Skip to main content

The Autobiography of Captain Hank Rotherham

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RTHM

Scope and Contents

This autobiography is typed with some handwritten annotations. Rotherham deals with his early years in the opening pages and briefly summarises his life after leaving the navy in the last pages. The core of his autobiography is about his life in the British Royal Navy.


  • Creation: 1906 - 1979

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 holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Geoffrey Alexander Rotherham (known as Hank) was born 31 December 1906. He married Debbie Stairs in 1937 and they had four children. He died 8 December 2002.

Rotherham became a naval cadet at Dartmouth in 1919. He went on to serve on a number of ships including "HMS Durban" with the then Prince George, 1928-30; "HMS Glorious" and "HMS Furious", 1933-36; "HMS Courageous" 1938-39; "HMS Devonshire" in 1940; and others throughout WWII. He was the Fleet Air Arm observer responsible for setting in motion the hunt for the German battleship "Bismarck" in May 1941. In September 1939 he was serving in the aircraft carrier "Courageous" when she and 518 of her crew were sunk. In 1946 he accepted an appointment as Director of Naval Aviation in the Royal Canadian Navy and stayed until 1951. He later worked in real estate.


2 file(s)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Captain Rotherham sent this copy of his autobiography to the Keeper of Churchill Archives Centre between May and September 1978.


This collection (fonds) level description to the papers was prepared by Louise King of Churchill Archives Centre in August 2003 using information from the autobiography and Rotherham's obituaries in the Times and the Telegraph newspapers.


Rotherham, Geoffrey Alexander, 1906-2002, Captain RN

2003-08-07 12:24:58+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