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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Thompson
THOMPSON, Reginald William (1904-1977)
Created 1938-1976
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
4 boxes or 0.04 cubic metres


Administrative / Biographical history

Born in 1904; educated at Merchant Taylors' School; worked as a Lloyds marine broker from 1921-1925; began to write professionally while travelling in Argentina and Australia; worked as an author and feature writer on UK depressed areas, 1930-1939; worked as a special correspondent with The Morning Post for which he covered the Gran Chaco War, 1935-1936; on the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the fire brigade and enlisted in the ranks in 1940; promoted to Capt in 1941, transferred to the Intelligence Corps for training; 1944 worked as a censor and a report writer on the mental and physical health of the 'D' Day forces; later in 1944 was released from the Army to work as war correspondent for The Sunday Times in Western Europe; travelled extensively in post war Europe and attended the Nuremberg trials; employed as a war correspondent for The Daily Telegraph during the Korean War; in 1951 settled in Suffolk to write full time on military subjects; his writing was highly regarded by his close friends Maj Sir Desmond John Falkiner Morton and Maj Gen Eric Edward Dorman O'Gowan (formerly Eric Edward Dorman Smith) and by Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart to whom he turned for professional advice and criticism, however his books never achieved critical success and he suffered from ill health and financial difficulties; died 1977.

Bibliography of Thompson's published books

  • Argentine Interlude. The first roll of a rolling stone (Duckworth, London,1931)
  • Down Under. An Australian Odyssey (Duckworth, London, 1932)
  • Glory Hole [The narrative of a voyage from Australia to England.] (Duckworth, London, 1933)
  • Wild Animal Man [A biography of Reuben Castang] (Duckworth, London, 1934)
  • Land of To-MorrowA story of South America (Duckworth, London, 1936)
  • To-Morrow We Live [A novel] (Duckworth, London, 1936)
  • An Englishman Looks at Wales (Arrowsmith, London, 1937)
  • Home in Ham (Arrowsmith, Bristol,1938)
  • Portrait of a Patriotthe story of the early life and rise to power of Juan Manuel de Rosas [A novel.] (Collins, London & Glasgow, 1939)
  • Voice from the Wilderness. Being a record of my search for El Dorado and of those who have sought and found new lives [An account of travel in Paraguay and Northern Argentine] (Faber & Faber, London, 1940)
  • Germans and Japs in South America [A reissue of "Voice from the Wilderness"] (London, Faber & Faber, 1942)
  • Men Under Fire [A selection of the author's dispatches as war correspondent on the European front from November 1944 to May 1945.] (Macdonald, London, 1946)
  • Black Caribbean [A personal account of a voyage in the Caribbean Sea] (Macdonald, London, 1946)
  • Devil at my Heels [The record of a journey through Europe from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea in the aftermath of war] (Macdonald, London, 1947)
  • Voice from the Wilderness [Revised edition.] Macdonald, London, 1947)
  • Cry Korea (White Lion Publishers, London & New York 1974; Hamilton, London, 1956; Macdonald, London, 1951)
  • 9 A.B. The challenge [On the effect of the atomic bomb on international relations with special reference to the war in Korea.] (Spalding & Levy, London, 1953)
  • The Pink House in Angel StreetThe story of a family [An autobiography.] (Dennis Dobson, London, 1954)
  • Dieppe at dawn (White Lion Publishers, London, 1972; Hutchinson, London, 1956)
  • The Eighty-Five Days (Four Square Books, London, 1960; Hutchinson, London, 1957)
  • The Battle for the Rhineland (Hutchinson London, 1958)
  • Boy in Blinkers [Reminiscences. With a portrait.] (Robert Hale, London,1959)
  • The Price of Victory (Constable, London, 1960)
  • The Yankee Marlborough [A biography of Sir Winston Churchill.] (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1963)
  • An Echo of Trumpets (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964)
  • Spearhead of invasion: D-Day (Pan Books, London, 1972; Macdonald, London, 1968)
  • Montgomery, the Field Marshal: a critical study of the generalship of Field-Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., and of the campaign in North-West Europe, 1944/45 (Allen & Unwin, London, 1969).
  • Generalissimo Churchill (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1973)
  • Churchill and Mortonthe quest for insight in the correspondence of Major Sir Desmond Morton and the author R W Thompson (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1976)
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Acquired by the Centre from the family in April 1979

Content & structure

Scope and content

Thompson's correspondence with Maj Sir Desmond John Falkiner Morton (1943-1976), Maj Gen Eric Edward Dorman O'Gowan (formerly Eric Edward Dorman Smith) (1960-1974) and Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1952-1974). The letters mostly relate to Thompson's military writing and concentrate on his studies of on Rt Hon Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill and FM Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.

System of arrangement

Arranged in four sections by chief and general correspondent.

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

Summary guide and This detailed Catalogue, and also in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

The papers of Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart (GB99 KCLMA LH 1/687) contain correspondence between Thompson and Capt Basil Henry Liddell Hart, and with Kathleen Liddell Hart, Lady Liddell Hart, 1962-1977; between Mel Thompson and Liddell Hart and Kathleen Liddell Hart, 1963-1969; newspaper cuttings and reviews, 1951-1967, and correspondence between Philip Unwin and Liddell Hart regarding Thompson's books,The Yankee Marlborough (Allen and Unwin, London, 1963) and The Montgomery Legend (Allen and Unwin, London, 1967). The Liddell Hart collection also (LH 15/7/54) contains a page proof of An echo of trumpets (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1964) by Thompson, with comments by Liddell Hart.



Compiled Mar 1999

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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  • Biographies
  • History
  • International conflicts
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Military history
  • Prose
  • War
  • Wars (events)
  • World War Two (1939-1945)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Auchinleck, Sir, Claude John Eyre, 1884-1981, Knight, Field Marshal
  • Churchill, Sir, Winston Leonard Spencer, 1874-1965, Knight, statesman
  • Liddell Hart, Sir, Basil Henry, 1895-1970, Knight, Captain, military historian
  • Montgomery, Bernard Law, 1887-1976, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Hindhead, Field Marshal
  • Morton, Sir, Desmond John Falkiner, 1891-1971, Knight, civil servant
  • O'Gowan, Eric Edward, 1895-1969, Major General

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