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The Papers of Rear-Admiral Iain Maclean

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MCLN

Scope and Contents

The papers chiefly consist of a series of lectures and papers on marine engineering written by Maclean after the Second World War, also including a small number of pocket diaries and some biographical material.


  • Creation: 1938 - 1966


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(s) and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Iain Maclean was born on 25 November 1902, son of Norman H. Maclean. He was educated at Cargilfield, then at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne [Isle of Wight] and Dartmouth [Devon]. In 1931 he married 1st, Evelyn Marjorie, daughter of R. A. and Mrs Winton Reid (having one step daughter); then 2nd, in 1973, he married Nancy Margaret, widow of E. A. Barnard.

Maclean joined the Navy as a cadet in 1916. During the Second World War he served in Combined Operations, and from 1941-43, was engineer officer of the battlecruiser HMS Renown. He was made a captain in 1945 and after the war commanded the stokers' training school at Torpoint in Cornwall. He also served at the Imperial Defence College in 1951 and on his promotion to Rear-Admiral in 1952 became Deputy Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet, 1952-55. Maclean retired from the Navy in November 1955, taking on the position of Director of Marine Development for the Brush Group, 1956-60, also carrying out a research survey for the National Ports Council, 1963-64.

Maclean is primarily remembered as being the engineer officer who updated the Navy's propulsion technology and restored mobility to the Fleet. He had seen how far ahead the United States Navy was in its ability to stay at sea for long periods during the war, and in 1944 Maclean instigated a series of design studies which played a key role in enhancing the capabilities of the post-war Navy. Maclean was awarded the OBE in 1944, and the CB in 1954. He died on 17 April 1988.


2 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation 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 Admiral Maclean's widow in 1988.


This finding aid was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in June 2005. Biographical information was taken from Who Was Who 1897-1996 (A&C Black) and Maclean's obituary in the Daily Telegraph.


Maclean, Iain Gilleasbuig, 1902-1988, of Pennycross, Rear-Admiral

2005-06-06 10:10:10.340000+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