Aubrey Herbert was one of the most interesting figures of his age. He was twice offered the Albanian throne! Born almost blind, his sight even after surgery precluded him from official military service and he became a diplomat and politician. However in 1914 he attached himself unofficially to the Irish Guards on the outbreak of war on their way to France and was made an honorary Lieutenant. Despite his service overseas in France, the Dardanelles and then Egypt and Iraq, he remained an MP throughout the War. He was briefly captured in the Retreat from Mons and, after recovering from his wounds, he joined the Intelligence Bureau in Egypt before being attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division at Gallipoli. He personally persuaded General Ian Hamilton, the overall Commander, to agree a temporary truce with the Turks to enable the burial of the dead and the recovery of wounded men in no-man’s-land. Later in Iraq, his efforts to buy the release of the beleaguered British garrison at Kut were less successful. His extraordinary war experiences brought him into close contact with a wide cast of characters, not least T E Lawrence, Compton McKenzie and leading military and political figures.
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