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The Papers of Captain Henry Denham

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DENM

Scope and Contents

Papers comprising a memoir, correspondence and official papers about his work as Naval Attaché in Stockholm, 1940-5


  • Creation: 1940 - 1974

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

Henry Denham was born in Harrow on 9 September 1897, the son of Henry Mangles Denham and Helen Clara Lowndes. He married Estelle Margaret Sibbald Currie in 1924, with whom he had one son and two daughters.

He entered the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth, 1910. He served as a Midshipman in the battleship HMS Agamemnon, 1914-15, and later the destroyer HMS Racoon, and saw action during the Dardanelles campaign, 1915. He was sent by the Admiralty on a year's course at Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1919. He served in the cruiser HMS Renown, 1920, during the Prince of Wales' trip to Australia and New Zealand; the Rhine flotilla, commanding a small armed motor launch; and the battleship HMS Centurion in the Mediterranean. He spent a brief period in Austria in order to learn German. He was Divisional Officer in the boys' training ship HMS Impregnable at Devonport, 1924-6, and then Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Sir Osmond Brock at Portsmouth. From 1927 he spent five years in the Mediterranean in HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Warsprite. He was a student at the Staff College, 1935, promoted Commander, and commanded HMS Penelope, 1936-9.

He joined Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, 1939, where he created an Information Section. He was appointed Naval Attaché in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1940, but returned to London later that year when the Germans occupied Denmark. He was then posted as Naval Attaché in Stockholm, Sweden, 1940. He alerted the Admiralty to the movement of the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen into the Atlantic in May 1941. He retired from the Navy in 1947.

He was a keen sailor and after his retirement he pursued a career as a travel writer, producing a series of sea guides.

He died in London on 15 July 1993.

He was awarded the CMG, 1945.

His publications include: "The Aegean" (1963); "The Eastern Mediterranean" (1964); "The Adriatic" (1967); "The Tyrrhenian Sea" (1969); "The Ionian Islands to Rhodes" (1972); "Southern Turkey, the Levant and Cyprus" (1973); "The Ionian Islands to the Anatolian Coast" (1982); "Dardanelles: a Midshipman's Diary, 1915-16" (1981); and "Inside the Nazi Ring: a Naval Attaché in Sweden 1940-1945" (1984).


1 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Captain Henry Denham, 1982.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, November 2004. The papers have been listed. Biographical information was obtained from the website of the "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" and "Who's Who 1897-1996".

Date information

DateText: undated, 1940, [1947], 1972-6.


Denham, Henry Mangles, 1897-1993, Captain

2004-11-04 16:24:26+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