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Structure of data of the Mountbatten Papers Database

Lord and Lady Mountbatten
Lord and Lady Mountbatten

The database is divided into several sections.

The first section of the Mountbatten Papers Database is a glossary of acronyms and abbreviations used in the catalogue descriptions in this database. To facilitate information retrieval, the catalogue descriptions use common abbreviations rather than the expanded version, for example SACSEA for Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia. Searches can be conducted for acronyms in the database as for any word.

Section two is a summary catalogue of the archive, expanding upon the papers found in the printed summary catalogue of the papers of Lord Mountbatten. The summary catalogue in the Database includes brief descriptions of the papers of the late Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, together with family papers, a series of photograph albums and photographs and from the Broadlands estate and family papers, BR70-99, political correspondence of William Wilfrid Ashley, Baron Mount Temple.

There then follows detailed descriptions of material from MB1/C and MB1/D relating to Earl Mountbatten of Burma as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia and as the last Viceroy and first Governor General of India respectively. This is complemented by descriptions of sequences of the photograph albums. These descriptions have been sub-divided into a number of chapters for ease of access as follows:

Format of a catalogue record

Within sections, each detailed catalogue description record, effectively a description of an individual document or section of the collection, contains data arranged into a number of sections. There are other slight differences in the sections used in the catalogue descriptions for the correspondence and the photographs. The nature of all the sections is as follows:

TITLE: This contains the reference number of the manuscript followed by a brief note of what the document is and a date.

A typical title section would look like this:

#Docref=MB1/C3/1 Typescript copy of a letter from Admiral of the Fleet A.B.Cunningham to the Secretary of the Admiralty regarding the status of constructor officers, 31 August 1943

CONTENTS: This section contains a calendar or transcript of the contents of the document. The complete document may be transcribed if, for example, if it is of very great importance; if it is already published; or any part is written in pencil. In transcribing documents or extracts from them, the following conventions are employed:

All transcripts are labelled:




* * surround passages deleted in the original


[* *] surround deletions within deletions


\ / surround passages inserted in the original

A typical section looks like this:

Typescript copy of a letter from Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Browne Cunningham, first Bt, KT, GCB, DSO, CINC Allied Naval Forces Mediterranean, Office of the CINC, Mediterranean Station, HQ Allied Forces, Algiers, to [Sir Henry Vaughan Markham, KCB, MC], Secretary of the Admiralty: the body of naval constructors needs to be reorganised to accommodate the "sailor's" point of view in the design, running, damage control and maintenance of the navy's ships and crafts. At present some constructor officers above the rank of constructor lieutenant serve on the staffs of flag officers. This arrangement does not give them enough sea and warfare experience or an understanding of amphibious warfare. To overcome this, the constructor branch should become an integral part of the navy. Its officers should serve specific periods at sea throughout their careers. This would lead to a better mutual understanding between constructors and other naval officers.


The current "naval-cum-civil" role of the constructors is out of date, and not in the best interests of the service. The matter should be dealt with immediately to benefit fully from war experience.


31 Aug 1943 #Adate=31/08/1943




CINC Home Fleet

FILE REFERENCES: This is the reference of the original sequence into which certain series of papers were arranged. This reference enables papers created by the same source and within specific context to be brought together. Examples are #Oref=2879/Med/637/2/1 or #Oref=135/CF/47. Reference SC refers to South East Asia Command and that SC/3 is of papers for 1943.

GLOSSARY: contains the acronyms and abbreviations used in the document. This includes the level of circulation for the document, which was dictated by its security briefing.

EVENT: This section contains the details of the main event portrayed in photographs. An example is:

Black and white photograph of Lady Louis Mountbatten on her wedding day. She is wearing a straight dress, tied at the hips, in the fashion of the time, with veil and train. She is looking at the madonna lilies of her bouquet. For this formal photograph she is standing in front of a wall which is either painted or covered by a large painting of classical columns and landscape.

DATE: contains the date of a photograph. For instance:

18 Jul 1922 #Adate=18/07/1922

PLACE: describes the place at which the photograph was taken:

Brook House, Park Lane, London

PAO: This section contains details of people, animals or objects portrayed in the photographs. It serves a similar purpose to and replaces the Indexterms section described below in catalogue descriptions of photographs. Examples of entries would be:

Mary Ashley, later Mary Cholmondeley, Baroness Delamere; bench; garden; architecture; swans

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A description of the physical make-up of the document is given. For photographs this includes measurements in milimetres of heigh x width, with a note of its finish or texture (glossy, matt) and, where not a modern Kodak process, the printing process used. Examples are:

One paper




88mm x 63mm; gloss

PHOTOGRAPHER: notes the name of the person who took the photograph, if known. For example:

Probably Prince Louis Francis of Battenberg, later Earl Mountbatten of Burma

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES: a note is made of any published version of the document or printed work referring specifically to it. Titles of printed works are entered entirely in upper case letters.

Published in THE SKETCH, 26 July 1922; THE TATLER, 26 July 1922

INDEXTERMS: this section contains additional descriptors, each associated with the date keyed fields, to provide entries to cover concepts not defined in the contents section, occurring there with a limited date range, or expressed in a foreign language. The section is also used to express precisely names, titles, offices, etc. The terms do not form an index in the conventional sense, but are used to express concepts that would not otherwise be retrieved by free-text searching. It serves a similar purpose to the PAO section described above and is used for catalogue descriptions of correspondence and papers and not in those of photographs. Entries have the following form:

CINC Home Fleet #Adate=31/08/1943


Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, CINC India #Adate=14/06/1947


Sir George Edmund Brackenbury Abell, KCIE, OBE, Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India #Adate=14/06/1947


Punjab, India, later East Punjab, India, West Punjab, West Pakistan #Adate=14/06/1947

SORTING CODE(S): This section contains codes, entered as two keyed fields (#Sref and #Tref), which can be used for drawing together coherent groups of otherwise scattered papers, such as RN which relates to Mountbatten's royal naval career, for sorting them into date order or for restricting searches. The current range of codes is listed separately. The sorting code is followed by the suffixes COR, P or PHOT, for correspondence or papers or photographs, and by the date in reversed form, yyyymmdd. In the case of correspondence a note is made of whether this was sent TO or FROM Mountbatten. Entries for this section would be:



#Sref=RNPHOT19140603 #Tref=RNPHOT19140617

AVAILABILITY: the word "available" is entered in this section if the document is available for research, or "unavailable" if that is the case.

SPECIAL CHARACTERS: This section contains a note of all characters which it has not proved possible to input ordinarily into the database. This includes accents and diacritics. The convention is that the accent or diacritic precedes the character it inflects:

/etranger; Mu~noz

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