Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell - Encyclopedia


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"GERTRUDE MARGARET LOWTHIAN BELL (1868-), English traveller and geographer, was born at Washington, Durham, July 14 1868, the eldest daughter of Sir T. Hugh Bell, Bart. She was educated at Queen's College, London, and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she graduated first class in the final school of modern history in 1888. She travelled extensively in the Near East, making a specially adventurous journey across northern Arabia in 1913-4 over a practically unknown route, whereby she obtained a knowledge of the country which proved of great value to the British Government when information concerning routes was required for the advance of the British army into Palestine during the World War. In 1914-5 she was in control of a special department of the British Red Cross, occupied in trying to trace soldiers reported as missing." From 1916-7 she was attached to the Admiralty Intelligence Office in Cairo. In 1917 she went with the military authorities to Basra and followed the army up to Bagdad, where she subsequently acted as assistant political officer, the first woman to occupy so important an administrative post. In 1918 she received the founder's medal of the Royal Geographical Society.

Amongst her publications are: Poems from the Divan of Ilafaz (translations, 1897) , The Desert and the Sown (1907); The Thousand and One Churches (with Sir W. M. Ramsay, 1909) Palace and Mosque at Ukhaider (1914). She is also the author of the Review of the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia, issued as a White Book by the India Office, Dec. 1920.

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