Related to this problem. I kindly ask to help me ask the question so it would be clear for anybody to understand me.


Why and how did George V give titles to his generals that he was not possessing?


Edward Allenby was given the title Viscount Allenby, of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk. Megiddo lies in Israel, it was outside British possessions, although it was controlled by the British

Julian Byng was given the title 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy. Vimy is in North-Eastern France.

John French was given the title 1st Earl of Ypres. Ypres lies in Belgium.

Tags: [ww1], [united kingdom]

What research have I made? none (I don't know where to start). However, see the What was I thinking as possible solutions? section below.

What I do not understand? the places related to these generals' titles lied outside sovereignty of United Kingdom neither they belonged to British monarchs.

First clarification I know why the king gave these titles (because he wanted to honour them for their war effort). "Why" in this case means "why did he do it with possessions he was not an owner and why he didn't give them some titles in Britain?"

Second clarification I know how the king gave. "How" means "how was it legally possible?"

Third clarification Because me English is poor, I have no idea how to put the First clarification and the Second clarification into the question title so it will not be too long.

What was I thinking as possible solutions?

  1. It was made with agreement of French and Belgian governments or mayors or councils of the cities. Some delegates could be present on the ceremony.
  2. This does not probably apply do Megiddo.
  3. This was only a ceremonial title, so in some way no agreement or permissions with Belgian and French governments as well as with mayors or councils of Vimy or Ypres were necessary.
  4. This was kept secret until the marshals died.
  5. Officially, these we "some other Ypres and some other Vimy, and it is just a funny coincidence"
  6. These were mayors' or councils' initiatives which were backed by common enthusiasm of citizens. The mayors asked the king so the honour would be larger. The king agreed.
  7. Because of some act dating yet 12th century, the monarch of England is allowed to give any title to anybody he wants, including himself (like the title King of France). He is a sovereign ruler, guarded by Royal Navy, and he is not afraid nor doesn't care of what anybody else thinks. If you get the title "Viscount of Moscow, 1st Baronet of Vatican", it is your problem to explain it to the Council of Moscow and the Pope.
  8. These were honorary or ceremonial titles. No land was given for the generals. (this does not exclude other options)

I hope it is clear now. Please feel free to edit the question or post your proposal as an answer. If it will be commonly accepted, I will ask it on the main History site.

  • 1
    The title probably would be better as "Why and how did George V give titles to his generals over lands that he was not possessing?". The answer is actually option 8 in your list, the honor didn't include any title to land but was merely a reference to the place in which the honor was won. For example, Nelson became Baron Nelson of the Nile for his victory at Aboukir Bay. – Steve Bird Jun 25 '15 at 8:47
  • Why and how did George V give titles to his generals over lands he didn't possess? – Ne Mo Sep 3 '15 at 8:08
  • @NeMo I have already asked this question history.stackexchange.com/q/24081/2395 – Voitcus Sep 3 '15 at 12:59

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