Collection LETHBRIDGE - LETHBRIDGE, Maj Gen John Sydney (1897-1961)

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Key Information

Reference code



LETHBRIDGE, Maj Gen John Sydney (1897-1961)


  • 1939-1961 (Creation)

Level of description



5 boxes or 0.05 cubic metres

Scope and content

Papers chiefly related to Lethbridge's service in the Second World War, 1943-1948 and the Control Commission, 1945-1948. Typescript report, photographs, glass photographic slides and correspondence relating to 220 Lethbridge Mission to the USA, India, South West Pacific and Australia to study tactics and equipment required to defeat Japan in the Far East, 1943-1944. Photographs, including album of Australian troops in action with Japanese, Papua New Guinea, 1943, with related publications, notably War in New Guinea (Department of Information, Australia, 1943) and The Australasians [27 Nov 1943], with profile of Lethbridge. Papers relating to Lethbridge's service as Chief of Staff, 14 Army, Burma, 1944-1945, including printed chart of the planned phases of the Burma campaign, 1944; letters home, Aug 1944-Jun 1945; personal letter from Gen Sir William Joseph Slim, Commander in Chief, Allied Land Forces, South East Asia, to Lethbridge, 26 Sep 1945; typescript operational and administrative notes on the Burma campaign, 1945; portrait photographs, including Gen Slim [1945]; typescript administrative memoranda, 1945; edition ofCampaign in Burma (Central Office of Information, London, 1946). Papers relating to Control Commission for Germany, 1945-1948, including photocopies of Hitler's last will and testament, with copies of translations, 1945; Lethbridge's notes on evidence for Hitler's death, 1945; Hitler's signed Christmas card [1944]; press cuttings relating to defeat of plot by former SS officers, 1947; two UK Government papers on anglo-German relations and on conditions in Germany (HMSO, London, 1939); photograph album of pre-war Berlin, with notes on post war condition [1946]. Photographs and press cuttings relating to the opening of the Civil Defence College, Sunningdale, Berkshire, 1950; photographs relating to Civil Defence exercise, Bristol, 1956. Obituary for Lethbridge, reprinted from The Royal Engineers Journal [1961].

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following sections: 220 Mission, Burma, Control Commission, Civil Defence Staff College, Civil Defence (general) and obituaries.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born 1897; educated at Gresham's School, Uppingham, Leicestershire, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and Jesus College, Cambridge; served in World War One, 1914-1918; commissioned into the Corps of Royal Engineers, 1915; service with 123 Field Company, Royal Engineers, 38 (Welsh) Div, Western Front, 1916-1917; Battle of the Somme, Picardy, France, 1916; served as temporary Capt with 51 Field Company, King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, Roorkee, India, 1917; service with Aden Frontier Force, operations in southern Arabia, 1917-1918; commanded, as acting Maj, 57 Company, King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, Third Afghan War, Afghanistan and North West Frontier, India, 1919-1922; awarded MC, 1919; undergraduate, Jesus College, Cambridge, 1922-1924; commanded 43 Div Headquarters Company, King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, Roorkee, India, 1924-1925; Adjutant, Corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners, India, 1925-1929; Assistant Superintendent of Instruction,Roorkee, India, 1929; commanded 3 Field Company, King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, Rawalpindi, India, 1929-1931; engaged in operations on the Kajuri Plain, Peshawar, against Afridi raiders, 1930; graduated from Staff College, Quetta, India, 1932; Superintendent of Instruction, Roorkee, India, 1932-1933; Field Works Maj, Chatham, Kent, 1933-1935; General Staff, Headquarters, Northern Command, York, 1935-1936; Military Operations Branch and Directorate of Recruiting and Organisation, War Office, 1936-1939; Instructor, Senior Officers' School, Sheerness, Kent, 1939; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; served with BEF (British Expeditionary Force), France, 1939; Commander Royal Engineers, 59 (Staffordshire) Div, Territorial Army, Western Command, UK, 1939-1940; Lt Col, 1940; Deputy Director of Staff Duties, War Office, 1940-1942; temporary Brig, 1941; specially employed on liaison duties with US Forces in London and the USA, 1942; acting Maj Gen, 1942; awarded CBE, 1942; Director, Liaison and Munitions, War Office, 1942-1943; Col and temporary Maj Gen, 1943; commanded 220 'Lethbridge' Military Mission, to the USA, India, South West Pacific and Australia to study tactics and equipment required to defeat Japan in the Far East, 1943-1944; Chief of Staff, 14 Army, Burma, 1944-1945; Chief of Intelligence, Control Commission for Germany and British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), 1945-1948; awarded CB, 1946; Commander, US Legion of Merit, 1946; retired as Hon Maj Gen, 1948; Commandant, Civil Defence Staff College, 1949-1952; Director of Civil Defence, South West Region (Bristol), 1955-1960; died 1961.

Custodial history

Presented to the Centre by the family in 1996.

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

Finding aids

This collection level description.

Related descriptions


Compiled Jun 1999

Alternative identifier(s)

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

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


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