Collection HACKETT - HACKETT, Gen Sir John Winthrop (1910-1997)

Key Information

Reference code



HACKETT, Gen Sir John Winthrop (1910-1997)


  • [1944]-1997 (Creation)

Level of description



1.58 cubic metres (158 boxes)

Scope and content

Papers, [1944]-1997, accumulated by Gen Sir John Winthrop Hackett. The bulk of the material (125 boxes) comprises Hackett's papers, 1958-1997, including official and personal correspondence, texts of lectures, press cuttings and published material. The papers range over Hackett's career and interests, the subjects including his official posts as Commandant, Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, 1958-1961, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, 1963-1964, and Commander in Chief, British Army of the Rhine, 1965-1966; King's College London and other academic institutions; his lecture 'The profession of arms' and other conferences, lectures and speeches, including Kermit Roosevelt lecture tour, 1967; publications including I was a stranger (1977) and Third World War (1978); UK and overseas military associations and institutions, including the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars and Queen's Royal Hussars, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal United Services Institution, Institute of Strategic Studies; annual memorial visits to Arnhem. A smaller accession (5 boxes) comprises papers and correspondence, largely typescripts and printed material, accumulated by Hackett on military matters, largely but not wholly pertaining to the 1980s and including, for example, news cuttings, correspondence and conference papers on nuclear proliferation and debate on the issues; some material relates to Hackett's Warfare in the ancient world , published in 1989. Another accession (1 box) comprises typescript essays with related papers, photographs and plans concerning the Battle of Arnhem collected by Lt Col Theodore A Boeree, including extracts from the diary of Miss Riek van der Vlist, [1944], kept at Hotel Schoonard, the temporary British hospital during the Battle of Arnhem; a file of press cuttings on various military matters, 1968-1970; press article by Gen Hackett on Arnhem, 1974; two letters between Hackett and Dr Hedwig Delekat of Mainz, Germany, Jul-Aug 1968, concerning the fact that Hackett had no connection with Gen Halket, who served under Wellington. The collection also includes various military periodicals (27 boxes).

System of arrangement

The early accessions are discrete from the bulk of the papers, received in 1998-1999.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born, 1910; educated at Geelong Grammar School, Australia, and New College, Oxford; commissioned into 8 (King's Royal Irish) Hussars, 1931; Lt, 1934; served in Palestine, 1936; seconded to Transjordan Frontier Force, 1937-1941; awarded MBE, 1938; Capt, 1939; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; service in Syria, 1941; Secretary, Commission of Control, Syria and Lebanon, 1941; awarded MC, 1941; General Staff Officer 2 (Operations), 9 Army, Middle East, 1941-1942; awarded DSO, 1942; General Staff Officer 1, Raiding Forces, General Headquarters, Middle East Forces, 1942; commanded 4 Parachute Bde, Italy, 1943, and for Operation MARKET-GARDEN, Arnhem, the Netherlands, 1944; awarded Bar to DSO, 1945; Substantive Maj, 1946; Brig General Staff, Austria, 1946-1947; commanded Transjordan Frontier Force, 1947-1948; Senior Army Instructor, Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1950; Imperial Defence College, 1951; Deputy Quartermaster General, British Army of the Rhine, 1952; awarded CBE, 1953; commanded 20 Armoured Bde, 1954; Brig, 1956; General Officer Commanding 7 Armoured Div, 1956-1958; Maj Gen, 1957; awarded CB, 1958; Commandant, Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, 1958-1961; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Ireland Command, 1961-1963; Col Commandant, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1961-1966; created KCB, 1962; Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 1963-1964; Deputy Chief of General Staff, Ministry of Defence, 1964-1966; Hon Col, 10 Bn, The Parachute Regt, Territorial Army, 1965-1967; Commander-in-Chief, British Army of the Rhine, and Commander of Northern Army Group, NATO, 1966-1968; appointed GCB, 1967; Aide de Camp General, 1967-1968; Hon Col, 10 Volunteer Bn, The Parachute Regt, 1967-1973; Hon Col, Oxford University Officers Training Corps, 1967-1978; Principal of King's College London, 1968-1975; Col, The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, 1969-1975; President, UK Classical Association, 1971; Member, Lord Chancellor's Committee on Reform of Law of Contempt, 1971-1974; Member, Disciplinary Tribunal, Inns of Court and Bar, 1972-1983; President, English Association, 1973; Hon Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Dyers, 1975; Freeman of the City of London, 1976; Visiting Professor in Classics, King's College London, from 1977; Deputy Lieutenant, Gloucestershire, 1982; awarded Chesney Gold Medal, Royal United Service Institute for Defence Studies, 1985; died, 1997. Publications: The profession of arms. The 1962 Lees Knowles lectures given at Trinity College, Cambridge ( The Times , London, 1963); Hungry generations (National Association of Boys' Clubs, London, 1970); I was a stranger (Chatto and Windus, London, 1977); The Third World War: a future history (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1978); The Third World War: the untold story (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1982); The profession of arms (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1983); Warfare in the ancient world (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1989). Theodore A Boeree, b 1879, was a Lieutenant-Colonel of Field Artillery in the Dutch Army and an officer of the Orange Nassau (the Dutch underground movement). He lived in Ede, a small town to the north-west of Arnhem, and witnessed the parachute drops on 17 Sep 1944 and the bombing of his town, but is not known to have been otherwise involved in the battle other than in the fact that he hid Hackett in his house for 10 days in Dec 1944. Immediately after the end of the war he started to research the underground movement and to gather information about the Battle of Arnhem, studying Dutch, British and German records. In 1955 two short articles were published in a military periodical Ons Leger ( Our Army ), later reprinted and sold in booklet form.

Custodial history

Small accessions were placed in the Centre by Hackett in 1968, 1970, 1974 and 1983. The bulk of the papers was acquired by the Centre in 1998 and 1999.

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 from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, via the Archives.

Language of material

  • English
  • German

Script of material

Uploaded finding aid

Existence and location of originals

Off-campus collection

Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus. Read more ›

Related materials

King's College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, holds papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, including correspondence with Hackett, 1955-1970 (Ref: LH 1/341), note by Liddell Hart on discussion with Hackett about North Africa, 12 Mar 1943 (Ref: LH 11/1943/18), copies of correspondence with Hackett as Commander-in-Chief, British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), concerning arrangements to visit, with daily schedule, 16-23 Jul 1967, and seating plans for meals, 1967 (Ref: LH 13/86), typescript pamphlet entitled 'The education of the officer', a synopsis of a lecture to The Royal United Services Institution by Hackett, Commandant, Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, 23 Nov 1960 (Ref: LH 15/5/105), edition of The profession of arms. The 1962 Lees Knowles lectures given at Trinity College, Cambridge, by Lt Gen Sir John (Winthrop) Hackett (US Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1966) (Ref: LH 15/5/110), article by Hackett entitled 'Nuclear or conventional strategy' from The British Army Review , Sep 1959 (Ref: LH 15/5/289), letter to The Times by Hackett on the importance of maintaining NATO forces in West Germany, 6 Feb 1968 (Ref: LH 15/5/478), and three photographs of Gen James Hilliard Polk and Hackett reviewing troops, 1967 (Ref: LH2P/103/1-2); papers of AVM Stewart William Blacker Menaul, including editorial from The Sunday Times by Hackett, 'More, much more, for defence' and 'Now scrap Trident', 20 Jun 1982 (Ref: Menaul 1/1/220), book review by Hackett, [1973], from Survival on Stratégie pour demain: les problemes militaires de la guerre moderne by André Beaufre (Plon, Paris, France, 1972) (Ref: Menaul 6/49), article from The Times by Hackett 'Why the general is refighting world war III', relating to The Third World War: the untold story (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1982) (Ref: Menaul 6/70), and article by Hackett from The Sunday Telegraph , 'The best possible defence for Britain', 24 May 1981 (Ref: Menaul 7/2/215); papers of Gen Sir Richard Nugent O'Connor, including text of memorial address for Liddell Hart from the RUSI Journal (Sep 1970) given by Hackett at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, London, 20 Apr 1970 (Ref: O'Connor 11/21).

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

Place access points

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Archivist's note

Compiled by Iain Mutch; revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Accession area