Born in India in 1885; educated at Clifton College, Bristol and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; commissioned into the Royal Engineers, 1904; served in India with 1 Bengal Sappers and Miners, 1906-1915; Lt, 1907; Mohmand Expedition, North West Frontier, 1908; served on the Staff for the Delhi Durbar, 1911; Capt, 1914; served in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia and Palestine, World War One, 1915- 1918; served with the Indian Corps at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Festubert, Western Front, 1915; awarded MC, 1915; General Staff Officer 3, Indian Expeditionary Force, Western Front, 1915-1916; transferred to 3 Div, Mesopotamia, 1916; wounded, Mesopotamia, 1916; awarded DSO, 1916; Brevet Maj, 1918; posted to 8 Bde in Palestine and served in the Megiddo campaign, 1918; awarded OBE, 1919; graduated Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, 1920; General Staff Officer 2, War Office, 1920-1921; Bde Maj, Waziristan force, North West Frontier, India, 1921- 1922; Maj, 1922; Brevet Lt Col, 1922; transferred to Royal Tank Corps, 1923; Instructor at Staff College, Quetta, India, 1923-1927; Brevet Col, 1928; Lt Col, 1930; Commanding Officer 2 Bn, Royal Tank Corps, 1931-1933; Col, 1933; Inspector, Royal Tank Corps, 1933-1936; Commander, Tank Bde, Southern Command, 1934- 1937; Deputy Director of Staff Duties (Armoured Fighting Vehicles), War Office, 1937; Director of Military Training, War Office, 1937-1938; Maj Gen, 1937; General Officer Commanding Armoured Div, Egypt, 1938-1939; awarded CB, 1939; removed from command of Armoured Div, Egypt, following an adverse report by Lt Gen (Henry) Maitland Wilson, Commander British Troops in Egypt, 1939; retired, 1940; joined Local Defence Volunteers, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, 1940; Deputy Area Organiser, Local Defence Volunteers/Home Guard, South Midland Area, 1940- 1941; recalled by Army, on the personal insistence of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, 1941; served in UK and North West Europe, World War Two, 1941-1945; General Officer Commanding 11 Armoured Div, UK, 1941-1942; appointed General Officer Commanding 79 (Specialised) Armoured Div, 1942, charged with creating and developing an armoured division assigned with amphibious, minesweeping, obstacle-clearing and night-fighting roles for the planned invasion of occupied Europe in 1944; served operationally as General Officer Commanding 79 (Specialised) Armoured Div, 1942-1945, the Division using their armoured vehicles, 'Hobart's funnies', to breach the defences of the 'Atlantic wall', on D Day; created KBE, 1943; Commander of the Specialised Armour Development Establishment, Suffolk, 1945-1946; retired from Army, 1946; representative Col Commandant, Royal Tank Regiment, 1947-1951; Lt Governor, Royal Hospital, Chelsea, 1948-1953; died 1957.
The collection was given to Liddell Hart by Hobart during their years of correspondence, 1932-1953, and was incorporated into Liddell Hart's reference material. The Liddell Hart collection was purchased by King's College London in 1973.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The papers mainly relate to Hobart's military appointments, 1926-1945, and particularly reflect the development of tanks, the evolution of armoured tactics in the British Army and operations of 7 Armoured Div, North Africa, 1941-1942. The collection consists of manuscript and typescript notes, memoranda, reports, lecture notes and correspondence, including with Liddell Hart, 1926-1953. A number of memoranda from Hobart's time as Inspector, Royal Tank Corps, 1934-1937, emphasise inadequacies in recruiting, equipment and training within the Royal Tank Corps but also offers evidence on the evolution of armoured tactics during annual exercises on Salisbury Plain. Papers relating to Hobart's appointment as Deputy Director of Staff Duties (Armoured Fighting Vehicles), 1937, include memoranda and notes on the deployment of armoured fighting vehicles by the Regular and Territorial Army and the use of armoured cavalry regiments within a Mobile Division. Hobart's training report (15/11/8) explains his methods of training for the 'Armoured Division, Egypt' (later renamed 7 Armoured Div, the 'Desert Rats'). Later correspondence, notes and reports, received by Hobart, on operations in the Western Desert, 1941-1942 (15/11/10-12), reveal his continued contact with the personnel of 7 Armoured Div, even after his removal from command in Nov 1939. The collection also contains operational bulletins and reports on the operations conducted by 79 (Specialised) Armoured Div, North West Europe, commanded by Hobart, 1944-1945. Of particular note are accounts on Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of occupied Europe, Jun 1944; Operations VITALITY and INFATUATE, the battle for the Scheldt Estuary, Sep-Nov 1944 and Operation PLUNDER, the Rhine Crossing, Mar 1945 (15/11/13-14).
The papers of Maj Gen Sir Percy Cleghorn Stanley Hobart constitute section 15/11 of the papers of Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart. The papers were used by Liddell Hart in his research for The Tanks: The History of the Royal Tank Regiment (Cassell, London, 1959; Praeger, New York, 1959). The original order was retained by Liddell Hart and subsequently when the whole of the Liddell Hart archive was originally catalogued by Stephen Brooks between 1973 and 1975. This arrangement has been retained in the present catalogue, Jan 1998.
A summary of the current arrangement of the collection is given in the Brief List.
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.
General correspondence with Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart, 1932-1953 (Ref: LH 1/376). Papers of Maj Gen George Mackintosh Lindsay include correspondence with Hobart, 1924-1934, including comment on the tactical deployment of a mechanised force, Jul- Sep 1924, the possible use of mechanised forces in the event of a war in Europe, 1933, and discussion of the use of tanks in India and the problems of tank and cavalry co- operation, 1933-1934; a memorandum by Hobart on the organisation of tanks, mobile troops and tactical vehicles, 1935 (Ref: LH 15/12).
The papers of Maj Gen Horace Leslie Birks, held at the Imperial War Museum, contain correspondence between Hobart and Liddell Hart on tank warfare, 1916-1945 (Ref:72/7/1). The papers of FM Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, at the Imperial War Museum, contain a letter and notes by Hobart concerning a memorandum by Montgomery on British armour, Feb 1945 (Ref: BLM 129/6). The papers of Lt Gen Sir Oliver William Hargreaves Leese, 3rd Bt, also at the Imperial War Museum, include four letters from Hobart, Jan-Dec 1946 (Ref: Strong Room). The papers of Maj Gen Eric Edward Dorman-O'Gowan (formerly Dorman-Smith), held at John Rylands University Library of Manchester, contain correspondence with Hobart, 1957 (Ref: GOW/1/4).
The life and career of Hobart is described in Armoured Crusader by Kenneth John Macksey (Hutchinson, London, 1967). Macksey also contributed a useful essay on Hobart's career in Churchill's Generals, edited by John Keegan (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1991). Details of Hobart's influence in the development of armoured warfare in the British Army is discussed in Liddell Hart's The Tanks: The History of the Royal Tank Regiment (Cassell, London, 1959; Praeger, New York, 1959).