The iconic Kitchener recruitment poster.The previous nine blogs have presented the reasons why the men of secret power wanted rid of Herbert Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War from 1914-1916 … but were unable to manoeuvre him from office. He had threatened the smooth running of Trans-Atlantic finance, had interfered with, and apparently delayed, the enormous growth in armaments and munitions, and did not agree that the war would be won by the nation which fired most shells across the barren pot-holes of the Western Front. His phenomenal contribution to voluntary recruitment could not go on forever. Its initial success in the early months of the war was unsustainable. Conscription had to be introduced in March 1916 when the Military Service Act came into force [1] just as the parliamentarians had wanted, and Kitchener did not trust politicians. He was justified in his mistrust of gossiping Cabinet colleagues. Prime Minister Asquith, for example, shared secret confidential information with his paramour [2] Venetia Stanley on a daily basis. [3] He famously stated that he would give Cabinet ministers all they information they sought ‘if they would only divorce their wives.’ [4] In this, as in many of his other beliefs, Kitchener was absolutely right. London society was a hotbed of unbridled war-gossip especially in the first two years of the conflict.

What Kitchener failed to understand was that neither he, nor the British Cabinet, called the tune. The elite Bankers and financiers, the owners of the military-industrial complex, the manipulators of power and influence, the newspaper moguls and the academic guardians of historical record, the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic had ordained the war to crush Germany and amass even greater fortunes in the process. The Secret Elite whom we have identified by name in Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, [5] and further expanded in previous blogs, [6] held this as their sole objective.

The famous cartoon of the merchants of death adequately includes the Secret Elite

An early end to the war was not to be contemplated. Nor was the notion of a just and fair peace about which Kitchener had been talking. What use was a compromise which would have allowed German commerce and industry to remain intact with all of the advantages through which modern business practice thrived? It was inconceivable that they would allow the war to end before the American government joined the conflict. The United States had to be drawn into the war in order to offload the enormous private loans and debts accrued by the Morgan/Rothschild/Rockefeller empires through their monopolies on arms, munitions and international loans. Had Kitchener influenced a move for peace in 1916, the burden of debt would not have been shouldered by US taxpayers, and likewise, British and French tax-payers, but by the financial institutions. An honourable peace would have left Germany strong and independent. Germany had to be made to pay for a war they had never wanted. Lord Kitchener’s threatened intervention imperilled every aspect of the Secret Elite’s aim.

He knew he had enemies, clearly.

Though he himself was a very loyal servant to King and Country, Herbert Kitchener had to struggle against professional jealousy and disloyalty from his senior staff. Sir Henry Wilson, the Principal Liaison Officer between the allied forces in France, was a regular correspondent with Lord Alfred Milner, the acknowledged leader of the Secret Elite, and acted as a high level informant behind the backs of Kitchener and Asquith. The Prime Minister wrote that both he and Kitchener considered Wilson a constantly intriguing serpent [7] so there was little love lost on either side.

Charles Repington, the infamous Times correspondent

The Secretary of State’s enemies amongst the press included editors of the Morning Post and the National Review, but his loudest critic was Lord Northcliffe at The Times and The Mail. Ever close to the Secret Elite, The Times, through their privileged correspondent Charles Repington, had tried to bring Kitchener into public disrepute by fanning the flames of the so-called munitions crisis in 1915. [8] Far from weakening Lord Kitchener, their accusations against him damaged their reputation and underlined the strength of public support he continued to enjoy. [9] Thus Horatio Kitchener was a man with many enemies, not in the trenches, the workplace or the ordinary home, but inside the core of the Establishment. That he understood. What he could not grasp was the grand plan which had been constructed above the realm of public politics.

Asquith was obliged to shake-up his Cabinet in May 1915 and the net impact of the reorganisation was to bring more members of the Secret Elite into public office. Professor Carroll Quigley [10] identified eleven members of Asquith’s ‘coalition’ Cabinet as members of this cabal including Lords Lansdowne and Curzon, Andrew Bonar Law, the Conservative Party leader, Sir Edward Carson, F.E. Smith, Walter Long, the Earl of Selborne, Robert Cecil and most importantly, Arthur J. Balfour, former Prime Minister, as First Lord of the Admiralty. The man whom they dearly wanted removed, Lord Kitchener, stood firm. Though in private they all wanted rid of him, in public he could not be criticised.

Kitchener was popular at the front wherever he went.

For as long as they could find reason to tolerate him, especially once his powers over munitions had been shifted wholesale into Lloyd Geoge’s court, Kitchener remained an asset both as the international figure-head for the British military and as a buffer between the Prime Minister and his detractors. However, once he began to speak privately about his role as a peace-maker at the end of the war, and share his ideals with leading figures in both the military and the government, [11] Kitchener’s days were numbered. The asset had become a liability. But how could they get rid of him? You might construct a long list of possibilities – ‘heart-attack’, ‘suicide’, a full range of ‘natural causes’ might have been actioned. Any public suggestion of his alleged homosexuality would certainly have ruined him but what possible good would have come from trashing the name and reputation of the hero of the Empire? None. Though the military and political agents of the Secret Elite schemed behind his back, it was in the interests of all to protect Kitchener’s public reputation. He had to be removed with a subtlety which brooked no backlash. What were the odds against Herbert Kitchener dying in a naval tragedy, lost at sea? No-one could have anticipated such a scenario or possibly suspect unlawful practice. Surely?

Before anyone rushes to close the account with the dismissive and entirely unfair claim that this is simply another conspiracy, re-read the volume of evidence, actual and circumstantial, which we have already presented. [12]

We have clearly established that there was no immediate need for Herbert Kitchener to visit Russia. Knowing that the Somme offensive would begin in July, he threatened to pull out of the venture as late as 2 June 1916 rather than have it postponed. [13] The central Secret Elite place-man at the Czar’s court in Petrograd (St Petersburg) was Sir John Hanbury-Williams, a close friend and associate of Alfred Milner. [14] Williams’s position as Chief of the British Military Mission to Russia from 1914-1917 was consolidated by ancestral diplomatic connections with the Empress Catherine the Great, which granted him a special place in the Czar’s more intimate circles. [15]

Sir John Hanbury-Williams (left) Head of the British military Mission in Russia.

The Secret Elite network spun a spider’s web of influence across the globe. Hanbury-Williams had conjured the Grand Duke’s supposed appeal to the British to attack the Dardanelles [16] in 1915, and it was he who co-ordinated Kitchener’s visit to Russia in 1916. His diary shows that the Czar ‘talked over the proposed visit of Lord Kitchener with the greatest keenest and interest’ before Hanbury-Williams organised the details with the British Ambassador and the military attache, Sir Alfred Knox. [17] The plan to send Kitchener to Russia emanated from Britain, not Russia. Indeed Hanbury-Williams’s published record omitted detailed reference to the background preparations for what was transformed into ‘Kitchener’s’ visit. Allegedly, when Lord Kitchener insisted that any postponement of his visit would result in its cancellation, Hanbury-Williams took immediate steps to stress Czar Nicholas’s personal wish that the visit go ahead. [18] The plans devised by Hanbury-Williams were transposed into the Czar’s wishes. So ran the web of deceit.

Everyone personally connected with the Secret Elite whose name had been associated with the ‘mission’ to Russian withdrew. To add to this co-incidence, their reaction to the news of Kitchener’s death on HMS Hampshire was in its own right, suspicious. Lloyd George claimed that he heard the ‘startling’ news on his way to a War Council in Downing Street on 6 June. When he entered the Cabinet Room he described ‘the Prime Minister, Sir Edward Grey, Mr Balfour and Sir Maurice Hankey sitting at a table all looking stunned’. This was indeed an inner circle of powerful men who understood what had happened, yet they were unable to talk about the consequences? Remarkably, given the enormity of what had just taken place, ‘Sir Maurice and I quite forgot for the moment that had it not been for the Irish negotiations, we would have shared the same fate.’ [19] That is untrue. From the outset Hankey said he would not go, and Lloyd George’s refusal had nothing to do with Ireland. [20] How many people would have reacted with such sang-froid? He and Hankey ‘quite forgot’ that they should have been on that same ill fated ship? [21] It defied human nature.

Lloyd George in 1915. A man favoured by the Secret Elite.

Indeed, without breaking step or pausing for a moment to contemplate the many contributions of the now deceased Secretary of State for War, Lloyd George knew that ‘the passing of Lord Kitchener left an empty place at the War Office. I realised that this place might be offered to me.’ [22] This man of many plots, of endless carping behind the backs of others, who briefed the press, especially Northcliffe, against Kitchener, displayed an almost callous cynicism. Lloyd George did indeed accept that office on 4 July, but not before ensuring that all the powers that had been systematically stripped from Kitchener were reinvested in the new Secretary of State for War.

On hearing of Kitchener’s death, Northcliffe is reported to have burst into his sister’s drawing room declaring, ‘Providence is on the side of the British Empire’ [23] Fawning tributes dripped from the mouths of the guilty. Admiral Jellicoe solemnly declared that the navy’s grief for ‘a soldier’ whose loss ‘we deplore so deeply. It was our privilege to see him last; he died with many of our comrades’. [24] No mention was made of Admiralty culpability or unswept channels.

Look again at the depth of that culpability. HMS Hampshire was barely fit for service and its loss added little to the Navy’s post-Jutland woes. Jellicoe and his masters at the Admiralty approved the ship’s route into a known minefield. Naval intelligence at Room 40 had carefully monitored all U-Boat activity. References to the minefield and the sinking of the trawler, Laurel Rose were removed or altered to suit the cover-up ‘explanation’ when difficult questions were raised about the fate of the Hampshire. The official report was kept secret. Key documents have still never seen the light of day.

Kitchener's death was followed by a plethora of false praise from duplicitous men.

Kitchener’s murder was covered with dripping platitudes and cynically penned obituaries. In the House of Lords, Lansdowne proclaimed that Kitchener’s death ‘was a great and dignified exit from the stage upon which he had played so prominent a part during the long years of his life.’ [25] The two-faced Asquith lamented ‘his career has been cut short while still in the full tide of unexhausted powers and possibilities.’ [26] The Secret Elite’s John Buchan ordained that ‘in a sense his work was finished’ and ‘his death was a fitting conclusion to the drama of his life.’ [27] ‘Bollocks’ may not be a recognised historical assessment, but ‘bollocks’ it remains. They peddled lies as fraudsters do.

The full panoply of State and Church gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral on 13 June to hold a service of remembrance for Lord Kitchener and his staff. The King and Queen accompanied by Queen Alexandra, the Lord Mayor in his black and gold robes, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and assorted Aldermen and Sheriffs all gathered to pay their final respects to the former Secretary of State for War and champion of the Empire. They sang ‘Abide with me’, recited the ‘De Profundis’, read from the liturgy, said Prayers for the Country at War and thanked God for a brave and courageous life. The service ended with all three verses of God Save the King. [28] Thus with a great sense of theatre, Kitchener’s memory was consigned to the annals of received history. How quintessentially British.

No-one has ever been held to account for the murder of Lord Herbert Horatio Kitchener and over 700 other men.

[1] Conscription: the First World War – UK Parliament…/conscription/
[2] Asquith’s complex relationship with the much younger Venetia Stanley has intrigued commentators over the century. Whether or not they were lovers remains unproven.
[3] Michael Brock and Eleanor Brock, H.H. Asquith, Letters to Venetia Stanley, Oxford University Press, 1982.
[4] Viscount Hankey, The Supreme Command, Vol. 1, p. 221.
[5] Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, Mainstream, 2013 pp. 12-16 onwards, Appendix 1, p. 362 and Appendix 2, pp. 363-9.
[6] Secret Elite, Blogs 1-3, posted June 15-17, 2014.
[7] Brock and Brock, H.H. Asquith, Letters, p. 342, (Asquith to Venetia Stanley 28 Dec 1914.)
[8] see blog; Munitions 6: Crisis, What Crisis? posted 8 July 2015.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Professor Carroll Quigley, author of The Anglo-American Establishment, initially identified and named the secret cabal who controlled British foreign policy from the early years of the twentieth century.
[11] Randolph Churchill, Lord Derby, King of Lancashire, pp. 209-10.
[12] previous blogs posted from 4 May, 2016 – 29 June 2016.
[13] George Arthur, Life of Lord Kitchener, Volume 3, pp. 350-1.
[14] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p. 56.
[15] John Hanbury-Williams, The Emperor Nicholas II, as I knew him, p. 1.
[16] See blog, Gallipoli 9, posted 20 March 2015.
[17] Hanbury-Williams, The Emperor Nicholas II, p. 94.
[18] Ibid., pp. 98-9.
[19] David Lloyd George, War Memoirs, vol.1, p. 456.
[20] Stephen Roskill, Hankey, Vol. I, p. 269.
[21] Hankey Diary 6 June 1916, quoted in Roskill, Hankey Vol 1, pp. 279-80.
[22] Lloyd George, War Memoirs, p. 456.
[23] J Lee Thomson, Politicians, the Press and Propaganda, Lord Northcliffe & The Great War, 1914-1919, p. 101.
[24] The Times, 14 June 1914.
[25] Lord Lansdowne , Hansard, House of Lords Debate, 20 June 1916 vol 22 cc315-22.
[26] House of Commons Debate, 21 June 1916 vol 83 cc145-51.
[27] John Buchan, Episodes of the Great War, pp. 246-7.
[28] The Times 14 June 1914.