Collection LAYCOCK - LAYCOCK, Maj Gen Sir Robert Edward (1907-1968)

Key Information

Reference code



LAYCOCK, Maj Gen Sir Robert Edward (1907-1968)


  • 1923-1968 (Creation)

Level of description



34 boxes

Scope and content

Personal and military papers of Major General Sir Robert Edward Laycock, 1923-1968, chiefly relating to service with Special Service Brigade and as Chief of Combined Operations, 1940-1946. Includes papers on volunteering for Special Service Brigade, including completed application forms for volunteer Commando officers, 1940. Papers on Special Service Brigade training 1940-1941, including gas, bayonet and signalling training. Memoranda, reports, instructions and other papers, 1940-1942, relating to LAYFORCE (commanded by Laycock in the Middle East), including papers on the Folbot Section (later to become Special Boat Service). Papers on Special Service Brigade, [1941-1946], including memoranda, reports, minutes, papers on their reorganisation, disbandment and the future of Combined Operations, also including papers belonging to Lord George Jellicoe relating to Special Service Brigade in the Middle East; reports and other papers on Special Service Brigade operations, notably Operation TORCH, (the invasion of North West Africa, Nov 1942) and Operation HUSKY, (the invasion of Sicily, Jun 1943). Laycock's official and personal correspondence,1923-1968, chiefly relating to Special Service Brigade. Lectures and speeches to and on Special Service Brigade, chiefly by Laycock. Draft publications, scripts and press cuttings relating to Laycock and Special Service Brigade. Memoirs and accounts of Commando action, including parts of Robert Edward Laycock's memoirs and memoirs of members of 'G' Troop, 7 Commando. Papers on Laycock standing as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw in the 1945 general collection and on his refusal to stand for the 1947 bye-election. Papers relating to Laycock's time as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta. Poems by Laycock.

System of arrangement

The Laycock papers are arranged in sections as follows: papers on volunteers for Special Service Brigade; training papers, papers relating to LAYFORCE; papers relating to Special Service Brigade following the disbandment of LAYFORCE; Special Service Brigade operations; Robert Edward Laycock's correspondence, official and personal; lectures and speeches; draft publications and press cuttings; memoirs; papers relating to Laycock standing as Conservative Party candidate; papers relating to Laycock's time as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta and poems.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born 1907; educated at Eton College and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; joined Royal Horse Guards, Mar 1927, 2nd Lt, 1927; Lt 1930; Capt 1934; married Angela Claire Louise (née Dudley Ward), 1935; instructor on anti-gas and air defence measures, School of Military Engineering, Chatham, Dec 1937; General Staff Officer, Grade 3 (passive air defence) in department of Chief of Imperial General Staff, Dec 1938; General Staff Officer, Grade 2, chemical warfare section, British Expeditionary Force Headquarters, France, 1939-1940; joined Combined Operations, 1940; Lt Col 1941; commanded Special Service Brigade LAYFORCE, Feb-Aug 1941 and Middle East Commando, Aug 1941-Aug 1942; Brig, 1942; commanded Special Service Brigade, organizing and training all commandos in Britain, 1942-1943; Maj Gen 1943; Chief of Combined Operations, Oct 1943-1947; retired 1947; Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta, 1954-1959; Col Commandant, Special Air Service (SAS) and Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 1960-1968. Died 1968.

Custodial history

Presented to the Centre by the family, June 2000

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

Script of material

Physical Description

The Laycock papers suffered severe flood damage before transfer to the Centre. Papers have undergone conservation work and their current condition is largely good, although some items are irreparably damaged.

Finding aids

This collection level description and detailed catalogue.

Related materials

Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London, holds papers of Maj Gen Arthur Reginald Chater including photocopy of letter from Laycock, 1945 (Ref GB0099 KCLMA Chater 10/6) and papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry LIDDELL HART including photocopy of obituary of Laycock from _The Times, _1968 (Ref. GB0099 KCLMA LIDDELL HART 15/6/5).

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

People and Organisations

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

Sources: _Who's Who _1967, Army Lists, _Times obituary. _Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Accession area

Related people and organisations

Related genres