Ronald Storrs

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Sir Ronald Storrs
Ronald Storrs.jpg
Governor of Northern Rhodesia
In office
27 October 1932 – 19 February 1934
Preceded by Sir James Maxwell
Succeeded by Sir Hubert Winthrop Young
Governor of Cyprus
In office
30 November 1926 – 29 October 1932
Preceded by Sir Malcolm Stevenson
Succeeded by Sir Reginald Stubbs
Governor of Jerusalem and Judea
In office
1 July 1920 – 30 November 1926
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Edward Keith-Roach
Military Governor of Jerusalem
In office
28 December 1917 – 30 June 1920
Preceded by Neville Travers Borton
Succeeded by Office disestablished
Personal details
Born (1881-11-19)19 November 1881
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Died 1 November 1955(1955-11-01) (aged 73)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge

Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs KCMG CBE (19 November 1881 – 1 November 1955) was an official in the British Foreign and Colonial Office. He served as Oriental Secretary in Cairo, Military Governor of Jerusalem, Governor of Cyprus, and Governor of Northern Rhodesia.


The eldest son of John Storrs, the Dean of Rochester. Married to Louisa Lucy Storrs.

Ronald Storrs was educated at Charterhouse School and Pembroke College, Cambridge where he gained a first class degree in the Classical Tripos.

Foreign service


Storrs entered the Finance Ministry of the Egyptian Government in 1904, five years later becoming Oriental Secretary to the British Agency, succeeding Harry Boyle in this post. In 1917 Storrs became Political Officer representing the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia as Liaison officer for the Anglo-French mission in Baghdad and Mesopotamia where he met Gertrude Bell and Sir Percy Cox.

T. E. Lawrence commented in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom:

"The first of all of us was Ronald Storrs, Oriental Secretary of the Residency, the most brilliant Englishman in the Near East, and subtly efficient, despite his diversion of energy in love of music and letters, of sculpture, painting, of whatever was beautiful in the world's fruit... Storrs was always first, and the great man among us".

Storrs is credited with a classic example of British understatement when referring to the behaviour of the British toward the many tribal and regional leaders that the British were trying to influence in the Great Game: "we deprecated the imperative, preferring instead the subjunctive or even, wistfully, the optative mood".

During the First World War Storrs was a member of the Arab Bureau and a participant in the negotiations between the Sharif Husayn and the British government and in the organisation of the Arab Revolt. His own personal positions were that the Sharif Husayn was asking for more Arab territory than he had any right to, and that Syria and Palestine should be incorporated into a British-sponsored Egyptian Empire as a replacement for the Ottoman Empire, a plan which was never implemented. Storrs is thought to have underestimated Arab Muslim resistance to non-Muslim rule.[1]


Plaque in Jerusalem commemorating the inauguration of King George Street in 1924

In 1917 Storrs became, as he said, "the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate",[2] for which purpose he was given the army rank of colonel. He was in fact the second British military governor of Jerusalem, succeeding Brigadier General Neville Travers Borton, also known as Borton Pasha, who resigned after two weeks due to ill health.[3] In 1921 he became Civil Governor of Jerusalem and Judea. In both positions he attempted to support Zionism while protecting the rights of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and thus earned the hostility of both sides.[4] He devoted much of his time to cultural matters, including town planning, and to Pro-Jerusalem, a cultural organisation that he founded.

In 1919, Storrs was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

The country’s (Palestine/Israel) first chess club was the International Chess Club founded in Jerusalem in 1918 by Sir Ronald Storrs.[5] International Chess Club was an expression of the hope that it would be a chess club that would unite the different nations – local Arabs and Jews, and European Christians of various nations who were then stationed in the city – and help promote peace and understanding. Unfortunately the club closed within a year of its founding, due to the increasing tensions between the Arabs and Jews. A genuine chess enthusiast, Storrs also helped to organize in 1919 the city's first championship which was won by Shaul Gordon, the founder and director of Mercantile Bank and a pivotal figure in the city’s public and cultural life.

Cyprus and Rhodesia

From 1926–1932 Storrs was Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Cyprus, a period which included an attempted revolt (1931) during which Government House was burned to the ground. He was then appointed Governor of Northern Rhodesia in 1932. He retired for health reasons in 1934, at the age of 53.

Later years

Storrs was one of the six pallbearers at the funeral of T. E. Lawrence in 1935.

In 1937 he published his memoirs Orientations (US edition The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs). Between 1937 and 1945 he served on the London County Council, and during the Second World War he broadcast for the Ministry of Information. He died in 1955 and is buried at St John the Baptist Church, Pebmarsh.

See also


  1. Ritchie Ovendale, ‘Storrs, Sir Ronald Henry Amherst (1881–1955)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,
  2. Michael Korda, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia ISBN 978-0-06-171261-6, p. 353
  3. The handbook of Palestine; edited by Harry Charles Luke and Edward Keith-Roach. With an introd. by Herbert Samuel, p.22
  4. Xypolia, Ilia (2011). "Orientations and Orientalism: The Governor Sir Ronald Storrs". 11 (1): 24–43.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. From Chessbase/Yochanan Afek



  • Ronald Storrs (1937). Orientations.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ronald Storrs (1940). Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism and Palestine.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Georghallides, G.S (1985). Cyprus and the governorship of Sir Ronald Storrs: The causes of the 1931 crisis (Texts and studies of the history of Cyprus). Cyprus Research Centre. ISBN 9963-0-8004-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Storrs, Ronald (1972). The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs. New York: Arno Press. ISBN 0-405-04593-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Storrs, Ronald (1999). Middle East Politics & Diplomacy, 1904–1956:The Private Letters and Diaries of Sir Ronald Storrs (1881–1955) from Pembroke College, Cambridge. Marlborough, Wiltshire, England: Adam Matthew Publications. ISBN 1-85711-152-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Storrs, Ronald (2006). A Record of the War – The Second Quarter (December 1939 – February 1940). Obscure Press. ISBN 1-84664-761-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links