Skip to main content

British Naval Intelligence Papers, mainly of Donald McLachlan and Patrick Beesly.

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MLBE

Scope and Contents

The collection includes: McLachlan's papers for "Room 39"; Beesly's papers for "Very Special Intelligence" and for "Very Special Admiral"; and papers of Commander Lloyd Hirst, an intelligence officer.


  • Creation: 1926 - 1980

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

This collection of papers was assembled by Captain Stephen Roskill, naval historian and former Keeper of the Archives at Churchill Archives Centre, "to bring together under one heading the papers and correspondence of two of the best qualified and most successful writers on British Naval Intelligence in the 20th century - the late Donald McLachlan and Patrick Beesly" (Introduction to catalogue). A biographical history of Stephen Roskill can be found in the introduction to his own archive (reference GBR/0014/ROSK).


7 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



This collection is an artificial construct as it brings together papers, which were created by three entirely separate individuals, by virtue of their subject matter. However, almost all the papers were in Beesly's custody prior to deposit at Churchill Archives Centre which also links them together. When the original catalogue of the collection was prepared, it was hoped that Lord Denning's papers would also be deposited and they were provisionally assigned the reference code MLBE 4. In fact Denning's papers were deposited at the National Maritime Museum. The collection has been arranged into series

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued and paper copies of the catalogue are available in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

With the exception of one file, which was deposited by McLachlan, the collection was deposited by Beesly in 5 separate deposits between 1967 and 1983.


This collection level description and catalogue were prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in November 2004, using information from the typescript catalogue which had been prepared by Captain Stephen Roskill in 1981.


Roskill, Stephen Wentworth, 1903-1982, naval historian

2004-11-08 14:40:39+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