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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Pownall
POWNALL, Lt Gen Sir Henry Royds (1887-1961)
Created 1933-1945
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
2 boxes or 0.02 cubic metres


Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1887; educated at Rugby School and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; served in Royal Field Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery in UK and India, 1906-1914; Lt, 1909; Capt, 1914; served in World War One, 1914-1918; acting Maj, 1916-1917; Bde Maj Royal Artillery, 17 Div, 1917-1919; Maj, 1917; awarded DSO, 1918; Bde Maj, School of Artillery, 1924-1925; General Staff Officer 2, Staff College, Camberley, 1926-1929; Brevet Lt Col, 1928; service on North West Frontier, India, 1930-1931; awarded Bar to DSO, 1931; Military Assistant Secretary, Committee of Imperial Defence, 1933-1935; Lt Col, 1935; Deputy Secretary, 1936; awarded CB, 1936; Brig, 1936; Commandant, School of Artillery, Larkhill, Wiltshire, 1936-1938; Maj Gen, 1938; Director of Military Operations and Intelligence, War Office, 1938-1939; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; Chief of General Staff, BEF (British Expeditionary Force), France, 1939-1940; created KBE, 1940; Inspector General of the Local Defence Volunteer Force (later the Home Guard), 1940; Commander-in-Chief, British Forces in Northern Ireland, 1940-1941; Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff, War Office, 1941; Commander-in-Chief Far East, 1941-1942; Lt Gen, 1942; Chief of Staff, ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian) Command, Far East, 1942; General Officer Commanding Ceylon, 1942-1943; Col Commandant Royal Artillery, 1942-1952; Commander-in-Chief Persia-Iraq, 1943; Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command, 1943-1944; retired 1945; created KCB, 1945; Chairman, Friary Meux Limited; Member of the Committee of Lloyds Bank; Chief Commissioner, St John Ambulance Bde, 1947-1949; military consultant to Rt Hon Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill on the History of the Second World War (Cassell, London, 1948-1954); Chancellor, Order of St John, 1951; died 1961.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to the Centre by the family in 1980.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Twelve detailed, narrative, manuscript diaries, Jan 1933-Aug 1936 and Jan 1938-Dec 1944 (with postscripts added in Jan and Sep 1945), including Pownall's time as Military Assistant Secretary, Committee of Imperial Defence, 1933-1935, Commandant, School of Artillery, Larkhill, Wiltshire, 1936-1938, Chief of General Staff, BEF (British Expeditionary Force), France, 1939-1940, Commander-in-Chief, British Forces in Northern Ireland, 1940-1941, and Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command, 1943-1944, with aerial photograph of Belfast, Aug 1940, and a group photograph of the officers of South East Asia Command [1945], typescript extracts from reports, letters and typescript extract from the diary of Maj Gen Edmund Archibald Osborne, on the campaign in France, 1940. Also, printed order of service in memory of FM John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, 10 Apr 1946, and related newspaper cuttings. The diaries were published as Chief of Staff. The diaries of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Pownall, edited by Brian James Bond (Leo Cooper, London, 1972).

System of arrangement

12 volumes

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
Finding aids

This Summary Guide

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives
Related units of description

The papers of Gen Hastings Lionel Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay of Wormington, contain official correspondence with Pownall, 1944-1945 (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Ismay). The papers of Lt Gen Noel Mackintosh Stuart Irwin, held by the Imperial War Museum, London, include a note on discussions with Pownall concerning training, administration, disease and strategy, 1943 (Ref: P139). The papers of FM Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, in the Public Record Office, London, include demi-official correspondence with Pownall, Mar-Aug 1943 (Ref: WO 216/131). Copies of Pownall's diaries are in Churchill College, Cambridge University.

Publication note

Chief of Staff. The diaries of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Pownall, edited by Brian James Bond (Leo Cooper, London, 1972).



Decorations: KCB, KBE, DSO, MC

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.

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  • Aerial photographs
  • Armed forces
  • Diaries
  • Documents
  • Information sources
  • Information sources
  • International conflicts
  • International relations
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Military engineering
  • Military operations
  • Military organizations
  • Nonfiction
  • Organizations
  • Photographs
  • Primary documents
  • Prose
  • State security
  • Visual materials
  • War
  • Warfare
  • Wars (events)
  • World War Two (1939-1945)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Bond, Brian James, b 1936, historian
  • Osborne, Edmund Archibald, 1885-1969, Lieutenant General
  • Pownall, Sir, Henry Royds, 1887-1961, Knight, Lieutenant General
  • Vereker, John Standish Surtees Prendergast, 1886-1946, 6th Viscount Gort, Field Marshal

Corporate names

  • British Army


  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Larkhill, Wiltshire, England
  • London, England
  • South East Asia

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