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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Nelson, TR
NELSON, Sqn Ldr Thomas Robert (1915-1999)
1996-1997 Covers 1942-1997
Level of description
Collection (Fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
1 file (0.01 cubic metres)


Name of creator(s)
Nelson, Thomas Robert, 1915-1999, Squadron Leader
Administrative / Biographical history

Born Leeds 1915 (Thomas Robert Fidgett), adopted mother's maiden name, Nelson, by deed poll, 1936; joined RAF, 1937, spent four years as a flying instructor in Britain and Rhodesia, posted to Middle East, 1941, and joined 37 Squadron, flying Wellington bombers, June 1942. Completed 22 operational flights; crash landed in Western Desert, approximately 50 miles south of Sollum, 18 Sep 1942; subsequently captured by German forces and transferred to Stalag Luft III at Sagen, Silesia, Germany; assisted with construction of three escape tunnels and with escape of 76 allied airmen, Mar 1944; recaptured and held in Gestapo prison at Gorlitz; commercial pilot with KLM, 1946-1952; accident investigator, Air Accident Investigation Branch, 1952-1957 and International Civil Aviation Organisation, 1957-1975; died 1999.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Photocopies presented by family, July 2000

Content & structure

Scope and content

Photocopies of articles by Thomas Robert Nelson on wartime service in RAF, 1942-44; 'A Desert Landing' describing crash landing in the Western Desert, 18 Sep 1942, and subsequent capture by German forces and 'Tom, Dick and Harry of Stalag Luft III' describing the construction of three escape tunnels from Stalag Luft III at Sagan, Germany, and the escape of eighty allied airmen, Mar 1944 (later filmed as The Great Escape ). Both articles were originally published in the KLM Pilots Association Magazine , 1948. With copies of correspondence and presscuttings.

System of arrangement

Photocopies from scrapbook compiled by Mr Nelson, 1996-97

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 Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

Original scrapbook retained by family

Description control

Archivist's Note
Sources: papers and Times obituary. Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM 25 Project.
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
Aug 2000

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