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Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), 1939 - 1990

Reference Code: GBR/0014/BGND C

Scope and Contents

This section presents documentation of the history and activities of the LRDG. Bagnold intended to write a history of the LRDG from an early date and assembled material likely to be of interest. This includes original instructions for and reports of many LRDG operations and draft chapters of a 'war diary and narrative'. A lecture by Bagnold on 'Early Days of the Long Range Desert Group' was published in The Geographical Journal 105. nos. 1 and 2 (1945), but the contemporary history of the unit was written by W. B. K. Shaw, LRDG Intelligence Officer, and published as Long Range Desert Group (Collins, London, 1945).


  • Creation: 1939 - 1990

Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The papers are open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Biographical / Historical

Bagnold was recalled to the army in August 1939. He was originally posted to Kenya but his troopship collided in the Mediterranean en route and put in for repair in Egypt. General Wavell requested that Bagnold remain in the Middle East and he was posted to the signals unit of General Hobart's armoured division.

With the threat of Italy entering the war and launching an attack into Egypt through the Libyan Desert, Bagnold began pressing from November 1939 for the establishment of a unit prepared to undertake reconnaissance and small-scale raids in the desert behind enemy lines. Italy declared war in June 1940 and in July General Wavell gave Bagnold permission to establish the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) along the lines he had suggested. Initially all the LRDG were drawn from New Zealand forces, later Rhodesian and British patrols were formed. The LRDG was a great success and made a significant contribution to the Allied victory in North Africa. Bagnold was awarded the OBE (Military) in 1941.


2.5 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Maps used by the LRDG, and compiled using information supplied by them, may be found at D.70-D.96. Photographs of the LRDG may be found at E.45-E.54.

Date information

DateText: In some cases, dates given are the dates of expeditions. Some documents and accounts may have been produced at a later date.

Finding aid date

2015-12-08 14:28:48+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087