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The Papers of Commander John Owen

Reference Code: GBR/0014/OWEN

Scope and Contents

The papers chiefly consist of letters from Churchill to Owen while Owen was working as naval historical adviser to Churchill. All letters are typed, one has an extra hand-written paragraph. There are also a number of hand-written letters from Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes.


  • Creation: 1929 - 1941

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. . Material in this collection is open to researchers unless otherwise marked in the catalogue.

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

Born in Yorkshire in 1890, the son of a solicitor. Entered the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen. Midshipman, 1907. Lieutenant, 1912. Second in command of the submarine, C.10, May 1913-October 1915. Commanded the submarine C.5, operating in the North Sea, 1916. Commanded the submarine H.1, operating with the Italians in the Adriatic, against the Austrians, September 1916-May 1918. Among his subsequent commands was the submarine L.4 on the China Station, 1921-2. Second-in-command of the cruiser Calliope, 1925-6. Served with the Naval Intelligence Division, 1931-3. Commander, retired list, 1932. Author of historical articles in the Naval Review from 1925 and of a confidential history of mutiny in the Royal Navy (written in 1933, 'classified' until 1973). Author of "War at Sea Under Queen Anne", 1938. Served in the Naval Historical Section of the Admiralty, 1939-45, writing battle summaries to provide guidance for Admirals and their staffs. His only brother, a Lieutenant in the West Riding Regiment, was killed in the second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. Owen died in 1970.


2 file(s)

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 deposited at Churchill Archives Centre in 1997 by Owen's son, Captain C H H Owen RN.


Extracts of several of the letters from Churchill can be found in Companion Volumes V amd VI of Martin Gilbert's Biography.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue was prepared by Ruth Hammond in August 2005. Information was obtained from the papers themselves.


Owen, John Hely, 1890-1970, Naval Commander

2005-08-26 11:31:18.263000+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