The Palestine Exploration Fund

Lt. Horatio H. Kitchener, R.E., 1850-1916

Lt. KitchenerIn 1874 Lt. Horatio Kitchener was appointed as assistant to Lt. C.R. Conder, on the Survey of Western Palestine. During 1874 and 1875, along with their team of Royal Engineers N.C.O.s and enlisted men, they surveyed large areas of the country. In 1875 the Survey Party was attacked near Safed and both officers were badly injured. When the attackers had been apprehended and dealt with by the Ottoman court, the Survey was resumed. However, Conder was still not fully recovered, so Kitchener took over command and completed the Survey in 1877.

In 1882, Kitchener served with the British forces in Egypt during the suppression of the nationalist revolt led by Col. Arabi. In 1883, he took part in the Survey of the Wady Arabah and northeastern Sinai with Professor Edward Hull, on behalf of the Fund. Later, as Khedive, Kitchener was responsible for the defence of the single most important strategic waterway in the British Empire, the Suez Canal.

Since any serious military threat to the canal was expected from the north, Kitchener set a team led by Captain Stewart Newcombe, R.E. to produce an accurate map of the Sinai Peninsula. When this task was completed there was only one portion of this strategic region which remained unmapped, the Negev. Kitchener turned to the Palestine Exploration Fund, and requested them to apply for permission to carry out this work. Permission being obtained, the mapping was carried out by Newcombe, while an archaeological survey was conducted by two young archaeologists on leave from the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish, C.L. Woolley and T.E. Lawrence.
He was a major figure of the First World War, being Secretary of War from 1914 until his death in June 1916. He was killed when his ship, the Hampshire, struck a mine en route to Archangel.

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