (and said so frequently); the two were quite a team in keeping the atlantic allies united and on track to victory. Secondly, it was March of 1944 when Wingate's plane crashed after he overode the pilot's warning about trying to fly in those conditions. Orde Wingate's burial is more due to his American wife's citizenship and the pitifully few remains of him and his american crew found in the burned out plane crash site. Not to put a fine point on it, but between the forensic limits of the time and wartime politics, the british aquiesced in letting what was assumed to be left of Wingate be buried at Arlington rather than have some part of an American not be. Orde Wingate's reputation has understandably grown, as the reputation of the Isreali Army and the stress their early leaders put on Wingate's contribution to their victories. His campaigns in Ethiopia and Burma are amazing, in no small part due to his overwhelming detirmination to overcome all obstacles including incredible logistic and personnel problems. However this book seems to suffer from the same limitations the other books do, namely poor or non-existant maps . When one has to refer to a couple of atlases for the data that should be obvious in any book about Wingate, one could be mistaken for thinking the writers or publishers of these books, don't care or want the readers to see what he accomplished!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.