King's College London
Archive Catalogues

LIDDELL HART, Capt Sir Basil Henry (1895-1970)

Wilmot introduction

Reference code: GB99 KCLMA Liddell Hart
Title: WILMOT, Reginald William Winchester ('Chester') Wilmot (1911-1954)
Dates of creation of material: 1942-1957
Level of description: file
Extent:0.28 m3 or 27 boxes

Related pages:

 

BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

Born in 1911; educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Australia; war correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Commission with Australian Imperial Forces in the Middle East, 1940-1942, and New Guinea, 1942; lost accreditation as war correspondent after becoming involved in a dispute between Gen Sir Thomas Albert Blamey, Commander-in Chief, Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area and Lt Gen Sir Sidney Fairburn Rowell, General Officer Commanding, New Guinea Force; front-line correspondent for the BBC, North West Europe, 1944-1945; BBC special correspondent at the Nuremburg war crimes trials, 1945-1946; freelance broadcaster and journalist, 1946-1954, notably including work as foreign correspondent and commentator for BBC radio and television; commissioned to write volume on siege of Tobruk and Battle of Alamein for Australian Official History of World War Two; appointed military correspondent for The Observer, 1952; died in air crash in Italy, 1954.

Publications:

  • Tobruk, 1941: capture, siege, relief (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia, 1944);
  • The struggle for Europe (Collins, London, 1952)

PROVENANCE

The collection was given to Liddell Hart during the latter stages of their years of correspondence, 1946-1953, and was incorporated into Liddell Hart's reference material. The Liddell Hart collection was purchased by King's College London in 1973.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The papers mainly relate to Wilmot's career as a war correspondent for the BBC covering the Allied campaign in North West Europe, 1944-1945, and the trials of the major German war criminals in Nuremburg, 1945-1946. They are supplemented by his post war research which together formed the basis for the writing of The struggle for Europe (Collins, London, 1952). The extent of Wilmot's research is reflected in the collection which includes extracts and notes from and translations of primary and secondary sources, notebooks, published campaign histories, contemporary interview notes, journal articles and correspondence. Wilmot was able to gain privileged access to many original sources through contacts with senior Allied military and political figures including FM Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, US Gen Dwight David Eisenhower and Gen Sir Hastings Lionel Ismay. Wilmot also conducted interviews with various German generals between 1945 and 1946, including Franz Halder, Günther von Blumentritt and Fritz Bayerlein, and had access to interrogation reports of German war criminals, conducted by Canadian Military Headquarters (LH15/15/146-148). The collection also contains papers on the German plot to assassinate Hitler, Jul 1944. Of particular note are Wilmot's contemporary reports as he landed in France in a glider with 6 Airborne Div on the night of 5-6 Jun 1944 in the vanguard of the Normandy landings, and related narratives of the operation (LH15/15/34 and LH15/15/62). 

ARRANGEMENT

The papers of Wilmot constitute section 15/15 of the papers of Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart. The original order was retained by Liddell Hart and subsequently when the whole of the Liddell Hart archive was originally catalogued by Stephen Brooks between 1973 and 1975. This arrangement has been retained in the present catalogue, Jan 1998. 

CONDITIONS OF ACCESS AND USE

Access

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

Copyright

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 Director of Archive Services.

Language

English and some German.

RELATED MATERIAL

Related units of description

General correspondence with Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart, 1946-1953 (Ref: LH 1/753). Section 9/24 of the papers of Sir Basil Liddell Hart include additional material on Liddell Hart's and Wilmot's interviews with German generals.

Associated material

National Library of Australia, Canberra: family papers, 1877-1990, notably including Wilmot's notebooks and diaries, 1938-1953; papers relating to his work as a war correspondent in Australia and New Guinea, 1942, and Europe, 1944-1946; research papers relating to Tobruk, 1941: capture, siege, relief (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia, 1944), 1941, and a limited number relating to The Struggle for Europe (Collins, London, 1952), 1952; scripts and research material for his BBC radio and television broadcasts. Catalogue can be found at National Library of Australia

Australian War Memorial, Canberra: papers relating to Wilmot's work on the official history of Australian involvement in World War Two.

Publication note

War report: a record of dispatches broadcast by the BBC's war correspondents with the Allied Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944-5 May 1945 edited by Desmond Hawkins and Donald Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1946).


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