John Henry Patterson

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Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson (1867-1947) was an Irish Protestant Zionist.

Patterson was born in Forgney (where the 18th-century writer Oliver Goldsmith spent some of his youth). His parentage is somewhat mysterious. Some authors suggest that he was actually the illegitimate son of a member of the King-Harman family of landlords and that his mother may have been a Catholic servant.

Patterson joined the British Army at the age of seventeen, rose through the ranks (he was promoted to sergeant after seven years in the army), and eventually attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Essex Yeomanry, retiring from the military in 1920 after thirty-five years of service.

Patterson served in South Africa, India and East Africa (where he was involved in the building of the Uganda railway). He fought in the Boer War and World War I.

Although he was himself a Protestant, he became a major figure in Zionism history, as the commander of both the Zion Mule Corps and the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (part of the so-called Jewish Legion) in World War I.

After leaving the army, Patterson continued his support of Zionism. He was an active member of the Bergson Group, founded by Hillel Kook, and a promoter of a Jewish army to fight the Nazis. He was a member of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe. During WWII, while he was in United States, the British government cut off his pension, arguing they had no way to securely transmit his funds to him. He died in California.

Patterson was close friends with many leading members of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement, among them Vladimir Jabotinsky and Benzion Netanyahu (father of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu). It has also been claimed (page xiii of this biography) that Benzion Netanyahu's older son, Yonatan Netanyahu, was named after Patterson.

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Yonatan Netanyahu   • Redcliffe N. Salaman   • Alan Patterson   • Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe   • X MacDermot

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