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The Papers of Rear-Admiral Malcolm Walter St Leger Searle

Reference Code: GBR/0014/SRLE

Scope and Contents

The Searle papers comprise the reminiscences of Admiral Searle of his service as a gunnery expert before and during the Second World War.


  • Creation: 1917 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers at Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Searle was born in Cape Colony, South Africa in December 1900 and having been accepted as Dominion cadet to enter the Royal Navy by Gen. Jan Smuts in 1912, studied at the Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth, 1914-17.

He served in the European War, 1914-19 (Grand Fleet and Baltic, 1917-19); he then specialised in gunnery, in 1927 and was made Commander in 1936 (Anti-aircraft). Searle served in the War of 1939-45 as: Fleet Gunnery Officer, Home Fleet, 1939-41; was posted to HMS Sheffield, Mediterranean and Arctic, 1941-43; became Captain in 1943; was Chief Staff Officer to Vice-Admiral, E Fleet, 1943-44 and Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief East Indies Fleet, 1944-46. After the war he became Director of Plans (Q), Naval Staff, 1948-51, then Commodore, RN Barracks, Portsmouth, 1951, Rear-Admiral 1952, Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel, 1953-55 and finally retired in 1956.

He was awarded CB in 1955 and CBE 1945. He died in 1994.


17 folder(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 (NRA), London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Searle papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by the Admiral himself and by his literary executor designate, James Dixon, between 1977 and 1984. Certain items were also added to the collection by the late Captain Stephen Roskill. Additional Searle papers were added to the collection in December 2000. These mainly came from James Dixon in 1994, but also included a revised copy of "The Abandonment of Scapa Flow - Oct 1939", sent by Admiral Searle in July 1991, and a copy of Searle's "The Story of HMS Carlisle's 3.7" Battery", sent by Janice Mead in June 1994.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue were automated by Andrew Riley of Churchill Archives Centre from an existing list in July 2004. Biographical information was obtained from " Who Was Who 1897-1996" (A & C Black).


Searle, Malcolm Walter St Leger, 1900-1994, Rear-Admiral

2004-07-05 16:47:28+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