Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
Papers of Lt Col Sir Albert Gerald Stern, KBE, CMG (1878-1966)
Reference code: GB99 KCLMA Stern
Title: STERN, Lt Col Sir Albert Gerald (1878-1966)
Dates of creation of material: 1915-1959, 1964, 1994
Level of description:file level and item level
Extent: 0.28m3 or 28 boxes of papers
Born in 1878; educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford; entered family merchant banking business, becoming a partner in 1904; Lt, Armoured Car Division, Royal Naval Air Service, 1914; Secretary, Landships Committee, Admiralty and War Office, 1915-1916; Chairman, Tank Supply Committee and Director, Tank Supply Department (later Mechanical Warfare Supply Department), Ministry of Munitions, 1916-1917; Lt Col 1916; member, Inter-Allied Tank Bureau, 1917-1918; Commissioner for Mechanical Warfare (Overseas and Allies), Ministry of Munitions, 1917-1918; British Commissioner, Anglo-American Commission, 1918; publication of Tanks, 1914-1918: the log-book of a pioneer (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1919); returned to work as a banker, 1919-1939; Chairman, Special Vehicle Development Committee, Ministry of Supply, 1939-1943; member of Tank Board, 1941; died in 1966.
The Stern papers were received in two major gifts in 1962 and 1976, the first directly to the Centre, the second via the Kent County Council Secretary and Solicitor's Department.
The papers mainly concern Stern's role in the development and production of armoured fighting vehicles in World War One and World War Two. They principally comprise correspondence, memoranda and minutes relating to the Landships Committee, 1915-1916, and the Tank Supply Committee, Tank Supply Department (later Mechanical Warfare Supply Department) Mechanical Warfare (Overseas and Allies) Department, 1916-1918 and Anglo-American Commission, 1918; progress reports and memoranda on design and construction of landships, 1915; plans, drawings and blueprints for landships and tanks, 1915-1916; 'Notes on the employment of tanks' by Col Ernest Dunlop Swinton, printed at the Foreign Office, 1916; 'Mechanical warfare, a summary of British tank development, 1914-1918', typescript text by Stern, ; papers relating to the establishment of the Allied Tank Factory at Neuvy Pailloux, Chateauroux, France, dated 1917-1918; notes and reports by Lt J Rackham and George Watson relating to the use of tanks on the Western Front, 1917; 'The tactical employment of tanks in 1918', unofficial report by Col John Frederick Charles Fuller, 1917; correspondence and memoranda relating to Ministry of Supply Special Vehicle Development Committee and the Tank Board, 1939-1943, and the design and development of TOG heavy tanks, 1939-1944, including correspondence with Rt Hon Edward Leslie Burgin, Minister of Supply, 1939-1940, Rt Hon Herbert Stanley Morrison, Minister of Supply, 1940, Rt Hon Sir Andrew Rae Duncan, Minister of Supply, 1940-1941 and 1942, Rt Hon William Maxwell Aitken Beaverbrook, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Minister of Supply, 1941-1942, Sir James Lithgow, Chairman of the Tank Board, 1941, and Rt Hon Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill 1940-1942, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defence, Sir William Tritton of William Foster and Company, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and Cdr Rowland H Stokes-Rees, 1943-1944; official reports by Lt Col Gordon Hall on British and Italian use of tanks in the Middle East, 1940-1941, dated 1941; specifications and technical reports relating to tanks, 1939-1944; minutes of Special Vehicle Development Committee, 1939-1942; papers relating to investigation of Stern's position in the Ministry of Supply, 1942, dated 1939-1942, including transcriptions of interviews with Stern, 1942; correspondence and memoranda relating to Stern's evidence before the Sub-Committee on National Production and Supply of the House of Commons Select Committee on National Expenditure; publications and printed material relating to tanks, 1915-1919, 1939-1946, 1959; photographs, 1915-1918, 1939-1945, principally comprising British, French and Canadian official photographs of tanks, 1915-1918; photographs of TOG tanks, 1939-1942; films concerning the development of the tank, 1918, 1941-1942, 1957. Other papers relating to his life and career, notably including photographs relating to his service with the Royal Naval Air Service, 1914-1915; copies of personal correspondence, 1918-1919.
Originally, the first deposit was arranged chronologically and by material type; the second was arranged in Kent by record type: correspondence, reports, etc.
In 1999 the two catalogues were integrated chronologically. This includes photocopies of personal correspondence (section 1/17), the originals of which are held at the Centre for Kentish Studies.
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.
Mainly English; some papers in French.
Locations of originals
Originals of photocopied personal correspondence are in the Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone.
Existence of copies
The Imperial War Museum has copies of the films.
Related units of description
The papers of Walter Gordon Wilson comprise pages of Stern's Tanks, 1914-1918: the log-book of a pioneer (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1919), with annotations by Wilson, 1920 (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Wilson W G). The papers of Maj John W Mills include an article from The Times on Stern's involvement with tank design, 1914-1945, written by Philip Howard in 1977 (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Mills).
The Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, holds additional material, mainly personal and family papers, 1915-1959. The Imperial War Museum has a model of a tank.
Men, ideas and tanks by J P Harris (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1995) contains references to the Stern papers.
Last modified: Monday, 08-Aug-2005 13:20:00 BST
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