HC Deb 14 July 1926 vol 198 cc412-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies a question of which I have given him Private Notice, whether he can make any statement with regard to the death at Bagdad of Miss Gertrude Bell?


I greatly regret to inform the House—to many of whose Members she was personally well known —that Miss Gertrude Bell, Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner for Iraq and Honorary Director of the Antiquities Department of the Iraq Government, died at Bagdad on Sunday night.

By her premature death, hastened by many years of unsparing work in a trying climate, we have lost not only a most valuable public servant, but also a re- markable and indeed unique personality. Her intimate knowledge of the East enabled her to render exceptional service to the British Forces during the operations in Mesopotamia. Since then, her profound sympathy with the Arab people and her strong faith in their future, played no small part in shaping the policy of mutual confidence and co-operation upon which we have based our setting up, and subsequent support of the Iraq State. That State, on whose behalf she worked with such devoton, has passed through many initial difficulties and anxieties. She lived just long enough to see it emerge from them all with a fair hope of future strength and prosperity. In one sense at least she was thus happy in the moment of her death.