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The Papers of Sir William Deakin

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DEAK

Scope and Contents

The collection largely comprises research papers, particularly about Yugoslavia [now Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia] during the Second World War, 1950s-1990s. In addition, a small number of papers concern Deakin's work on "Marlborough: His Life and Times", mainly consisting of typed transcripts of letters and documents used in research, and on Churchill's history of the Second World War.


  • Creation: 1935 - 1999

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

(Frederick) William (Dampier) Deakin was born 3 July 1913, the eldest son of Albert Witney Deakin of Aldbury, Tring, Hertfordshire. Deakin married Margaret Ogilvy, daughter of Sir Nicholas Beatson Bell in 1935 with whom he had two sons. The marriage was dissolved in 1940 and in 1943 Deakin married Livia Stela, daughter of Liviu Nasta Bucharest.

Deakin was educated at Westminster School, then at Christ Church, University of Oxford. He was a Fellow and Tutor at Wadham College, Oxford, 1936-49; Research Fellow, 1949; then Honorary Fellow, 1961. Deakin served in the Second World War of 1939-45 with the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, 1939-41, and was seconded to Special Operations, War Office, 1941. He led the first British Military Mission to Tito in May 1943 and was First Secretary at the British Embassy in Belgrade from 1945-46.

In addition to these positions, Deakin was a Literary Assistant to Sir Winston Churchill from 1936-1940 and also from 1945-55 and is described by Churchill's biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, as being "at the centre of the web of all Churchill's literary efforts." From 1936 onwards, Deakin was a literary assistant to Churchill on his biography of his famous ancestor, John, 1st Duke of Marlborough (which Churchill wrote between 1929-38).

He died at his home in the south of France on 22 January 2005.

His publications include: "The Brutal Friendship" (1962) and "The Embattled Mountain" (1971).


210 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

The papers relating to "Marlborough: His Life and Times" and Churchill’s history of the Second World War have been catalogued and copies of the catalogue are available for consultation in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre, at the National Register of Archives in London, and on the Janus website. Subsequent accessions have been box listed.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The main accession of papers was given to Churchill Archives Centre by Nicholas and Michael Deakin, 2005-9. The papers relating to “Marlborough: His Life and Times” were given by Sir William Deakin, via Sir Roger Tomkys, 2002. The papers relating to Churchill’s history of the Second World War were given by Sir William Deakin, 2004.

Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre holds the papers of Sir Winston Churchill (reference codes GBR/0014/CHAR and GBR/0014/CHUR). A complete catalogue of the Churchill Papers is available at Material relating to the compilation of "Marlborough: His Life and Times" can be found at GBR/0014/CHAR 8 and there is an oral history interview with Deakin at GBR/0014/CHOH 3.


"Marlborough: His Life and Times" by Winston S Churchill was originally published in 4 volumes by Harrap (London) between 1933 and 1938. Reference copies are available for consultation in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre.


This catalogue was prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in February 2003 using information from Deakin's entry in Who's Who (A & C Black) and from Martin Gilbert "In Search of Churchill: A Historian's Journey" (HarperCollins, London, 1995). The remainder of the collection was box listed by Sophie Bridges, January 2008 and July 2009.

Date information

DateText: 1935, 1951, 1950s-1990s (including transcriptions of original documents dated 1701-1713 and printed pamphlets dated 1921-1928).


Deakin, Sir Frederick William Dampier, 1913-2005, Knight and literary assistant to Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill



2003-02-06 13:54:57+00:00
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Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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