Reference code: GB99 KCLMA Menaul
Title: MENAUL, AVM Stewart William Blacker (1915-1987)
Dates of creation of material: 1946-1987
Level of description: item level
Extent: 1.12 m3 or 112 boxes of papers
Sections 1-5 Weapons technology and defence
AVM Stewart 'Paddy' Menaul was born on 17 July 1915. He was educated in Portadown, Northern Ireland, and the RAF College, Cranwell. Apart from a period spent as a Flying Instructor, between 1940-1941, between 1936-1943 he served with Bomber Command Squadrons, including No 14 Squadron, 1941-1942. In 1943 he joined the Air Staff of No 3 Group but before the end of the year was posted to Pathfinder Force with which he served until 1945.
Post war, Menaul attended both the Royal Air Force Staff College in 1946 and the Imperial Defence College in 1950-1951 with a posting at the Air Ministry in between. From 1951, as Deputy Director of Bomber Operations, he had special responsibilities for V bomber forces. In 1954 he was attached to the US Nevada Nuclear test site and in 1955-1956 commanded the British nuclear tests at Monte Bello and Maralinga, in Australia. His last service postings were as Commanding Officer, Bombing School, Lindholme, 1957-1958, Air Staff Officer, Aden, 1959-1960, Senior Air Staff Officer Bomber Command, 1961-1965 and finally Commandant, Joint Services Staff College, 1965-1967.
In civilian life Menaul was Director General of the Royal United Services Institute, 1968-1976, a position which served him well as a platform from which to stimulate debate on defence issues, most notably nuclear strategy and weapons, and to develop a role as a military commentator and defence consultant. Menaul was a passionate supporter of ballistic missile defence as a means of strengthening Western Defences and argued forcefully that the Strategic Defence Initiatives (SDI Systems) were in Europe's interest. The latter, he believed would serve to enhance the credibility of America's nuclear guarantee of its NATO allies, as well as providing protection for Europe's own high value military assets. A layered defence against missiles, possibly including space-based lasers, was, he argued, technically feasible and affordable and strategically desirable since it would multiply the uncertainties facing enemy military planners. He remained a strong believer in a British independently controlled deterrent but believed Cruise rather than Trident was the more realistic option for Britain in terms of likely obsolescence.
Menaul was twice decorated during the Second World War, DFC and AFC, and on his retirement from the RAF, his broader career contribution was marked by the CB and CBE. Inevitably remembered as a man of robust opinions, Menaul commanded considerable respect in both America and China where he was popular as a lecturer. His role as a commentator on the Falklands War for Independent Television also earned respect in the UK. Menaul died on 22 May 1987.
Countdown: Britain's strategic nuclear forces (Hale, London, 1980) and numerous articles.
The collection was placed in the Centre by Menaul's family in 1987.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The majority of the collection dates from after Menaul's active service for the RAF and principally comprises journal articles, press cuttings, US and UK government and defence industry press releases and public relations pamphlets, and pressure group papers relating to the following: nuclear weapons, 1962-1985, arms control, including the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT and SALT 2), ballistic missile defence, 1974-1986, collective security, 1967-1986 and national and international defence including multilateral agreements, military actions and weapons procurement, 1969-1986. Of the papers a small quantity relate to Menaul's command of the British Atomic Trials, 1955-1956. Rather more personal and professional papers and correspondence reflect the organisations and companies with which he was associated from 1966 onwards.
A more detailed outline of the collection is given in the Brief List.
The bulk of the papers comprise Menaul's personal reference collection which was mainly established in the years following his retirement from the RAF. The broad subject and geographical groupings adopted by Menaul in his filing system have been retained and disordered material added in line with Menaul's own marking up or otherwise according to judgement on best fit. Within files, materials are grouped as Menaul left them since there is commonly a subject link among texts found in proximity. This, on occasion, gives the impression of considerable chronological disorder in the date of the appearance of articles and texts. Potential readers should also be aware that Menaul's interest in a given text did not necessarily reflect its obvious main focus. Since it was always known that this catalogue would be made available electronically a decision was taken to retain the material in the original order. Readers of the catalogue may wish to recreate chronological linkage using titles of newspapers, journals etc to suit their own research needs. Comments are invited by users on how far this approach has inhibited or facilitated research.
An overview of the scheme of arrangement is given in the Brief List.
CONDITIONS OF ACCESS AND USE
One file in section 6 is closed. The remainder is open subject to signature of the 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 College Archivist.
Mainly English, but some German, Spanish and French.