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The University of Southampton
Special Collections

Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1793-1975

About the Survey

The Special Collections Division of the University of Southampton Library and the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London have undertaken a comprehensive survey of the nature and location of private papers bearing on the military and naval affairs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The aim of the survey has been to bring together, on linked computerised databases in London and Southampton, information about papers held both publicly and privately to support the work of anyone interested in the field of military history and the implications of war and defence policy on the civil population.

The scope of the survey is unprecedented in the military field and includes entries for all British defence personnel who achieved the ranks above and including Major General, Air Vice Marshal and Rear Admiral as well as their opposite numbers in the civil service between the years 1793 and 1975. The entries give significant career details and a description and location for any papers which have been located, including a note of the existence of photocopies or microfilm held by repositories open to the public. Entries also indicate where no papers have been kept, where they have been destroyed and, if appropriate, where no information has been obtained.

The survey database at Southampton will contain records for all those individuals who achieved general officer rank between 1793 and 1899. This work started in 1991 as a complement to the University Library's holdings of military papers. Between 4,000 and 5,000 individuals will be included in the finished survey. The twentieth-century part of the project has been carried out at King's College. It has drawn upon an existing register to the twentieth century which has been compiled in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives over a number of years. Work at both Southampton and King's College has been supplemented by the survey of relevant holdings of record offices, museums and libraries, and by correspondence and contact with private individuals. The National Register of Archives and all available published guides have also been consulted.

Although now made available, the survey remains very much a work in progress and will continue to be added to as further information becomes available. Material will also be gradually added to the King's database for officers post 1975.

Staff at both Southampton and the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives will welcome corrections and updates to information.

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