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National Maritime Museum

Chatfield, Alfred Ernle Montacute, (1873-1967)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 CHT

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Chatfield, Alfred Ernle Montacute, (1873-1967)

Date(s): [1932-1940]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 4 1/2ft; 122cm

Name of creator(s): Chatfield | Alfred Ernle Montacute | 1873-1967 | Admiral Of The Fleet | 1st Baron


Administrative/Biographical history:

Chatfield entered the Navy in 1886, was promoted to lieutenant in 1894 and to captain in 1909. He was captain of the Medina during the Royal Tour of King George V and Queen Mary to India, 1911 to 1912, and later Flag-Captain to Admiral Beatty (1871-1936), 1913 to 1919, combining this duty with responsibility for fleet gunnery in the Queen Elizabeth, 1917 to 1919. He was a delegate to the Washington Naval Conference of 1920, becoming a rear-admiral in that year and he subsequently held a variety of Admiralty and sea-going appointments. He was promoted to vice-admiral in 1926. In 1929 he was Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet and of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1930 to 1932. He was First Sea Lord, 1933 to 1938, became Admiral of the Fleet in 1935 and was made a baron in 1937. He was appointed Minister of Co-ordination of Defence, with a seat in the War Cabinet, by Neville Chamberlain in 1939, after serving as chairman of a committee which reported on the defence of India. In April 1940 he resigned as he felt the post was rendered redundant. During the rest of the war he was appointed to various civil defence committees. He wrote two autobiographical works: The navy and defence (London, 1942) and it might happen again (London, 1947).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Alfred Ernle Montacute Chatfield, consisting mainly of semi-official and private letters, 1932 to 1940, from Churchill (1874-1965), Lord Lothian (1882-1940), Admirals Sir Roger Backhouse (1878-1939), Sir Frederic Dreyer (1878-1956), Sir W.W. Fisher (q.v.), Lord Beatty (1871-1936), Sir John Kelly (q.v.), Sir (William) Howard Kelly (q.v.), Sir Charles Little (1882-1973), Sir Eric Fullerton (q.v).), Sir Dudley Pound (1877-1943) and other commanders-in-chief. The topics referred to in this correspondence include the battle of Jutland, 1916, the Invergordon Mutiny, 1931, the Naval Disarmament Conference, 1935, the Abyssinia crisis, 1935, the Spanish Civil War, 1936, the problems of defence and rearmament during the 1930s, international relations and control of the Fleet Air Arm. There are also photograph albums relating to the Royal Tour of India, the Mediterranean Command and the India Mission.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were presented in 1973 by the family.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Defence | State security
Mutiny | Crime
Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) | Civil war | Political movements
World War One (1914-1918) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)

Personal names
Backhouse | Sir | Roger | 1878-1939 | Knight | Admiral
Beatty | David | 1871-1936 | 1st Earl Beatty of the North Sea and of Brooksby | Admiral of the Fleet
Chatfield | Alfred Ernie Montacute | 1873-1967 | 1st Baron Chatfield of Ditchling | Admiral of the Fleet
Churchill | Sir | Winston Leonard Spencer | 1874-1965 | Knight | statesman
Dreyer | Sir | Frederick Charles | 1878-1956 | Knight | Admiral
Fisher | Sir | William Wordsworth | 1875-1937 | Knight | Admiral
Fullerton | Sir | Eric John Arthur | 1878-1962 | Knight | Admiral
Kelly | Sir | John Donald | 1871-1936 | Knight | Admiral of the Fleet
Kelly | Sir | William Archibald Howard | 1873-1952 | Knight | Admiral
Kerr | Philip Henry | 1882-1940 | 11th Marquess of Lothian | statesman
Little | Sir | Charles James Colebrooke | 1882-1973 | naval officer
Pound | Sir | Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers | 1877-1943 | Knight | Admiral of the Fleet

Corporate names

Ethiopia | East Africa
India | South Asia
Mediterranean Sea | Seas