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Death of Orde Wingate, 1944

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

On This Day in Jewish History: March 24, 1944


Charles Orde Wingate was a British Military officer in Mandatory Palestine. He was born in 1903 in India to British Military Parents. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1923. He served in locations such as Sudan and Libya, but his most famous service was conducted from 1936-1939 as an intelligence officer in British Mandatory Palestine. During his time in the Mandate, Wingate organized and conducted night patrols to protect Jewish communities from raids by the Arab populations. These patrols were primarily staffed by Haganah fighters, the local Jewish militia. These night raids were incredibly successful, having thwarted many attacks and raids. Wingate believed that the Jewish people were entitled to have a home in the Land of Israel. It was this belief that led him to train the night patrols to protect the Jewish people. By training these Haganah fighters, Wingate trained many of the first commanders and officers of the Israel Defense Forces. Wingate was much beloved by the local Jewish population earning himself the nickname “ha-yedid” translated as “the friend”. He learned Hebrew and maintained a relationship with the leader of the Haganah. It was because of this attitude toward the Jewish population that many of the Arabs in the area disliked Wingate. The Arabs placed pressure on the British government to recall Wingate from the Mandate. The British complied with the Arabs’ request and Wingate was recalled in 1939. Wingate led a successful military career after his recallment from the Mandate. He captured Addis Ababa from the Italians in 1941, and trained a Burmese fighting force that reclaimed land from the Japanese who were occupying it. Wingate died in a plane crash over Manipur in 1944 due to engine problems. His body was never recovered. Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of Wingate, “There was a man of genius who might well have become also a man of destiny.”


https://www.britannica.com/biography/Orde-Charles-Wingate https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/charles-orde-wingate https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wingate-killed-plane-crash

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