Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke (1883 - 1963)
The papers of the youthful Alan Brooke, later Viscount Alanbrooke and Chief of the Imperial General Staff shine a light on a the early, formative, career of the future war leader who from 1941 led Britain's military campaign against the Axis powers.
His service in the Royal Artillery in India from 1906 until 1909 is captured in a remarkable series of letters addressed from Brooke to his mother. The correspondence details the daily life of an artillery officer, from hunting expeditions, social engagements with Indian prices to attendance at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Press cuttings and programmes mingle with lavish gold-embossed Christmas cards.
One highlight of the collection are the doodles of animals, plants, landscapes and shooting expeditions that occupy the margins of Brooke's letters. They pay testament to his accomplishments as an artist and his love of the natural world - an amateur ornithologist, he was a friend of Peter Scott who founded the World Wildlife Fund.
The collections featured here represent a small portion of the Alanbrooke papers, which notably include his wartime manuscript diaries, autobiographical material and detailed accounts of meetings and conversations with wartime political and military leaders including Churchill and Bernard Law Montgomery. The original papers are open for consultation in the Centre at King‘s College.
In 2005, Alanbrooke's papers were secured for the Centre and for the nation following a fundraising campaign and the generosity of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, The Friends of the National Libraries, the King's College London Annual Fund and some 61 alumni of King's College London.