Born 1878; educated at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, and Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Surrey; 2nd Lt, Oxfordshire Light Infantry, 1898; Capt, 1904; gained additional name of Popham by Royal Warrant, 1904; attended Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, 1910; gained pilot's certificate, 1911; transferred to Air Bn, Royal Engineers, commanding 2 (The Aeroplane) Company, 1912; Commander, 3 (Fighter) Sqn, Royal Flying Corps, 1912; Brevet Maj, 1913; Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General to the Royal Flying Corps, at General Headquarters, BEF (British Expeditionary Force), 1914-1916; Maj, 1915; formed 3 Wing (1 and 4 Sqns), Royal Flying Corps, 1915; Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster General, Royal Flying Corps, 1916; Controller of Aircraft Production, Air Ministry, 1918-1919; Air Cdre, 1919; Director of Research, Air Ministry, 1919-1921; Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Andover, Hampshire, 1921-1926; AVM, 1924; Air Officer Commanding Fighting Area, Air Defence of Great Britain, 1926-1928; Air Officer Commanding, British Forces in Iraq, 1928-1930, and High Commissioner and Commander in Chief of Iraq, Sep-Oct 1929; Commandant, Imperial Defence College, 1931-1933; AM, 1931; Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Air Defence of Great Britain, 1933-1935; Principal Air Aide de Camp to HM King George V, 1933-1937; Inspector General of the RAF, 1935; ACM, 1935; Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Middle East, 1935-1936; retired list, 1937; Governor and Commander in Chief of Kenya, 1937-1939; rejoined RAF as Head of Training Mission to Canada (where the Air Training Scheme was set up) and South Africa, 1939-1940; Air Commander in Chief, Far East, 1940-1941; retired list, 1942; Inspector General of the Air Training Corps until 1945; President of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute, 1944-1946; died 1953.
Presented to the Centre by the family in 1966.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Though the bulk of the Brooke-Popham collection concerns his later career, there are several files pertaining to early aviation, 1911-1913, including documents relating to the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers, Army Orders regarding the creation, regulations and establishment of the Royal Flying Corps, 1912, and early articles by Brooke-Popham on military aviation and aerial reconnaissance. This section also includes documents created during his post as Director of Research at the Air Ministry, including a visit to Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia in 1921, and lectures and addresses given by him as Commandant of the RAF Staff College, Andover, Hampshire, 1922-1926.
Papers relating to Brooke-Popham's post as Air Officer Commanding, British Forces in Iraq from 1928-1930, comprise correspondence, memoranda and telegrams relating to RAF operations in Iraq and Kuwait, mainly documents concerning operations against the Mutair and Ajman tribes following their rebellion against Ibn Saud, King of Najd and the Hedjaz, 1929-1930, and negotiations for the Anglo-Iraq Treaty, 1930. Personal materials include correspondence and papers notably relating to the death of Sir Gilbert Falkingham Clayton, High Commissioner and Commander in Chief of Iraq, Sep 1929, and a meeting between Faisal I, King of Iraq and Ibn Saud, King of Najd and the Hedjaz, Feb 1930. There is also a file of press cuttings, memoranda and letters, collated by Brooke-Popham for background research on lectures about Iraq.
As well as material relating to an Royal Review of the RAF at Mildenhall, Suffolk, and Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 1935, whilst Brooke-Popham was Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Air Defence of Great Britain, there is included in the collection a large amount of material concerning his time as Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Middle East. The bulk of these documents are operational memoranda, telegrams and correspondence relating to RAF planning and preparation for the possible outbreak of war between Italy and the League of Nations, following the Italian invasion and annexation of Abbyssinia in 1935-1936, notably concerning the choosing of advanced RAF landing grounds in Egypt in order to counter the threat of Italian S81 long-range bombers based in Syria, and the planning of combined offensives with Navy and Army commanders. In addition there are several files of memoranda, correspondence and press cuttings relating to operational, legal and administrative matters concerning the Arab Rebellion against the British Mandate in Palestine, including recommendations for the imposition of martial law, 1936, and a file of personal correspondence with ACM Sir Edward Leonard Ellington, Chief of Air Staff, 1935-1936. Other personal documents include several files on the position of the Assyrians in Iraq, notably the formation and work of an Executive Committee on Assyrian Settlement, 1943-1947, and material collated for lectures on the Middle East, 1936.
Papers relating to the Empire Air Training Scheme, 1939-1941 and 1944-1945, comprise material relating to negotiations, agreement and implementation of the Scheme in Canada and South Africa, including correspondence with Sir Arthur William Street, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Air, 1940.
Brooke-Popham's final active post was as Commander in Chief, Far East, from 1940-1941, and the documents relating to this period include files of telegrams and memoranda relating to the requirements of the RAF and Army, mainly communications between Brooke-Popham and the Chiefs of Staff concerning the constant requests of the former for increased numbers of men and equipment, 1941. There are numerous communications regarding his removal from command in Dec 1941, and some material relating to the outbreak of war with Japan, notably aerial reconnaissance sightings of Japanese convoys, a telegram from Brooke-Popham to the Admiralty and the War Office informing them of his decision not to launch Operation MATADOR (British moves in Burma to forestall Japanese attacks), and documents concerning the bombing and sinking of the RN battleships HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HMS REPULSE, Dec 1941. Personal correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Hastings Lionel Ismay, Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence, and Sir Arthur William Street, 1940-1941, gives details of Brooke-Popham's plans for the defence of Singapore and Malaya, and visits to areas under his jurisdiction, namely Hong Kong, Australia, British Borneo, Manila and Burma. Later material includes papers relating to the publication of various despatches, including Brooke-Popham's own, on operations in Malaya and elsewhere in the Far East, 1946-1948.
Papers created during Brooke-Popham's retirement include files relating to the Air Training Corps and its post-war future, 1942-1946.
The remainder of the collection consists of printed and other material collated by Brooke-Popham mainly relating to RAF training, policy and operations, including a file of documents on air policy, 1917-1945, notably pamphlets concerning air fighting tactics in World War One and World War Two and a file on RAF Bomber Command operations in World War Two. There are also large numbers of files containing research for the writing of articles, lectures and pamphlets by Brooke-Popham, 1923-1952. Maps and photographs from the collection include several World War One aerial reconnaissance photographs of the Western Front, 1917-1918, and maps of the Middle East, 1933-1941.
The collection was organised in files by Brooke-Popham, and this arrangement has been retained. In order to make the collection more accessible, these files have been ordered as far as possible according to the posts held by Brooke-Popham. A section of the collection relating to Brooke-Popham's Governorship of Kenya was removed shortly following the deposit of the collection in LHCMA in 1966, and placed in Rhodes House Library at Oxford University.
CONDITIONS OF ACCESS AND USE
Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.
Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.
English, with some items in Arabic
Rhodes House Library at Oxford University holds correspondence and papers relating to Brooke-Popham's post as Governor and Commander in Chief of Kenya, 1936-1953, which were removed from the main body of the collection following its deposit at LHCMA. A preservation microfilm has been made of a selection of the Kenya papers.
Papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart include correspondence with Brooke-Popham, 1925-1932 (Ref: Liddell Hart 1/111/1-6), notes by Liddell Hart on various RAF personalities including Brooke-Popham, 1935 (Ref: Liddell Hart 11/1935/122), and a text of a lecture by Brooke-Popham on the history of the RAF, 1927- (Ref: 15/3/123). Papers of Maj Gen Richard Henry Dewing contain a manuscript diary relating to his service as Chief of Staff to Brooke-Popham, 1939-1941. See also the LHCMA Subject Guides on the Far East, World War One and Palestine and Israel.
Correspondence by Brooke-Popham relating to East Africa, 1936-1939, is held at the Public Record Office, London (Ref: CO967/60-61, 163-65).
Operation Matador: Britain's War Plans against the Japanese, 1918-1941, by Ong Chit Chung (Times Academic Press, Singapore, 1997), uses material relating to Brooke-Popham's post as Commander in Chief, Far East, 1940-1941.