Papers of Brig Harold Vincent Spencer Charrington, DSO, MC (1886-1965)
[CHARRINGTON: 1.] Papers relating to
Charrington's service with the 12
(Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers during World War One,
Handwritten eyewitness account [by Charrington] of the participation of his regiment in operations on the Western Front in 1914, entitled 'With the XII Royal Lancers in 1914: Chapter III, the advance into Flanders and the first battle of Ypres', with details of troop movement, descriptions of soldiers, and first-hand experience of trench warfare. 31pp.
Christmas Issue of 'Summary of information: 2nd Cavalry Division', a newsletter combining humour with a detailed account of the activities of the division in France and Flanders, and a list of honours and awards. 20pp.
Incomplete translation of the personal diary of a German Infantry Officer of 127 Regt, 24 May-7 Aug, 1916, operating against the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in France and Flanders, including details of troop movements and descriptions of trench warfare. 6pp.
1917 Mar 25
Letter from Charrington to his wife, Stella Charrington, describing a wild boar hunt which took place in the Forest of Crecy, France, in between reconnaissance trips. 3pp.
1918 Apr 9
Letter from Charrington to his wife, Stella Charrington, describing the fighting around Amiens, France in which 2 Cavalry Div is taking part, and conditions there. 4pp.
1935 Apr 23-1935 May 14
Correspondence between Charrington and Lt Col George Clark of the 16/5 Lancers, concerning the actions of 12 (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers on 10 Sep 1914 during the advance to Amiens, which Clark needs to clarify previous to a tour of the battlefield in preparation for the training of a new mobile armoured division. Charrington's reply emphasises the need for efficient communication and liaison, and includes a copy of his personal diary for the day in question, when the regiment were clearing the village of Gandelu. 6pp.
1935 Sep 5
Letter from Charrington to Maj Gen Edwin Tivey, formerly Commanding Officer of Australian 8 Infantry Bde, answering his enquiry as to his recollection of the events of 29 Sep 1918, when the Australian Corps took the Nauroy Ridge, near Bellenglise, France, against heavy German opposition. 3pp.
[CHARRINGTON: 2.] Papers relating to the
writing and publication of Where
Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927), by
Copy of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927), by Charrington. 1 vol.
1927 May 19
Letter to Charrington from Gen Sir Richard Cyril Byrne Haking, commenting upon the original draft of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927) and suggesting its publication. 2pp.
1927 Jun 20
Letter to Charrington from Col Alan Francis Brooke, commenting upon the articles which formed the basis of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927) and the possibility of their publication influencing both the conservative and extremist sections of the army, with regard to the merits or otherwise of mechanisation. 6pp.
1927 Jul 16-1927 Oct 27
Correspondence from Hugh Rees Ltd, publishers of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927), concerning costs of printing, advertising and sales.
1927 Oct 2
Personal letter to Charrington from Gen Sir George Aston, enclosing a proof of a newspaper article entitled 'The army in 1927: training season lessons: machines and men'. 4pp.
1927 Oct 23
Letter to Charrington from 'Bish', thanking him for an author's copy of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927) and agreeing with his position that mechanisation of the army should still encompass the use of the cavalry. 3pp.
1927 Dec 4
Letter to Charrington from Maj Gen Hugh Sidney (Harry) Knox, thanking him for a copy of his book Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927). 2pp.
1928 Jan 19
Letter to Charrington from H Foster, Librarian of the Imperial War Museum, requesting a copy of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927). 1p.
Prospectus and reviews of Where Cavalry Stands Today (Hugh Rees, London, 1927).
[CHARRINGTON: 3.] Papers relating to a
report by Charrington, as Commander of
Fighting Vehicles Section, General Headquarters, Cairo, Egypt,
on operations by the British army in Eritrea and Abyssinia during 1941.
1941 Apr 29
Report by Maj Gen Ashton Gerard Oswald Mosley Mayne, Commander 5 Indian Div, on the part played by the division in the Allied invasion of Abyssinia and Eritrea up to the end of April 1941, notably attacks on Keren, the advance to Asmara, and the occupation of Massawa, especially focusing upon the training value of those operations, in areas such as artillery use, fire plans, road blocks, water supply, medical knowledge, air support and communications. 14pp.
Report by Headquarters of 9 Indian Infantry Bde, entitled 'Lessons of recent operations for guidance in training with special reference to operations in mountainous country', and giving an account of difficulties faced by the division during an advance from Kassala to Keren as part of the Allied invasion of Abyssinia and Eritrea. 6pp.
[1941 Jun 8]
Narrative of the part played by 9 Indian Infantry Bde in operations on the Gallabat Front, Sudan, from 10 Jan-10 Feb, as part of the Allied invasion of Abyssinia and Eritrea. 4pp.
Narrative of operations in Eritrea and northern Abyssinia from Jan-May 1941, with Italian and British orders of battle. 8pp.
Notes on the Italian order of battle at various points in the Allied invasion of Abyssinia and Eritrea, namely before the advance into Eritrea, 16 Jan, at the opening of the battles of Agordat and Barentu, 1/2 Feb, and immediately before the fall of Keren, 3 Mar, with some narrative notes. 9pp.
Notes made by Charrington on an earlier draft of 3/7, namely a narrative of the Allied operations in Eritrea and Abyssinia in the early part of 1941. 14pp.
1941 Jun 10
Draft narrative by Charrington entitled 'Notes on the operations in Eritrea and Abyssinia, Jan-May 1941', namely the capture of Agordat and Barentu, the battle for Keren, the advance to Asmara and Massawa, and the fall of Amba Alagi. With a section on lessons affecting particular arms and services, notably air, mobile troops, artillery, infantry, signals, administration and engineers, and annotations by Charrington. 25pp.
1941 Jan 23
Copy of an intelligence summary (154) sent to all Headquarters troops in the Sudan, entitled 'The liquidation of the I[talian] E[ast] A[frican] Northern Army by the forces operating from the Sudan', giving a general outline of the course of the Eritrean Campaign (Jan-May 1941), with special reference to the enemy situation, and including a list of enemy formations and units defeated. Forwarded to Charrington by Maj Percy Douglas Fabin, Intelligence, Khartoum. 9pp.
Sketch of the heights west of Keren, Eritrea, reproduced and drawn by 514 Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers. 1p. Two copies.
Sketch of the town of Keren, Eritrea, taken from aerial photographs, and showing areas such as the railway sidings, bridge and station, the native quarter, the fort, the barracks, and fortified posts. Drawn and printed by 514 Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers, on a scale of 1 inch to 250 yards. 1p. Three copies.
Photographic panoramas of the landscape around Keren, Eritrea, made up of two photographs each.
[CHARRINGTON: 4.] Papers relating to
Charrington's command of 1 Armoured Bde
during operations in Greece, World War Two, 1941, 1941-1952.
1941 May 7
Pass, issued by the Greek General Headquarters Liaison, for the duration of British operations in Greece. 1p.
Notes by Charrington on operations in Greece during March and April, 1941, giving descriptions of the Greek armies of eastern and central Macedonia, the British forces and the air support before the start of active operations, and a narrative of events thereafter up to the withdrawal of the British army from Greece. 5pp.
Copy of letter from Lt Col Michael Lubbock, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General, 1 Armoured Bde, to his parents, notably on the Greek countryside and people, and the evacuation of the British army from Greece. 6pp.
1941 May 5
Copy of letter from Lt Col Richard Walton Hobson, Bde Maj, 1 Armoured Bde, giving a detailed description of the part played by 1 Armoured Bde in events during the German invasion of Greece, notably the fighting in the Florina Gap where the brigade fought a rearguard action for 24 hours to allow for the withdrawal of the British forces; his trip to General Headquarters to make a report and receive orders; the withdrawal of the army to Thermopylae; confusion during the evacuation that led to the brigade being stranded for 24 hours. 5pp.
1941 May 5
Extract from a letter written by Charrington, giving an account of the sections of 1 Armoured Bde which were sent ahead to the Peloponnesus coastline to be evacuated, but appear to have been cut off and captured, notably 4 (Queen's Own) Hussars. 1p.
1941 May 6
Newspaper cutting from The Times, entitled 'Our tanks in Greece', describing the rearguard action fought by 1 Armoured Bde from the Florina Gap back to Grevena during the British withdrawal from Greece. 1p.
Copy letter from General Headquarters, Middle East Forces, Cairo, Egypt, to The Military Secretary at the War Office, explaining the medical reasons for Charrington's return to England, and requesting suitable employment for him. 1p.
1941 Nov 18-1942 Feb 12
Correspondence to Charrington from Brig Angus Lyell Collier, Deputy Military Secretary, War Office, concerning the award of the Greek Military Cross, Class A.
Personal account from Headquarters, 30 Corps, of operations at Sidi-Rezegh, near Tobruk, Libya, following the rear attack on the British by the Panzer Afrika Korps, commanded by German Col Gen Erwin Rommel, notably details of tank battles and the superiority of the German [75mm] tank guns. 3pp.
1942 Jan 5
Letter to Charrington from Maj Richard Walton Hobson, 12 (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers, part of 22 Armoured Bde, giving an account of the tank action during the German attack on the British rear at Sidi-Rezegh, near Tobruk, Libya, noting the superiority of the German [75mm] tank guns. 2pp.
Article entitled 'The story of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)', by 'a military correspondent', giving details of the regiment's part in actions in Tunisia during World War Two. 4pp.
1945 Mar 31
Letter to Charrington from Miles Belfrage Reid, on various, notably the part played by Operation PHANTOM (the monitoring of friendly radio nets to provide commanders with immediate and accurate information on the progress of their own troops) in the withdrawal of British forces from Greece, 1941; the part played by his squadron in the repulsion of German airborne troops near Corinth, resulting in his capture. 4pp.
1945 May 17-1945 Dec 19
Correspondence and papers relating to Charrington's attempts to obtain various awards and mentions in despatches for men of the 4 (Queen's Own) Hussars, part of 1 Armoured Bde, captured in Greece in 1941, and recently repatriated from POW camps. The papers consist mainly of correspondence with Lt Col the Hon Osbert Eustace Vesey and Capt the Hon Patrick William Dennis Craig at the War Office, and Lt Col Edward George Grey (Barney) Lillingston, Lt Col 4 (Queen's Own) Hussars, copies of citations, and final lists of recommended names. Also included is correspondence from Maj Richard William Rogerson of the 102 (Northumberland Hussars) Anti-tank Regt, also part of 1 Armoured Bde, asking advice on the recommendation of his men for awards and mentions in despatches for their actions in Crete in 1941. 1 file.
1945 May 16
Letter to Charrington from Lt Col E[dwin] E[rnest] Rich, Historical Section, War Cabinet Offices, asking for his help in the preparation of a narrative of the operations of 1 Armoured Bde in Greece in 1941. Annotated by Brig Henry Beveridge Latham of the Historical Section, War Cabinet Offices. It is likely that items 4/2-6 were sent by Charrington to Rich to aid his work. 2pp.
1945 May 25
Letter to Charrington from Brig Henry Beveridge Latham of the Historical Section, War Cabinet Offices, thanking him for his help with an official history of the operations of 1 Armoured Bde in Greece in 1941. 2pp.
1945 Jul 19
Letter to Charrington from Miles Belfrage Reid, reporting that he has sent his draft narrative of events in Greece to Lt Col E[dwin] E[rnest] Rich at the Historical Section of the War Cabinet Offices. 1p.
1947 Apr 12
Letter to Charrington from Maj Gen Christos Karassos, previously Commanding Officer of Greek 20 Div, and later of the Central Macedonian Army Troop during operations in Macedonia in 1941, asking for help in constructing a narrative of events during that period. 3pp.
1950 Aug 29
Letter to Charrington from Trooper E R Crook, formerly his despatch rider, sending his regards. (See photograph 4/25/4). 1p.
1952 Jun 16
Correspondence between Charrington and Brig Henry Beveridge Latham concerning negative mentions of Charrington in a draft of the Australian official history, entitled Australia in the War of 1939-1945: Army Series Vol II: Greece, Crete and Syria (Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT), dealing with the campaign in Greece in 1941, written by Gavin Long, notably regarding the withdrawal of 1 Armoured Bde to the Thermopylae Line. Includes Latham's replies to Long concerning statements made by Lt Gen Sir Stanley George Savige, then Commander 16 Australian Bde, and Charrington's notes on events as he recalled them. 1 file.
Map of the coastline around Rafino, southern Greece, from where the British army was evacuated. On a scale of 1:50,000, overprinted with a British grid.
Sketch map of Greece taken from The Journal of the Royal Artillery, Vol LXXII, No 3, showing the network of roads and railways, and entitled 'Map A'.
Sketch map of northern Greece taken from The Journal of the Royal Artillery, Vol LXXII, No 3, entitled 'Map C: Soter Ridge, Ptolemais and the withdrawal to the Ventrikos', and showing the route of British withdrawal behind the Olympus Line.
Sketch map of Greece taken from The Journal of the Royal Artillery, Vol LXXII, No 3, showing the various positions of the artillery in the area around Ptolemais during the 1941 operations.
Photographs of 1 Armoured Bde during operations in Greece, 1941.
1941 Apr 15
Photograph (portrait) of Trooper Knott, 1 Armoured Bde, on guard at the bridge over River Ventrikos near Grevena, Greece. Two copies.
1941 Apr 15
Photograph (landscape) of Trooper Knott on guard at the bridge over the River Ventrikos, near Grevena, Greece. Two copies, and negative.
1941 Apr 21
Photograph of Officers' Mess Staff, 1 Armoured Bde, near Chalchis, Greece, namely Sgt Blythe, 12 (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers, Langdon the mess waiter, and two unidentified. Two copies.
1941 Apr 22
Photograph of Troopers Rhodes (Charrington's driver) and E R Crook (his personal despatch rider), 1 Armoured Bde, 'during a lull from dive bombing attacks by the bridge over the Ventrikos River, near Grevena'.
1941 Apr 22
Photograph of the armoured command vehicle for 1 Armoured Bde, concealed in a grove of fir trees between Thebes and Calchis, with Lt Trevelyan, Driver Bentley, Cpl King, Cpl Abbott, and Maj Gerald Walter Frederick de Winton, all 2 Middlesex Regt (Duke of Cambridge's Own), Royal Signal Corps. Two copies and negative.
1941 Apr 22
Photograph of Trooper Knott, Trooper Rhodes, and Lt G Sgoota, Charrington's Greek Liaison Officer, 1 Armoured Bde, just off the Thebes-Calchis road, during a lull in dive bombing. Two copies.
Photograph of unidentified soldier on small single arch bridge across a river, Greece. Two copies.
Photograph of a German Junkers Ju87 'Stuka' dive-bomber through trees, with a caption stating 'Ledward gets dive bombed and machine gunned by Stukas between Ventrikos and Kalabaka. South of Grevena', Greece.
Photograph of Charrington inspecting the Greek guard at a frontier post at Polycastron, Greece.
Photograph of unidentified soldier, possibly Charrington, Greece.
Photograph of two British troops from 1 Armoured Bde Headquarters and two Greek soldiers, all captured at Axiopolis Bridge, after escaping to British lines at Lamia.
Photograph of the deck of a ship, entitled 'CORINTHIA'.
Photograph of Charrington soon after assuming command of 1 Armoured Bde at Kettering, Northamptonshire. Also showing Adjutant, 3 Royal Tank Regt.
1941 Apr 12
Photocopy of 1 Armoured Bde Operations Order No 5, relating to operations in Greece, signed by Bde Maj Richard Walton Hobson, requesting the brigade to cover the withdrawal of 6 Australian Div to the line of the River Aliakmon, and thereafter to withdraw to Grevena. 3pp.
Photocopy of letter to Charrington from V Adm Harold Tom Baillie-Grohman, asking if he has any recollection of an incident at Larissa involving Brig Leonard Parrington, which took place during the withdrawal of British troops from Greece in 1941. 2pp.
[CHARRINGTON: 5.] Later accessions to the
collection, including a detailed letter written
by Charrington to his daughter following the Greek campaign of 1941,
1941 Apr 29
Letter from Charrington to his daughter Cynthia Charrington, written on board ship for Egypt, following the evacuation of the British army from Greece, and describing events of Apr 1941 as they affected 1 Armoured Bde, notably the composition of his armoured brigade; demolitions undertaken in the Vardar Valley following the collapse of Yugoslavian resistance; commentary concerning the efficacy of British Military Missions, especially as regards the organisation of resistance in Greece; a visit by the Rt Hon (Robert) Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Gen Sir John Greer Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff; worries about his career, despite the successes of the brigade; the problems caused by insufficient British airpower, and continual bombardment by German aircraft; the removal of 1 Armoured Bde's supporting arms to reinforce the New Zealand troops, followed by a German attack on the right rear which the depleted resources of the brigade had to counter; the withdrawal to the beach at Rafino for evacuation, where the brigade staff and 1,000 troops were stranded; their rescue after 24 hours by HMS HAVOC. Includes one photocopy and two transcripts, and was presented to the Centre by the family in 1974. 24pp.
Letter from Stella Charrington to her sister Mrs Sibyl MacLeod, mainly concerned with domestic detail, but quoting a letter from Charrington, serving in World War One in France, in which he describes the items of his kit in great detail. Presented to the Centre by the family in 1981. 4pp.
1965 Jun 19
Copy of of Charrington's obituary from The Times.