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The Papers of Denis Kelly

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DEKE

Scope and Contents

The papers mainly consist of Kelly's recollections of his work for Churchill, in the form of memoirs and other papers, taped interviews, and in correspondence, particularly with Churchill's official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert. There is also a small amount of correspondence dating back to Kelly's time as Churchill's literary assistant and two volumes of Winston Churchill's, "The Second World War" heavily annotated by Kelly, presumably for his own abridged version of these volumes.


  • Creation: 1937 - 1992


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is 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

Denis Kelly was born 31 January 1916, the eldest son of Richard Cecil Kelly, OBE and Joan Maisie Kelly, of Hyde Manor, Kingston, Sussex. He was educated at Marlborough College and then Balliol College, Oxford (where he studied History), and in 1945 married Anne Marie (the marriage was dissolved in 1954), only daughter of James Stuart Anderson, Hinton House, Christchurch; they had one daughter. During the war, Kelly served first in the Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, (1939-40), then in the Indian Mountain Artillery, in India and Burma [later Myanmar], (1941-45). During this time he had been called to the Bar, (in 1942), and Kelly's legal career included: the Midland and Oxford Circuit; Bencher (1976); Emeritus (1987); Blackstone Pupillage Prize (1947); Harmsworth Law Scholar (1948); Deputy Chairman, Kesteven Quarter Sessions, and Deputy Recorder of Bedford (1968); Alternate Chairman, Burnham Committee (1973)– However, Kelly was never really devoted to the legal profession, and after the war joined Winston Churchill's team, first as archivist, then as a literary assistant on Churchill's war memoirs, "The Second World War" and on "A History of the English Speaking Peoples", from 1947 to 1957. Kelly's own publications include an abridged version of Churchill's "The Second World War" (1959), and (with R. MacLeod) "The Ironside Diaries 1939-40" (1962). He died on 17 February 1990.


2.5 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Mrs A Kelly in March 1990, while the taped interview (DEKE 7) with Kelly was recorded and deposited in November 1979. DEKE 10-12 were transferred in June 2005 and February 2011 by Geeta Alvares Meneses.

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 "The Second World War" and "A History of the English Speaking Peoples" can be found at GBR/0014/CHUR 4 and GBR/0014/CHAR 8 and Kelly also recorded an oral history interview, at GBR/0014/CHOH 1.

Related Materials

Kelly also recorded his memoirs for the Imperial War Museum.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue were prepared by Katharine Thomson at Churchill Archives Centre in April 2003. Information was obtained from the papers themselves, and from Kelly's entry in Who's Who (A & C Black).

Date information

DateText: The majority of folios date from 1979 to 1989.


Kelly, Richard Denis Lucien, 1916-1990, lawyer, assistant to Sir Winston Churchill

2003-04-16 11:16:32+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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