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.

(Before you accuse me why I haven't performed any research myself, please read the following post on the Meta.)

  • 2
    Why not? Everyone understands that possession of a title does not convey possession of the land. Even in the days when it did, the title merely conveyed the sovreign's right to that land. George could only convey his rights to Megiddo or Vimy; those rights were null, so the title conveyed null rights. As a thought example, I hereby grant you all of my personal rights to Gillian Anderson's time and attention.
    – MCW
    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:21
  • 6
    @MarkCWallace Ok, but this is nothing special, I do already have such rights
    – Voitcus
    Aug 21, 2015 at 13:35
  • Honorable names like this are given to military commanders for their victories, and it does not matter who possesses the place.
    – Alex
    Aug 21, 2015 at 23:09
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    Not that it is relevant but, after Allenby's victories over the Turks, Palestine and what is now the land of Israel, together with vast swathes of the Middle East (such as Iraq, Jordan etc) did become British. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles former territories of Germany and her allies became mandated by the League of Nations to countries such as Britain and France to administer on its behalf. That is what placed Britainin the invidious position of having to allow the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Palestine was a British territory.
    – WS2
    Aug 23, 2015 at 18:33
  • 1
    @WS2 Actually, I think it is very relevant.
    – CGCampbell
    Dec 8, 2015 at 20:52

3 Answers 3


By the time of George V, it was a long standing practice to name military honours after the place/event for which they were awarded. These honours conveyed no title to land and so there was no requirement for that land to be held by the British Crown. In the case of Naval awards, the location need not be on land. E.g. Baron Nelson of the Nile (who would probably have become Earl Nelson of Trafalgar had he lived).

Where a military honour was awarded was made for general meritorious service, rather than a particular battle, the honour was often named after a British location (often the place of birth or residence of the person receiving the award). E.g. Edward Pellew became Baron Exmouth.

  • And for a more recent example, see Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
    – Patrick N
    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:49
  • @PatrickN I also noticed Montgomery, but didn't put to the question, because Alamain was in Egypt, a part of the British Empire
    – Voitcus
    Aug 21, 2015 at 13:38
  • Then take as example Earl Alexander of Tunis
    – mmmmmm
    Jan 30, 2021 at 2:37

English noble titles, even when related to a geography, did not have the same connotation of domination over a geographical area that continental titles did. Thus, in 1450, the Duke of Norfolk had castles in Norfolk, but also in Wales and in the north of England. He was expected to respond to his sovereign's call and go wherever he was needed. He was not responsible for the administration of the shire of Norfolk; it was more important that he be able to project power into Wales or to the Scottish border.

For military men, the title is meant to commemorate the location of an achievement, rather than to indicate possession.

  • Indeed. And the historical seat of the Duke of Norfolk is Arundel, in Surrey (Earl of Arundel being another title born by the Duke). Feb 25, 2016 at 20:45
  • Even odder are the Earls and Dukes of Devonshire, who would have preferred to have been Earls and Dukes of Derbyshire, but settled for the alternative which at least had the right number of letters and an initial D
    – Henry
    Jul 21, 2017 at 11:17

These generals were given these titles because they performed a great victory there (in the eyes of the king).

  • 3
    This doesn't answer the question.
    – MCW
    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:18

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