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The Papers of Ronald Lewin

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RLEW

Scope and Contents

Papers and correspondence relating to his books on World War II. The papers are mostly organised round the different books that Ronald Lewin published and, for the most part, comprise correspondence with Lewin or his notes from interviews with people who were colleagues of the military leaders about whom he wrote or who worked in operations he was describing.


  • Creation: 1890 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is mostly 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

(George) Ronald Lewin was born in October 1914 in Halifax, Yorkshire. He was educated at Heath Grammar School in Halifax and the Queen's College, Oxford

In 1937 he was appointed as an editorial assistant to the publishers Jonathan Cape. He joined the Territorial Army as a gunner early in 1939, and served in the Royal Artillery during World War Two.

He served in North Africa with the Eighth Army, and with the Twenty-First Army group in north-west Europe from June 1944 until the end of the war. By the end of the War he had reached the rank of Captain.

After the war he worked at again at Jonathan Cape until joining the BBC in 1946 as a talks producer on the Third Programme. In 1954 he became chief assistant, Home Service, its head from 1957, and its chief in 1963. He set up the Music programme and initiated the Today programme and other successful series. He retired ill in 1965. He then returned to publishing, joining Hutchinson and specialised in producing works of military history and wartime studies.

He subsequently published "Rommel as Military Commander" (1968), "Montgomery as Military Commander" (1971), edited "Freedom's Battle, vol 3: the War on Land, 1939-45" (1969), "Churchill as War Lord" (1973); Man of Armour: Lieut-General Vyvyan Pope and the development of armoured warfare, 1976. He was chosen to write the official biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim, "Slim the Standard-Bearer" (1976), "The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps" (1977), "Ultra goes to war" (1978); "The Chief: Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy", (1980) and " The Other Ultra: codes, ciphers and the defeat of Japan " (1982); and Hitler's Mistakes" (published posthumously in 1984).

Lewin was appointed CBE for services to military history in 1983, and received the Chesney gold medal of the Royal United Services Institute. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (1977) and of the Royal Historical Society (1980).

He died in January 1984.


37 archive box(es)

1 rolled item(s) (1 roll)

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. .A more detailed catalogue is available at Churchill Archives Centre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were presented to Churchill College by Lewin's widow, Sylvia Lewin, in two batches in 1984 and 1985

Related Materials

See also material by Lewin relating to his biography of Lord Slim (SLIM)


This collection (fonds) level description and summary catalogue was produced by Andrew Riley of Churchill Archives Centre in August 2005 using a fuller existing catalogue and information from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). In 2013, the complete catalogue was converted to electronic form by Gemma Cook.


Lewin, George Ronald, 1914-1984, military historian

2005-05-13 09:44:27+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