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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Ward
WARD, Gp Capt Ralph Bagshaw (1911-1992)
Created 1930-1983
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
1 box or 0.01 cubic metres


Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1911; commissioned into RAF, [1929]; served with 11 Sqn, RAF, North West Frontier, India, 1930-1933; Flying Officer, 1931; Flight Lt, 1936; Instructor, RAF Flying Training Command, UK, 1939; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; service with RAF Bomber Command, 1939-1942; shot down on raid on Kiel, Germany, and captured by German forces, 25 Feb 1942; POW, East compound, Stalag Luft III, Germany, 1942-1945; member of escape committee and helped to plan 'wooden horse' POW escape [29 Oct 1943]; worked for Imperial Airways, 1946-1950; changed surname by deed poll, from Abraham, to mother's maiden name, Ward, Feb 1949; acted in and Technical Adviser for the film The wooden horse, released in 1950; served as Wg Cdr, Administration, RAF Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, and the Air Ministry, 1950-1952; Air and Military Attaché to the British Embassies in Peru and Ecuador, and Air Attaché to Chile and Bolivia, 1952-1955; served at RAF Hullavington, Wiltshire, 1956-1957; retired 1958; died 1992.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Placed in the Centre by the family in two accessions, 1998 and 1999. The papers relating to the escape from Stalag Luft III were copied by the Centre from originals loaned by the family in 1999.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers and photographs relating to Ward's RAF career, 1930-1955, including photograph album containing 201 mostly captioned photographs relating to Ward's RAF service in India, 1930-1933, including RAF 11 Sqn operations against Mohmand tribesmen, North West Frontier, Mar 1932; with six loose photographs[1932]-1945, including photograph of Ward [1932]; group of RAF POWs, Stalag Luft III, Aug 1942; four aerial photographs of Hamburg and Bremen, Germany, Jul 1945. Copy of manuscript narrative diary, 1939-1942, detailing Ward's RAF service until he was shot down over Kiel, Germany, Feb 1942; copy of manuscript notes by Ward entitled 'Future training in the Royal Air Force' [1945]; six printed maps (two on linen, one on silk and two on tissue paper), of France, Danzig, Germany, Sumatra and Java, Indonesia, 1935-[1950]; printed translation of speech to the Reichstag by Adolf Hitler, 'A last appeal to reason', 19 Jul 1940; reprinted facsimile, dated 1983, of Honolulu Star Bulletin, relating to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaiian Islands, 7 Dec 1941; copies of autographs given by Capt Basil Henry Liddell Hart and Kathleen Liddell Hart to Ward's son, Richard Ward, Aug 1951. Papers and photographs relating to the filming of The wooden horse, directed by Jack Lee, and Ward's role as actor and Technical Adviser, 1949-1950, including seven photographs of Ward and the film set during the making of The wooden horse, Germany, 1949; sketch map by Ward of Stalag Luft III [1949]; typescript notes by Ward entitled 'The aftermath of the wooden horse escape' [1949]; newspaper cuttings on the release of The wooden horse, 1950. Papers and photographs relating to Ward's service as Air and Military Attaché to Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador, 1952-1955, including typescript official reports by Ward relating to the air forces of Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia, Feb 1953-Sep 1955; typescript memoranda by Ward relating to diplomatic visits and journeys made in South America, Apr 1952-Oct 1955, including 'A review of living conditions in Lima, Peru' Apr 1952, 'Visit to Ecuador and northern Peru' Sep 1953, 'Journey by car from Lima to La Paz and return' Aug 1955; twenty four typescript letters home to relatives and friends, mostly to Ward's parents-in-law, Dudley and Audrey Christopherson, Jun 1952-Jul 1955; booklet entitled Operation Round Trip. The goodwill flight to South America by four English Electric Canberras of No 12 Squadron, the Royal Air Force (The English Electric Company Limited, London, 1952); twelve uncaptioned photographs of official functions, South America [1953]; twenty two colour photographs of the topography and local people, Peru [1954].

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in sections as outlined 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 provided forresearch use only. Requests to publish original material should besubmitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for MilitaryArchives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material
English, and some Spanish.
Finding aids

This Summary Guide, and 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 Henry Liddell Hart contain correspondence with Ward, Jan 1951-Dec 1952 (Ref: Liddell Hart LH2W/39/1-7).

Publication note

The Wooden Horse by Eric Ernest Williams (Collins, London, 1949).


Compiled Dec 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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  • Aerial photographs
  • Armed forces
  • Diaries
  • Diplomacy
  • Documents
  • Films
  • Foreign relations
  • Higher science education
  • Information sources
  • International conflicts
  • International relations
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Maps
  • Military education
  • Military organizations
  • Nonfiction
  • Organizations
  • Photographs
  • Primary documents
  • Prose
  • State security
  • Visual materials
  • War
  • War prisoners
  • War victims
  • Wars (events)
  • World War Two (1939-1945)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Hart, Lady, Kathleen Liddell, 1904-2001, nee Sullivan, wife of Basil Liddell Hart
  • Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945, Chancellor of Germany
  • Lee, Jack, b 1913, film director, writer and producer
  • Liddell Hart, Sir, Basil Henry, 1895-1970, Knight, Captain, military historian
  • Ward, Richard, fl 1951, son of Group Captain Ralph Bagshaw Ward

Corporate names

  • Japanese armed forces
  • RAF, Royal Air Force


  • Asia and the Pacific
  • Bolivia, South America
  • Bremen, Germany
  • Chile, South America
  • Danzig, Germany
  • Dutch East Indies
  • Ecuador, South America
  • France
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • India, South Asia
  • Java, Indonesia, South East Asia
  • Kiel, Germany
  • Lima, Peru, South America
  • Pakistan, South Asia
  • Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA, North America
  • Sumatra, Indonesia, South East Asia

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