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Leslie Hore-Belisha MP

Born:
26 Elul 5653 (07 September 1893)
Died:
15 Adar I 5717 (16 February 1957)

Basic Information

Unique reference:
HOR5416
Gender:
Male

Birth

Date of birth:
26 Elul 5653 (07 September 1893)
Place of birth:
Hampstead, London

Death

Date of death:
15 Adar I 5717 (16 February 1957)
Died in combat?:
No
Place of death:
Rheims, France
Cause of death:
Cerebal haemorrhage
Burial place:
Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, London NW11 7NL

Places

Addresses

Living with his mother:
29 Pembridge Villas London (1901)
61 Palace Court Lancaster Gate, London (1919)
His London home until his death:
16 Stafford Place London
Hore-Belisha bought part of Old Warren Farm from landowner Admiral Drax in 1938, shortly after his promotion to the War Office. He leased the rest of the 14 acres of paddock and woodland from Wimbledon Council and lived there until his death in 1957. For :
Warren Farm Wimbledon Common (1938)

Schools

Name:
Clifton College
Name:
The Sorbonne
Name:
Heidelberg University
Name:
St John's College

Other Organisations

Name:
House of Commons
Date:
1923
Significance:
Liberal Member for Devonport

Synagogues

Name:
West London Synagogue
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Leslie Hore-Belisha MP
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http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/the-generals-battle-british-war-minister-leslie-hore-belisha/

His Clifton schoolmates observed that Hore-Belisha was quarrelsome and that good manners were not his strong suit.

http://spartacus-educational.com/2WWbelisha.htm

Leslie Hore-Belisha was born in Devonport in 1893. Educated at Clifton College and Oxford University he served as a major in the British Armyduring the First World War.
Hore-Belisha, a member of the Liberal Party, worked as a journalist and lawyer before entering the House of Commons for Devonport in 1923.
In 1931 Hore-Belisha supported James Ramsay MacDonald and the National Government and became chairman of the National Liberal Party. MacDonald rewarded Hore-Belisha by appointing him Financial Secretary of the Treasury. In 1934 he became Minister of Transport. He successfully reduced the number of road accidents by introducing Belisha becons at pedestrian crossings, a new highway code and driving tests for motorists.
In 1937 Neville Chamberlain appointed Hore-Belisha as Secretary of State for War. This was a controversial decision as the former holder of the post, Alfred Duff Cooper, was popular with the British armed forces. Hore-Belisha introduced a series of reforms to improve recruitment. Pay and promotion prospects were improved for all ranks, together with more generous pensions. He also introduced modernised barracks with showers and recreation rooms. Married men over the age of twenty-one were now allowed to live with their families.
Hore-Belisha upset the Army Council by replacing three senior members with younger and more flexible men. He also upset Neville Chamberlain by suggesting the introduction of military conscription during his negotiations with Adolf Hitler in 1938. His attempts to persuade Chamberlain to rapidly increase spending on the armed forces was also unsuccessful.
In the House of Commons the Conservative Party MP Archibald Ramsay was the main critic of having Jews in the government. In 1938 he began a campaign to have Hore-Belisha sacked as Secretary of War. In one speech on 27th April he warned that Hore-Belisha "will lead us to war with our blood-brothers of the Nordic race in order to make way for a Bolshevised Europe."
Hore-Belisha had a poor relationship with General John Gort, Chief of the Imperial General Staff. By the outbreak of the Second World War the two men were not on speaking terms.
In May 1939 Archibald Ramsay founded a secret society called the Right-Club. This was an attempt to unify all the different right-wing groups in Britain. In his autobiography The Nameless War Ramsay argued: "The main object of the secret society was to oppose and expose the activities of Organized Jewry... Our first objective was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence." Ramsay continued his campaign against Hore-Belisha and even distributed in Parliament free copies of right-wing magazines that included articles attacking the Secretary of War.
Neville Chamberlain eventually decided to remove Hore-Belisha as Secretary of State for War and appoint him as Minister of Information. Lord Halifax objected, claiming that it was "inappropriate to have a Jew in charge of publicity." In January 1940 Hore-Belisha was sacked as Secretary of State for War.
In 1945 Winston Churchill appointed Hore-Belisha as Minister of National Insurance. However, he lost office when the Labour Party won the 1945 General Election. Leslie Hore-Belisha, who lost his seat in the election, died in 1957.

Jewish Chronicle, Obituary , 22 February 1957

During a visit to France, where he was leading a British Parliamentary delegation, the death occurred on Saturday, at the age of 63, of Lord Hore-Belisha, former Secretary of State tor, War and Minister of Transport.
He collapsed white making a speech at a civic inception at Rheims and died soon afterwards from cerebral haemorrhage. Leslie Hore-Belisha was the only son of J. 1. Belisha, of London, who died when Leslie was still an infant His mother married, in 1912, Sir Adair Hore (Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions), whose name he then added to Belisha. He was educated at Clifton College; the Sorbonne, Paris; Heidelberg University; and Oxford. At Oxford he gained his M.A. degree at St. John's College and was, in 1919, President of the Union. During the First World War Hore-Belisha. after enlisting as a private in the, Public Schools Battalion, was commissioned in the R.A.S.C. and served in France, Salonika, and Cyprus. He was Mentioned in Dispatches and rose to the rank of major.
He studied law alter the war, developed an interest in politics, and wrote on the subject for several newspapers. In 1923 he was called to the Bar, In the same year he stood, as a Liberal, for Devonport and won the seat from the Conservatives.
When, in 1931, the National Government was formed, Hore-Belisha was one of the leaders of the movement against Lloyd George. He became the first Chairman of the National Liberal Party and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. For two years – 1932 to 1934 – he served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury; and from 1934 to 1937 as Minister of Transport.
Traffic Reforms
It was while he held the last-named post that he became a much-talked-about public figure. He brought his qualities of enterprise and drive, as well as his flair for publicity, to deal with the problems of traffic congestion and road casualties. Besides setting up, at pedestrian crossings, the orange beacons which have taken his name, he drew up a new highway code, introduced driving tests and silence zones, and enforced a 30 mile an hour speed limit in built-up areas. He was raised to Cabinet rank during his occupancy of this Ministry and was made a Privy Councillor
In 1937 Mr. Chamberlain chose Hore-Belisha to be Secretary of State for War. The new Secretary determined to introduce any reforms in the army that would make it a more efficient force. Among the decisions he took was that commissions must be earned in the ranks; he doubled the size of the Territorial Army and introduced battle dress; and he replaced senior members of the Army Council by younger men.
After the outbreak of the war in September 1939, it was under Hore-Belisha’s direction that an expeditionary force was sent to France. His resighnation at the beginning of January 1940, came as a great surprise and has ever since been regarded as something of a mystery. The explanation largely accepted is that his ‘democratisation’ of the army and his other reforms had so inflamed a group of influential generals that they brought about his dismissal. He was offered the Board of Trade by the Prime Minister but refused
In the "Caretaker" Government in 1945 Hore-Belisha was Minister of National Insurance, but he lost his Parliamentary seat in the General Election that year. In 1950 he stood as a Tory candidate for South Coventry, but was defeated. He was made a Baron in 1954. In his maiden speech in the House of Lords he urged consideration for the constructing of a pipeline from the. Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean and subsequently spoke in favour of a canal—an alternative to the Suez Canal—being made through Israel to join the two seas; Lord Hore-Belisha visited Israel—not for the first time—a year ago, when he was the guest of the Government for three weeks. He was accompanied by his wife—he had married, in 1944, Miss -Cynthia Elliot. Lady Hore-Belisha gave I£5,000 during the visit to the Hebrew University to helo to provide accommodation for agricultural students.
In May last year Lord Hore-Belisha became a Vice-president of the British Technion Committee. He served for some years as an elder of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation and represented it at the Board of Deputies. He is survived by Lady Hore-Belisha. There, is no heir to the barony.
Visits to Monastery
In "Second Diary of a Diplomatic Correspondent" (London, 1947) there appears an interesting conversation George Bilainkin had in 1945, on one of his frequent visits to the Cistercian Monastery in Leicestershire, with his friend the Prior. He had pointed, out to him in the chapel of the main new church the bench where Hore-Belisha liked to spend part of his morning meditating. The Prior told Bilainkin, said the diarist, that if the community could have accommodated Mrs. Hore-Belisha the two would have spent Christmas there. The Abbot (an Irish mathematician) and the Prior indulged in long dissertations on comparative theology with Hore-Belisha. They frequently asked the diarist if he thought that Hore-Belisha would become converted.
The Funeral
The funeral of Lord Hore-Belisha was held in private at the Hoop Lane (Golders Green) Cemetery of the West London Synagogue on Wednesday. He was laid to rest next to the grave of his mother.
The burial was arranged by the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation at the request of the Wardens of the West London Synagogue. In the absence of relatives the Kaddish was recited by the Rev. E Abinun who also conducted the service according to the Sephardi Minhag.

Family

Spouse

Jacqueline Delubac (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
Hore-Belisha

Spouse

Cynthia Elliott (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
Hore-Belisha

Parents

Father: Jacob Isaac Belisha (male)
Mother: Elizabeth Miriam Miers (female)

Military Record

Military service:
Army Service Corps
Rank at discharge/death:
Major
Assignments
Regiment:
Army Service Corps
Campaigns:
France, Flanders, Cyprus and Salonika
Medals:
Gazette issue 30740. Mentioned in Despatches; For gallant conduct and distinguished services rendered during the period from the 21st September, 1917, to February 28th, 1918.

Other Occupations

Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Date started:
1923
Date left:
1945
Position:
Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1932-1934
Organisation:
Liberal Member
Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Date started:
1923
Date left:
1945
Position:
Secretary of State for War 1937-1940
Organisation:
Liberal
Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Date started:
1923
Date left:
1945
Position:
Minister of Transport 1934-1937
Organisation:
Liberal Party

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