If you are in the Washington metro vicinity on May 1st, officially the eve of Yom Ha Shoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel , you might go and witness a stirring event: the wreath laying ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery in memory of British Christian Zionist and father of the IDF, Major Gen. Orde Charles Wingate. His remains lie mingled with those of nine members of an American 1st Air Commando crew whose B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed in Burma in March, 1944. The remains of Wingate and the Americans who died in Burma were transferred in 1950 to the hallowed ground of our national military cemetery.
Watch this brief You Tube video of pictures of Wingate as Commander of the famed CHINDITS force that disrupted the Japanese in Burma during WWII by inserting forces by air behind enemy lines.
The American Jewish War Veterans with hold its 35th annual memorial ceremony at which Israeli Ambassador to the US, the Hon. Michael Oren, the British Air Attache, a USAF General and others who served with Wingate will speak at Wingate’s gravesite.
See the JWV announcement below of the program for this year's memorial.
Wingate is revered as the fabled “Ha Yedadid” - the friend- who trained the Special Night Squads (SNS) composed of Jewish Palestinians, that successfully fought Jihadis during the Arab Riots of 1936 to 1939. Many of the SNS trainees became commanders of combat units of IDF on the founding of the State of Israel in May, 1948 at the start of the War for Independence. Wingate established the enduring IDF doctrine of 'purity of arms" in pre-state irregular special ops against Arab Muslim bands of terrorists backed by the infamous Grand Mufti, Haj Amin Al Husseini. A number of IDF training facilities and streets in Israel are named in his memory.
Wingate was the commander of an irregular unit of Ethiopians, Brits, Australians and Palestinian Jews, called the Gideon Force after the Biblical general who was a legendary early practitioner of irregular warfare. Wingate’s unit succeeding in vanquishing the Italian force that had occupied Ethiopia since 1936; an early allied victory in the summer of 1941.
Despite Wingate’s own legendary eccentricities, he became one of Churchill’s favorite combat commanders because of his championing of irregular warfare. After a meeting with Churchill in Quebec, he was promoted and seconded to Admiral Lord Louis Mounbatten, who was Allied Supremo in the South East Asia Command, an aficionado of special ops warfare. Wingate developed a plan for engaging in behind the lines warfare against the Japanese forces in Burma establishing an aerial re-supply chain for Jungle bases using the resources of US Army Air Force 1st Air Commandos. The combined British, Commonweath and American force became known as CHINDITS - taken from the name of Burmese Buddhist Temple statuary dogs. The CHINDITS engaged in the second largest air invasions of WWII when more than 22,000 troops were deployed deep in Japanese –held Burmese territory in Operation Thursday. The commander of the US Ist Air Commandos, who worked closely with Wingate Col. Philip Cochran became the model for the character Flip Cochran in Milton Connif’s comic strip, “Terry and the Pirates.”
Wingate’s sudden tragic death in a US Air commando plane crash in March 1944 deprived both the allies and the IDF of a brilliant combat officer who might have become, if he had lived, the first commander of Israeli forces, even as a Christian Zionist. That role was left to American Jewish West Point graduate and US Army Ranger officer, Col. David “Mickey” Marcus, who was tragically killed by friendly fire during the early stages of Israel’s War for Independence. Col. Marcus is buried ‘on the plains’ at West Point- the US Military Academy.
Despite his tragic death in WWII combat, Wingate's legacy lives on in the military doctrine of the IDF and in special ops training in several armed services, American, British and Israel.
Honoring the memory of General Orde Wingate
The Jewish War Veterans of the USA and the JWV Department of DC hold a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery each year to remember British military Commander and ardent Zionist Orde Wingate who is credited with being the founder of Israel's military. Wingate, known in Israel as Hayedid (the Friend), helped to organize the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces and to train Israel's future military leaders while serving as an officer in Palestine in the late 1930's. People gather at Wingate's grave to hear representatives from the Israeli and British Embassies and others discuss Wingate's accomplishments. The Jewish War Veterans have held a memorial service honoring Wingate for more than 35 years.
General Orde Wingate Memorial Ceremony
Sunday, May 1, 2011 - 2:30 PM
Arlington National Cemetery
Gravesite 288 - Section 12
Parking permitted at Gravesite (west side of Grant Avenue)
In the event of rain, ceremony will move to the Women's National Memorial Auditorium
Honorable Michael Oren
Israeli Ambassador to the United States
Air Commodore, Ken McCann
Military Attache, Embassy of Great Britain
General John Alison, USAF Ret. Served with General Wingate in Burma
Professor Nicholas Kittrie, JD, American University Served with General Wingate in Burma
For all questions and comments contact Richard Rosenzweig
phone # 301-445-0452
or email [email protected]
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He has one of the highest accolades in popular English culture - a football club named after him.
Wingate FC was founded after the war in North London by Jewish players. I knew the club best for the years they spent merged with a side local to me, Leyton FC where from 1975 to 1992 they played as Leyton Wingate FC at the stadium behind the Hare and Hounds pub.
The club is now merged as Wingate & Finchley FC and they play in the Isthmian League.
I have memories of seeing a sign to a forest in his name in Israel 20 years ago.
For Orde Wingate:
'How lovely is thy dwelling-place, O LORD of hosts
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
'Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
"Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee.
'Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
'Who going through the valley of dryness finds there a spring from which to drink; the rain also filleth the pools.
'They go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
'O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob.
'Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
'For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would choose rather to sit on the threshold of the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
'For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
'O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee".
(from the King James Version, except for a couple of phrases from the modern prayer book translation that appear to me to be felicitous).
Post scriptum: It strikes me that if the IDF does not have a French-style 'Foreign legion', open to Gentile Friends of Zion, perhaps they should create one, and name it after Orde Wingate. I suspect they might find that quite a few people would be only too eager to join.