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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Kirke
Title
KIRKE, Gen Sir Walter Mervyn St. George (1877-1949)
Date(s)
1921-1949
Level of description
Collection (Fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
4 boxes (0.04 cubic metres)

Context

Name of creator(s)
Kirke, Sir, Walter Mervyn St George, Knight, General
Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1877; educated at Haileybury and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; commissioned into the Royal Regt Artillery, 1896; served in Waziristan Campaign, 1901-1902 (medal and clasp); Capt 1901; Commandant Bhamo Bn Burma Military Police; commanded Wellaung, Punitive Expedition in South China Hills, 1905-1906; Graduate of Staff College; General Staff Officer, Grade 3, at War Office, 1912; Grade 2 on mobilisation, 1914; Brevet Maj, 1914; Maj, 1914; served World War One, 1914-1918 (despatches six times, Brevet Lt Col 1915; Brevet Col 1917); Deputy Director Military Operations, 1918-1922; Col on the Staff, General Staff Aldershot, 1922-1924; Maj Gen. 1924; head of British Naval, Military and Air Force Mission to Finland, 1924-1925; President Inter-Allied Commission of Investigation for Hungary; Deputy Chief of the General Staff in India, 1926-1929; Commander 5 Div and Catterick Area, 1929-1931; Lt Gen. 1931; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command, 1933-1936; Gen 1936; Col Commandant, Royal Artillery, 1934-1946; Hon Col 70 Anti-Aircraft Regt (now 470th Heavy Anti Aircraft Regt TA) 1934-1939; and 2/5 The Queen's Royal Regiment, 1939; Director General of Territorial Army, 1936-1939; Inspector General of Home Defences, 1939; Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces, 1939-1940; Aide-de-Camp General to the King, 1937-1940; retired pay, 1940; President of Witley and District Branch of British Legion and Royal Artillery Association, Surrey; Vice-President of Royal United Service Institution and Old Contemptibles, Godalming, Surrey; died 1949.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Placed in the centre by the family in seven accessions between 1982 and 1992

Content & structure

Scope and content

This collection consists of papers relating to Gen Sir Walter Mervyn St. George Kirke's military career after World War One as Deputy Director of Military Operations, as Colonel on the Staff, General Staff Aldershot, Director-General of the Territorial Army and as Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces and his work during and after World War Two as a public speaker and broadcaster. The collection includes papers relating to the debate over the role of the recently created RAF (1921), officer training at Aldershot (1922-1924), Kirke's leadership of the British Military Mission to Finland (1924-1925) and the work of the committee set up to study the lessons of World War One (1932). The majority the papers in the collection relating to Kirke's service as Director General of the Territorial Army are texts of Kirke's speeches, which are mostly concerned with promoting recruitment (1936-1939). There are also texts of Kirke's morale boosting radio broadcasts during World War Two on the progress of the war and also his speeches at public events particularly those connected with the National Savings Movement. The collection also includes personal correspondence, press cuttings, photographs and autobiographical notes made by Kirke.

System of arrangement

Arranged in sections as described above.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the College Archivist.

Language/scripts of material
English
Finding aids

Detailed catalogue available online and also in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

The original version of Kirke's autobiographical notes, an edited version of which was reproduced in Army Quarterly and Defence Journal of Oct 85 Jan 86 and Apr 86 is located at the Imperial War Museum, London, (Ref 84/14/1)

Existence and location of copies

A copy of Kirke's autobiographical notes, an edited version of which was reproduced in Army Quarterly and Defence Journal of Oct 85 Jan 86 and Apr 86 is located at the British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections (Ref MSS Eur E 396).

Related units of description

LIDDELL HART CENTRE FOR MILITARY ARCHIVES, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Sections 10 and 11 of the papers of Capt Sir Basil LIDDELL HART contain papers relating to Kirke; 'Real lessons of the war', article by LIDDELL HART in The Daily Telegraph , concerning the Kirke Commitee report (Ref. LH 10/1932/111 1932 Jul 8); Note by LIDDELL HART on discussion with Maj Gen Sir John Brown, Deputy Director General of the Territorial Army, about army reform, and Kirke, Director General of the Territorial Army (LH 11/1938/20 1938 Feb 5); Note by LIDDELL HART on comments by William Richard Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, and Kirke, Inspector General of Home Forces, on the army and its role, especially the lack of preparedness for war, and the danger of Kirke's views on the efficacy of total war (Ref. LH 11/1939/65 1939 Jul 14); 'An outline of the Rumanian campaign, 1916-1918', by Maj Gen Walter Mervyn St George Kirke [ Royal United Service Institution Journal , between 1924-1931] (Ref. LH 15/2/83 1924-1969); Correspondence and press reviews of The ghost of Napoleon by LIDDELL HART including correspondence with Kirke (Ref. LH 9/12/8 1933-1935)

Publication note

Mannerheim mellan världskrigen [a biography of Mannerheim] by Prof Stig Axel Fridolf Jägerskiöld (Schildt, Helsinki, 1972)

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions
Apr 1998

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Subjects

  • International conflicts
  • War
  • Wars (events)
  • World War One (1914-1918)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Kirke, Sir, Walter Mervyn St George, Knight, General
  • Kirke, Sir, Walter Mervyn St George, Knight, General

Corporate names

  • British Army
  • RAF, Royal Air Force

Places

  • Finland, Northern Europe

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