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The Papers of Captain Godfrey Alexander French

Reference Code: GBR/0014/GDFR

Scope and Contents

The papers cover Captain French's career from 1930, when he attended the R.N. Staff College at Greenwich, until his retirement in 1978.


  • Creation: 1914 - 1987


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 holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical history of French: 1 July 1900, Born 1913-16, Cadet at R.N. College Osborne, Dartmouth and Keyham. 1916, Midshipman in HMS Emperor of India in Grand Fleet 1917, Sub-Lieutenant and First Lieutenant of HMS Nith 1919-20, Undergraduate at Selwyn College, Cambridge 1920, Technical courses in navigation, gunnery etc. 1920-22, HMS Orion and HMS Valiant 1922, Specialised in Long Navigation Course 1923-29, Navigating Officer of various HM Ships on Home and Africa Station, including Cadet -Training Ship 1926, Advanced Navigation Specialist Course 1926-28, Teaching and Directing Staff of HM Navigation School 1929, Navigating Officer of cruiser HMS Lowestoft, Africa Station 1930-31, R.N. Staff College, Greenwich Tactical and Ship Handling Course 1931-34, Navigating Officer aircraft carrier HMS Glorious, Mediterranean Station 1934-36, Commander, Fleet Navigating Officer and Staff Officer Operations, American and West Indies Station 1937-39, Member of the Directing and Teaching Staff, R.N. Staff College, Greenwich 1939-40, Executive Officer and 2nd in Command HMS Furious, Norwegian Campaign and Atlantic Operations 1940-42, Captain, Senior Naval Member of Executive Planning Section of Joint Planning Staff under Chief of Staff's Committee. 1942-43, Commanding cruiser HMS Hawkins, Eastern Fleet in Indian Ocean 1943-44, Commodore, director of Training Royal Indian Navy 1944-46, Deputy Director of Plans, Admiralty 1946, Imperial Defence Course 1944-47, Chief of Staff to Naval Commander in Field Marshal Lord Montgomery's major staff exercise "Spearhead" 1947-48, Commanding HMS Norfolk, Flagship of East Indies Station 1949, Tactical School 1950, Retired from active service. Working for Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty 1951, C.B.E. 1951-54, created Commodore and re-employed as Chief of Staff and Commander- in-Chief, Indian Navy 1954-62, Admiralty Regional Officer for S. W. Region, Bristol 1962-78, In Hydrographic Department revising Sailing Directive (16 volumes) 1 July 1978, Retired from the employment of the Royal Navy on his 78th birthday


14 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this catalogue are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Captain French deposIted the first part of his collection at Churchill College in 1976, following this in 1978 with a second and larger consignment

Related Materials

Captain French has deposited the papers relating to his work for the Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty (1962-1978) with the National Maritime Museum, London.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue was prepared by Andrew Riley of Churchill Archives Centre in March 2005. Additional information was taken from the original catalogue compiled at Churchill Archives Centre.


French, Godfrey Alexander, b. 1900, Captain RN

2005-03-31 10:32:27+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