Alan Cunningham

General Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham GCMG, KCB, DSO, MC (1 May 1887 – 30 January 1983) was a senior officer of the British Army noted for his victories over Italian forces in the East African Campaign during World War II. Later he served as the seventh and last High Commissioner of Palestine. He was the younger brother of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Cunningham of Hyndhope.

Sir Alan Cunningham
British Generals 1939-1945 E6661
Born1 May 1887
Dublin, Ireland
Died30 January 1983 (aged 95)
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1906–1946
Service number74
UnitRoyal Artillery
Commands heldEastern Command
Northern Ireland
Staff College, Camberley
Eighth Army
East Africa Force
51st (Highland) Infantry Division
9th (Highland) Infantry Division
66th Infantry Division
5th Anti-Aircraft Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
Palestine Emergency
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in despatches (4)
RelationsAndrew Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (brother)
Other workHigh Commissioner of Palestine (1945–48)
Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery

Early life and military career

Cunningham was born in Dublin, Ireland, the third son of Scottish Professor Daniel John Cunningham and his wife Elizabeth Cumming Browne.[1] He was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich before taking a commission in the Royal Artillery in 1906.[2] During the First World War, he served with the Royal Horse Artillery, and was awarded a Military Cross in 1915 and the Distinguished Service Order in 1918. For two years after the war he served as a staff officer in the Straits Settlements.[2]

After graduating from the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1925, followed by the Imperial Defence Studies in 1937, Cunningham became the Commander, Royal Artillery of the 1st Infantry Division.[2] This was followed in 1938 by promotion to major general and appointment as commander of the 5th Anti-Aircraft Division.[2]

Second World War

General Sir Alan Cunningham.

After the beginning of Second World War, Cunningham held a number of short appointments commanding infantry divisions in the United Kingdom (66th Infantry Division, 9th (Highland) Infantry Division, and following its renaming, the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division)[2] before being promoted to lieutenant-general to take command of the East Africa Force in Kenya.[2]

During the East African Campaign General Sir Archibald Wavell, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Middle East Command, directed Cunningham to retake British Somaliland and free Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the Italians whilst forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir William Platt would attack from Sudan in the north through Eritrea. Cunningham's offensive started with the occupation of the Indian Ocean ports of Kismayu (Italian: Chisimaio) and Mogadishu (Italian: Mogadiscio), the Italians having fled into the interior of Somalia. On 6 April 1941, Cunningham's forces entered Addis Ababa. On 11 May the northernmost units of Cunningham's forces, under South African Brigadier Dan Pienaar linked with Platt's forces under Major-General Mosley Mayne to besiege Amba Alagi. On 20 May, Mayne took the surrender of the Italian Army, led by Amedeo di Savoia, 3rd Duke of Aosta, at Amba Alagi.

Cunningham's campaign was a swift action which resulted in the taking of 50,000 prisoners and the loss of only 500 of his men.

His success in East Africa led to Cunningham's appointment to command the newly formed Eighth Army in North Africa in August 1941.[2] His immediate task was to lead General Sir Claude Auchinleck's Libyan Desert offensive which began on 18 November. However, early losses led Cunningham to recommend the offensive be curtailed. This advice was not accepted by his superiors, and Auchinleck relieved him of his command.[2] He returned to Britain to serve the remainder of the war as Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley (1942) and General Officer C-in-C in Northern Ireland (1943) and Eastern Command (1944).[2] He was knighted in 1941.


After the war, Cunningham, who was promoted to general on 30 October 1945, returned to the Middle East as High Commissioner of Palestine; he served in the position from 1945 to 1948.[2] As such, he was in charge of the confrontation with Hagana, Etzel and Lehi who in this period challenged its rule in Palestine.

Cunningham had retired from the army in October 1946 when he relinquished the role of Commander-in-Chief Palestine, but retained the job of High Commissioner until 1948.[2] As such he had the task of winding up British rule and departing the country in May 1948, with the British mandate expired, in the midst of war between Jewish forces and Palestinian militias, with Arab armies poised to invade as soon as the British withdrew. The photo of Cunningham taking down the British flag at the port of Haifa is a historical photo often reproduced in Israeli history textbooks.

Cunningham grave, Dean Cemetery
General Sir Alan Cunningham's grave, Dean Cemetery.

Cunningham served as Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery until 1954.[3] Cunningham died in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. He is buried with his father and mother under a very simple monument near the Dean Gallery entrance to Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh.

Orders and decorations

(This list is incomplete.)


  • Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories and officers". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2008.
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A Biographical Guide to the Key British Generals of World War II. Stroud, UK: Spellmount Limited. pp. 543 pages. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.
  1. ^ "D Cunningham Household Census Return, 1901". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ Houterman & Koppes
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "British Army Officers 1939–1945 (COAT to CUTT)". World War II unit histories and officers. Retrieved 27 August 2014.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
New post
GOC 5th Anti-Aircraft Division
Succeeded by
Robert Allen
Preceded by
Arthur Purser
GOC 66th Infantry Division
January–June 1940
Succeeded by
Post disbanded
Preceded by
Edward Beck
GOC 9th (Highland) Infantry Division
June–August 1940
Succeeded by
Post redesignated 51st (Highland) Infantry Division
Preceded by
New post
GOC 51st (Highland) Infantry Division
August–October 1940
Succeeded by
Neil Ritchie
Preceded by
Douglas Dickinson
GOC East Africa Force
Succeeded by
Harry Wetherall
Preceded by
New post
GOC Eighth Army
September–November 1941
Succeeded by
Neil Ritchie
Preceded by
Montagu Stopford
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
Douglas Wimberley
Preceded by
Vivian Majendie
GOC British Army in Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Gerard Bucknall
Preceded by
Sir Kenneth Anderson
GOC-in-C Eastern Command
Succeeded by
Sir Oliver Leese
Government offices
Preceded by
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
High Commissioner of Palestine
21 November 1945–14 May 1948
Succeeded by
Chaim Weizmann
(As President of Israel)
Succeeded by
David Ben-Gurion
(As Prime Minister of Israel)
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
High Commissioner of Palestine
21 November 1945–14 May 1948
Succeeded by
Knox Helm
(As British Ambassador to Israel)
1987–88 British Basketball League season

The 1987–1988 BBL season was the first season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons), a breakaway competition formed by teams from the English National League and the Scottish National League. The season featured a total of 15 teams, playing 28 games each.

Portsmouth, reigning champions of the English League claimed the regular season title with a dominating campaign led by the likes of Alan Cunningham and Colin Irish. They weren't able to repeat their success in the post-season Play-off's as third-seed Livingston, the reigning Scottish champions, caused a huge upset with an 81–72 win over Portsmouth in the Final. Kingston won their fourth consecutive National Cup and Livingston claimed the inaugural BBL Trophy.

In the National League (the tier below the Carlsberg League) the Worthing Bears won the league with a 100% (18–0) record and in the play-off semi-final Billy Hungrecker scored a record 73 points in a 119–110 overtime win over Plymouth Raiders, before defeating Brixton TopCats in the final.

1988–89 British Basketball League season

The 1988–1989 BBL season was the second season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons) since its establishment in 1987. The season featured a total of 11 teams, playing 20 games each. The league had suffered in the 1989 close season because Portsmouth was wound up followed by Calderdale Explorers and Birmingham Bullets both dropping out of the league. Bolton and Bury Giants became the Olympic City Giants and Kingston moved north of the border playing as Glasgow Rangers. The new season was supposed to feature 12 teams, however Oldham Celtics dropped out of the league and into the National League (Tier 2) after just one game, due to financial difficulties.

The season was dominated by the success of the league's two Scottish teams Glasgow Rangers and Livingston, who finished the regular season in first and second place respectively. Glasgow's Kevin Cadle and Alan Cunningham were also named as the league's Coach and Player of the year, however the Scottish dominance was broken by Bracknell Tigers who were victorious in the League Trophy against Livingston in the Final.

Below the Carlsberg League in the National League Division 1, it came as no surprise that Oldham Celtics sealed the title bearing in mind that they had originally planned to play in the top tier.

1989–90 British Basketball League season

The 1989–1990 BBL season was the third season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons) since its establishment in 1987. The season featured a total of just eight teams, playing 28 games each. Due to the low number of teams, the post-season play-offs featured only the top four teams from the regular season instead of the usual top eight finishers.

The future of the league was in the balance due to the waning number of teams. Livingston folded, Crystal Palace and Hemel Hempstead Watford Royals both dropped to the National League and Glasgow Rangers moved back to Kingston. There was small consolation in the formation of a new club called London Docklands (formerly Tower Hamlets) which joined the league.

Kingston completed a clean sweep of all four trophies claiming the title and Play-off crown, as well as the National Cup and NatWest League Trophy.

Oldham Celtics secured the second tier league title for a second consecutive year.

1990–91 British Basketball League season

The 1990–1991 BBL season was the 4th season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons) since its establishment in 1987. The season featured a total of nine teams, playing 24 games each.

Following a new £1.3 million sponsorship deal with Carlsberg, the sport was unified once more as three divisions of the Carlsberg League were created.Solent Stars dropped out of the top tier and would play their basketball in Division Four. Hemel Hempstead Royals and Worthing Bears returned to top tier action and the Bracknell Tigers became the Thames Valley Tigers.

Kingston claimed the Division One title and Play-off crown, as well as the League Trophy, earning their coach Kevin Cadle and star player Alton Byrd the award's for Coach and Player of the Year respectively. Sunderland claimed the National Cup preventing another Kingston clean sweep.

1991–92 British Basketball League season

The 1991–1992 BBL season was the 5th season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons) since its establishment in 1987. The season featured an increased number of teams with the additions of the Birmingham Bullets and Cheshire Jets. London Docklands changed their name to London Towers.

Kingston, coached by Kevin Cadle, stormed to success in every domestic competition they entered and completed a clean sweep of the four major competitions, which they had previously accomplished two years earlier. They claimed the Division One title and Play-off crown, were victorious in the League Trophy and the National Cup, whilst Coach Cadle and star player Alton Byrd were awarded as Coach and Player of the Year respectively.

1992–93 British Basketball League season

The 1992–1993 BBL season was the sixth season of the British Basketball League (known as the Carlsberg League for sponsorship reasons) since its establishment in 1987. The first division featuring a total of 12 teams, playing 33 games each increased in number by one following the admittance of the Oldham Celtics. The Kingston Kings moved from the Tolworth Leisure Centre to new home in Guildford at the Spectrum Arena and became the Guildford Kings.Worthing Bears were the dominant force in the regular season and sustained their momentum in the post-season Play-off, claiming silverware in both competitions. Their closest rivals were Thames Valley Tigers, who had to settle for second place but were able to enjoy some glory by lifting the League Trophy following a win in the final over the Guildford Kings.

1993–94 British Basketball League season

The 1993–1994 BBL season was known as the Budweiser League for sponsorship reasons. The season featured a total of 13 teams, playing 36 games each.

The BBL secured a three year £1 million sponsorship deal with Budweiser and the divisions were re-organised once again. The Budweiser League would be tier one with the National League Division's below. The Budweiser League increased in number with the addition of the Division One champions Doncaster Panthers. The Cheshire Jets became the Chester Jets.

Thames Valley Tigers claimed the League Trophy and stormed to the regular season title, however the Bracknell-based side suffered a shock defeat to Derby Bucks and saw them eliminated in the Quarter-final of the Budweiser Championship Play-offs. Nevertheless, Tigers' Nigel Lloyd and Mick Bett were both awarded accolades as Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year respectively. Worthing Bears also secured a double success by winning the Play-offs and securing the National Cup.

9th (Highland) Infantry Division

The 9th (Highland) Infantry Division was a Territorial Army division of the British Army at the beginning of World War II. It was raised in 1939 as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division when the Territorial Army was doubled in size as war with Nazi Germany became obvious. After the surrender of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division in 1940 during the Battle of France, the 9th Division, the duplicate of the 51st Division, was reorganised and renumbered as the new 51st (Highland) Infantry Division. It carried on the great fighting history of Highland military units and fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and North-West Europe.

Al McIntosh

Alan Cunningham McIntosh (October 7, 1905 – July 23, 1979) was editor of the Rock County Star-Herald of Luverne, Minnesota. He was president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 1949. The association now recognizes individuals who have provided exceptional service to the field of journalism with its Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.

Ken Burns included several World War II-era excerpts from McIntosh's weekly column in his documentary "The War," which are voiced by actor Tom Hanks. In an interview on the radio show Fresh Air, Burns claimed that McIntosh could have pursued a more prestigious journalistic career but chose to take the reins of a small-town newspaper. Burns also opined in the same interview that McIntosh would be the most important discovery his team made in the creation of the documentary.

McIntosh owned and published the Star-Herald from 1940 until 1968, and first became famous after writing an editorial titled “A Tired American Gets Angry” in 1964.

Allan Cunningham (botanist)

Allan Cunningham (13 July 1791 – 27 June 1839) was an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels in Australia to collect plants.

Battle of Amba Alagi (1941)

The Battle of Amba Alagi was fought in May 1941, during World War II, part of the East African Campaign.

After the Italian defeat at Keren in April 1941, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta withdrew his forces to the mountain stronghold at Amba Alagi. The mountain had galleries carved into the rock to protect the defending troops and hold ample ammunition and stores and the Italian troops thought themselves to be impregnable. According to other sources, however, the fortress was easily defendable thanks to its position and the mountainous terrain, but lacked food and water, so that Marshal Enrico Caviglia later criticised the Duke for having chosen it for his last stand, calling the Amba Alagi "uno scoglio senz'acqua e senza viveri" ("a rock with neither water nor food"). The initial attacks on the approaches to Amba Alagi by British troops under Major-General Mayne from the north, commenced on 4 May with a pincer from the eastern and western sides.

There was hard fighting in the jagged mountainous terrain but Mayne's troops were joined on 12 May by Brigadier Dan Pienaar's 1st South African Brigade, which had captured the Italian garrison of Dessie (20 April) located 200 miles south of Amba Alagi, and by 14 May Amba Alagi was completely surrounded. A final assault was planned for the next day but a lucky strike by an artillery shell hit an Italian fuel dump, sending a stream of oil into their last remaining drinking water forcing the Italians to end any resistance.The Italian commander began ceasefire negotiations on 16 May 1941. The Duke of Aosta and his garrison surrendered to the British commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Alan Cunningham, on 19 May 1941. The Duke and the garrison were accorded the honours of war. This capitulation marked the end of any significant Italian control on East Africa, although some garrisons would continue to fight until 1943.The film La Pattuglia dell'Amba Alagi, shot in 1953 by Flavio Calzavara, glorifies the Italian defence against the British.

Brighton Bears

Brighton Bears was a British basketball team based in Brighton, Sussex. From 1984 to 1999 the club was known as the Worthing Bears and was based in the town of Worthing, 12 miles west of Brighton. The Bears played in the top-flight British Basketball League (BBL) until 2006 when the franchise folded. The final season was notable for the signing of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who played three games for the Bears. The league's franchise for the Brighton-area, originally put on hold, was intended to be occupied by the Brighton Cougars from the 2008–09 season but the Cougars bid was rejected, with the league favouring rival candidate Worthing Thunder.

Eighth Army (United Kingdom)

The Eighth Army was a field army formation of the British Army during the Second World War, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns. Units came from Australia, British India, Canada, Free French Forces, Greece, New Zealand, Poland, Rhodesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Significant formations which passed through the Army included V Corps, X Corps, XIII Corps, XXX Corps, I Canadian Corps and the II Polish Corps.

High Commissioners for Palestine and Transjordan

The High Commissioner for Palestine was the highest ranking authority representing the United Kingdom in the mandated territories of Palestine and Transjordan under the British Mandate for Palestine. In 1928, a separate post of High Commissioner for Trans-Jordan, the holder of which was responsible for overseeing Transjordan, was created; however, this post was always held simultaneously by the High Commissioner for Palestine.

The British representative to Amman was "responsible to the high commissioner in his role as representative of the mandatory power, but not in his capacity as head of the Palestine administration."They were based in Jerusalem. The office commenced on 1 July 1920, before the commencement of the Mandate on 29 September 1923, and replaced the British military occupation under the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, which had operated in Palestine in 1917–1918. The office ceased with the expiration of the Mandate on 15 May 1948.

Mount Edwards (Queensland)

Mount Edwards is a mountain in South East Queensland, Australia. The mountain rises 634 metres (2,080 ft) above sea level and is part of the Moogerah Peaks National Park. It lies approximately 100 km south west of Brisbane approximately 17km(10.5mi) from the town of Boonah. The mountain is the closest of the Moogerah Peaks to the Cunningham Highway and is 9 km south of Aratula. Other prominent peaks in this Scenic Rim group of mountains includes Mount French, Mount Moon and Mount Greville.

Explorer John Oxley named the mountain Mount Banister in 1824. Later renamed in 1828 by Alan Cunningham after Lieutenant George Edwards.The summit is accessed by walking track that starts across the Moogerah Dam wall. The 2.7km walk to the top affords views across Fassifern Valley.

Between Mount Edwards and Little Mount Edwards (363 m) to the east, is Reynolds Creek which flows through a steeply sloped gorge.

Operation Agatha

Operation Agatha (Saturday, June 29, 1946) sometimes called Black Sabbath ("השבת השחורה") or Black Saturday because it began on the Jewish sabbath, was a police and military operation conducted by the British authorities in Mandatory Palestine. Soldiers and police searched for arms and made arrests in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, and in several dozen settlements; the Jewish Agency was raided. The total number of British security forces involved is variously reported as 10,000, 17,000, and 25,000. About 2,700 individuals were arrested, among them future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. The officially given purpose of the operation was to end "the state of anarchy" then existing in Palestine. Other objectives included obtaining documentary proof of Jewish Agency approval of sabotage operations by the Palmach and of an alliance between the Haganah and the more violent Lehi (Stern Gang) and Irgun, destroying the Haganah's military power, boosting army morale and preventing a coup d'état being mounted by the Lehi and Irgun.

Portsmouth F.C. (basketball)

Portsmouth F.C. Basketball Club are a British professional basketball team based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, that played in the top league of UK basketball from 1985-88. They won the league championship in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons and also reached four major cup finals, including those of all three main domestic knockout competitions in 1987-88.

Virtually all home games were played at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth, which had bleacher seating on either side plus a balcony around one end and one side. Part of the side balcony was reserved for directors and guests. Two matches in 1986-87 and two in 1984-85 were hosted by Havant Leisure Centre (eight miles away), one in 1984-85 by

Fleming Park Leisure Centre in Eastleigh (23 miles) and one in 1984-85 by Winchester Recreation Centre (30 miles).

Prostanthera incana

Prostanthera incana, commonly known as velvet mintbush, is a shrub that is native to south-eastern Australia. It has an erect habit, growing to between 1 and 2.5 metres high. The leaves are 9 to 18 mm long and 6 to 13 mm wide. The lilac flowers appear between August and December in the species native range.The species was formally described in 1834 based on specimens collected by Alan Cunningham. It occurs in New South Wales and Victoria.

Prostanthera nivea

Prostanthera nivea, commonly known as snowy mintbush, is a shrub that is native to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia. It grows to between 1 and 4 metres high and is found in sclerophyll forest, woodland and heath. Its flowers appear in spring in the leaf axils, tending to be clustered towards the ends of branches. They are about 14 to 18 mm long and white or mauve, with a yellow-spotted throat. The leaves are long and narrow, 10 to 50 mm long and 0.5 to 2 mm wide.The species was first formally described by botanist Alan Cunningham in 1834 in Labiatarum Genera et Species.Two varieties are recognised:

P. nivea var. induta Benth.

P. nivea A.Cunn. ex Benth. var. niveaIn Victoria, areas where the species occurs include the You Yangs, the ranges around Bacchus Marsh, and Mount Korong and Mount Hope.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.