King's College London
Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives

King's College London
Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives

Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900-1975

Name
ROBERTSON, Sir William (Robert) (1860-1933), Field Marshal

Service biography
service in the ranks, 16 Lancers 1877-1888; Lt, 3 Dragoon Guards 1888; railway transport officer, Miranzai and Black Mountain Expeditions, North West Frontier, India 1891; Staff Capt and Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General, Intelligence, Simla, India 1892-1896; Intelligence Officer, Headquarters Chitral Relief Force, India 1895; Staff College 1896; Staff Capt, Intelligence Department, War Office 1899-1900; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General Intelligence, Army Headquarters, South Africa 1900; Assistant Quartermaster General (Intelligence) and General Staff Officer Grade 1, Army Headquarters 1901-1907; Assistant Quartermaster General, Aldershot 1907; Brig Gen, General Staff, Aldershot 1907-1910; Commandant, Staff College 1910-1913; Director of Military Training, War Office 1913-1914; World War I 1914-1918; Quartermaster General, British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1914; Chief of General Staff, British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1915; Chief of the Imperial General Staff, War Office 1915-1918; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command 1918; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, UK Forces in Great Britain 1918-1919; Commander-in-Chief, British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) 1919-1920; FM 1920; retired 1921

Papers
LIDDELL HART CENTRE FOR MILITARY ARCHIVES: Papers 1898-1925 (eight boxes), including; correspondence with Lt Gen Sir John Steven Cowans, Quartermaster General, War Office 1914; correspondence with Lt Gen Sir Ronald Charles Maxwell, Quartermaster General, British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1914; correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Stanley Brenton Von Donop, Master General of the Ordnance, relating to supply of munitions 1914-1915; official correspondence 1914-1918, with Sir Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, with Lt Col Arthur John Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, and with Col Clive Wigram, private secretaries to King George V; correspondence of FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome 1914-1916, with Herbert Henry Asquith, (Joseph) Austen Chamberlain, Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill, FM Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, Sir Edward Grey and Robertson; official correspondence and memoranda as Chief of General Staff, General Headquarters, France 1915. Correspondents include Arthur James Balfour, Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, David Lloyd George, FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, Lt Gen Sir Archibald James Murray and Lt Gen Sir Henry Hughes Wilson; private correspondence as Chief of General Staff, General Headquarters, France 1915, with Arthur James Balfour, with Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe, and with Lt Gen Sir Herbert Charles Plumer; reports by General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force (BEF), France 1915; private correspondence with Gen Sir Douglas Haig, France 1915-1918; private correspondence with Maj Gen Charles Edward Callwell, Director of Military Operations, War Office 1915, relating to the Balkans and the Dardanelles; documents prepared for the conference of Allied Army representatives, Chantilly, France, 6-8 Dec 1915; correspondence with Gen Sir Archibald James Murray, Egypt 1915; War Cabinet papers relating to operations in the Middle East 1915-1917; Army Council and War Cabinet memoranda relating to manpower 1915-1918; telegrams to and from Robertson as Chief of the Imperial General Staff 1916-1917. Correspondents include Gen Sir Edmund (Henry Hyman) Allenby, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Gen Sir Douglas Haig, France, Lt Gen Sir John Hanbury-Williams, Russia, Lt Gen Sir Launcelot Edward Kiggell, France, FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, War Office, Gen Sir Percy Henry Noel Lake, Mesopotamia, Lt Gen Sir Bryan MacMahon Mahon, Gallipoli and Salonika, Lt Gen Sir William Raine Marshall, Salonika and Mesopotamia, Lt Gen Sir (Frederick) Stanley Maude, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, Lt Gen George Francis Milne, Salonika, Gen Sir Charles Carmichael Monro, India, Gen Sir Archibald James Murray, Egypt, and Lt Gen Jan Christian Smuts, War Office; private correspondence as Chief of the Imperial General Staff 1916-1918. Correspondents include Gen Sir Edmund (Henry Hyman) Allenby, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, Arthur James Balfour, Maj Gen (George) Tom (Molesworth) Bridges, USA, Lt Gen Frederick Rudolph Cavan, 10th Earl of Cavan, Italy, (Joseph) Austen Chamberlain, Gen Sir Beauchamp Duff, India, AF John Arbuthnot Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, Maj Gen Sir Eric (Campbell) Geddes, Sir Edward Grey, Lt Gen Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, Adm Sir Henry Bradwardine Jackson, Adm Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, Lt Gen Sir Bryan MacMahon Mahon, Salonika, Lt Gen Sir (Frederick) Stanley Maude, Mesopotamia, Gen Sir John Grenfell Maxwell, Ireland, Lt Gen Sir Herbert Scott Gould Miles, Gibraltar, Lt Gen George Francis Milne, Salonika, Gen Sir Herbert Charles Plumer, Gen Sir Henry Seymour Rawlinson, Lt Col Edward Louis Spiers, Lt Gen Jan Christian Smuts, V Adm Sir Rosslyn Erskine Wemyss, Gen Sir Henry Hughes Wilson, Gen Sir (Francis) Reginald Wingate, Sudan; official correspondence relating to India and Egypt 1916-1918, with Gen Sir Edmund (Henry Hyman) Allenby, Gen Sir Beauchamp Duff, Gen Sir Charles Carmichael Monro and Gen Sir Archibald James Murray; official correspondence relating to the Western Front and Italy 1916-1918, with Gen Count Luigi Cadorna, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, Lt Gen George Francis Milne, Gen Robert Georges Nivelle, Lt Gen Sir Hebert Charles Plumer and Lt Gen Sir Henry Hughes Wilson; official correspondence 1916-1918, with Prime Minister David Lloyd George; official correspondence with Col Sir Maurice Pascal Alers Hankey, Committee of Imperial Defence 1916-1917; official correspondence with Gen Sir (Francis) Reginald Wingate, Sudan 1916-1917; Dardanelles Commission Report 1917; War Cabinet papers relating to allies Russia and USA 1917-1918; papers relating to the establishment and running of the Supreme Inter-Allied War Council 1917-1918; private correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Frederick Barton Maurice, Director of Military Operations, War Office 1917-1918; official correspondence with Lt Gen Jan Christian Smuts, War Office 1917; papers relating to events leading to Robertson's resignation as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Jan-Feb 1918; letters from Leopold Stennett Amery, War Cabinet, and Lt Gen Frederic Rudolph Cavan, 10th Earl of Cavan, Italy, to Gen Sir Henry Hughes Wilson as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, War Office Apr 1918; memoranda by Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Armies 1918-1919; correspondence as Commander-in-Chief Forces, Great Britain 1919; official papers as Commander-in-Chief, British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) 1919; official correspondence with Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill, Secretary of State for War and for Air 1919-1920; the papers of Lt Gen Sir (George) Sidney Clive, Head of British Mission to French General Headquarters, include correspondence with Robertson 1917-1918 (12 items, ref: Clive 1); the papers of Brig Gen Sir James Edward Edmonds include 12 letters from Robertson to Edmonds 1905-1929; the papers of Gen Sir Alexander John Godley include letters from Robertson 1910-1932 (ref: Godley 3/556-615); the papers of Lt Gen Sir Launcelot Edward Kiggell include correspondence with Robertson relating to operations on the Western Front 1915-1917 (ref: Kiggell 4/1-11); the papers of Maj Gen Sir Frederick Maurice include five letters from Robertson as former Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Apr-May 1918, advising Maurice on the best way to confront Lloyd George (ref: Maurice 4/5/17, 19-21, 24); the Maurice papers also include a single letter from Robertson, Dec 1932, with disparaging comment on Brig Gen Sir James Edward Edmonds' writing on the War Office, World War I (one page, ref: Maurice 3/5/201) BRITISH LIBRARY, DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS, LONDON: The papers of Gen Sir Archibald James Murray include correspondence with Robertson 1916-1917 relating to the Mediterranean and the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (ref: Add Mss 52461-52463: copy in Imperial War Museum); CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS: The papers of Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, include correspondence with Robertson 1916-1917 (ref: Hardinge); IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON: The papers of Howell Arthur Gwynne, editor of The Morning Post (ref: Con Shelf), include correspondence with Robertson, discussing the progress of the war, and Robertson's relations with David Lloyd George 1915-1919 (46 items); the papers of Gen Sir Archibald Murray include correspondence with Robertson 1916-1917 (ref: 79/48/4, B6: duplicate of original in British Library); the papers of FM Sir Henry Hughes Wilson include correspondence with Robertson 1917-1920 (ref: HHW)

Publications
How goes the war [an interview with Sir William Robertson] reprinted from The New York Times (Darling & Son, New York, 1917); From Private to Field Marshal (Constable & Co, London, 1921); Soldiers and statesmen (Cassell & Co, London, 1926); George A Leask: Sir William Robertson (Cassell & Co, London, 1917); Edward W Walters: From the ranks to Chief of Staff: the romantic life story of General Sir William Robertson (H Kelly, London, 1918); Victor Bonham Carter: Soldier true: the life and times of Field Marshal Sir William Robertson, GCB, GCMG, KCVO, DSO, 1860-1933 (Frederick Muller, London, 1963); David R Woodward: The military correspondence of Field Marshal Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, December 1915 - February 1918 (Army Records Society, London, 1989)

Index terms
SUBJECTS staff 1914-1921; supply 1914-1915; strategy 1914-1918; civil military relations 1915-1918
PLACES France 1914-1918; Western Front 1914-1918; North West Europe 1914-1919; Gallipoli 1915; Eygpt 1915-1917; Middle East 1915-1918; Palestine 1917; Turkey 1917; Balkans 1915-1918; South Asia 1915-1918; South Europe 1916-1918; Germany 1919
NAMES FM Edmund (Henry Hyman) Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe 1916-1918; Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith 1914-1916; Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour 1915-1918; Sir (Joseph) Austen Chamberlain 1914-1916; Lt Gen Sir (George) Tom (Molesworth) Bridges 1916-1918; FM Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres 1914-1916; Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Falloden 1914-1918; FM Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig 1915-1918; Maurice Pascal Alers Hankey, 1st Baron Hankey of The Chart 1916-1917; AF Sir Henry Bradwardine Jackson 1916-1918; AF John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe 1916-1918; David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor 1915-1918;FM George Francis Milne, 1st Baron Milne of Salonika and Rubislaw, Aberdeen 1916-1918; FM Herbert Charles Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer of Messines and Bilton, Yorkshire 1915-1918; Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby of Wonersh 1914-1918; Gen Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent, Dorset 1916-1918;Gen Brian Hubert Robertson, 1st Baron Robertson of Oakridge (son); Maj Gen Sir Edward Louis Spears (formerly Spiers) 1916-1918; AF Rosslyn Erskine Wemyss, 1st Baron Wester Wemyss of Wemyss 1916-1918; Col Clive Wigram, 1st Baron Wigram of Clewer 1914-1918

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