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Lewin, Admiral Of The Fleet, Lord Terence (1923-1999)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 LWN
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Lewin, Admiral Of The Fleet, Lord Terence (1923-1999)
Date(s): [1949-1999]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 40 boxes
Name of creator(s): Lewin | Terence Thornton | 1920-1999 | Baron Lewin | Admiral of the Fleet


Administrative/Biographical history:

Terence Lewin was born in Dover in 1923. Educated at the Judd School in Tonbridge, he joined HMS BELFAST as a naval cadet shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939. After serving aboard the battleship HMS VALIANT, Lewin joined the destroyer HMS ASHANTI. In ASHANTI, he took part in convoys to Murmansk and later to the Mediterranean as part of Operation Pedestal, the vital convoys keeping Malta supplied. Lewin distinguished himself in action, being mentioned in dispatches 3 times and was awarded the DSC. After the war he rose to post rank and commanded the destroyer CORUNNA, before the Dartmouth Training Sqaudron, and then in the Indian Ocean in 1967, the aircraft carrier HMS HERMES in the lead up to the Arab-Israeli war. Lewin was made Rear Admiral in 1968 and by 1977 had become First Sea Lord. As Chief of Defence Staff, he played a prominent role in the decision to replace the Polaris missile system with the Trident system. Also as Chief of Defence Staff, he was Mrs Thatcher's main military adviser during the Falklands conflict (1982), for which, on his retirement, he was made a life peer (1982) and KG in 1983. In retirement he was as active as ever, patron of many societies and much in demand as a public speaker on naval and maritime subjects. He was Chairman of the National Maritime Museum between 1983 and 1995. He was also President of the George Cross Island Association and played a leading role in planning the 50th Anniversary of the siege of Malta and the giant memorial bell erected in its memory. He also became very interested in the explorations of Captain Cook and contributed to the foundation of a Cook museum in Middlesbrough. Lewin died in 1999, aged 78. See also Richard Hill's biography of the Admiral, Lewin of Greenwich (2000).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Lord Terence Lewin. The bulk of the collection relates to the period following Lewin's retirement from the Navy. There are substantial numbers of lecture notes, together with correspondence concerning Defence policy and organisation, the Falklands conflict, the George Cross Island Association, the Siege of Malta anniversary and memorial and various maritime societies. Also featured are a small amount of naval documents, including midshipman's journals from HMS VALIANT, Order books for HMS CORUNNA, URCHIN and HERMES, Lewin's paybook from 1949 and his 'metioned in dispatches' certificates. Also included are a folder concerning the loss of HMS SOMALI, (a destroyer that was torpedoed and then broke in two whilst being towed by HMS ASHANTI), photo albums of the aircraft carrier, HMS HERMES, and a notebook kept by Lewin as Chief of Defence Staff during the Falklands campaign. The 'Personal Papers' section includes school reports and certificates, together with honours such as his Barony, Grant of Arms and Warrant of Appointment. The collection is also well served with photos of Lewin at varying stages of his career.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged into six sections or series:

LWN/1: Official records of Lewin's naval career. LWN/2: Naval career- unofficial material: Folders of background material collected by Lewin, often including official government reports and papers. LWN/3: Post naval career: public projects as Admiral (retired): Correspondence, lecture material and public projects Lewin became involved with after retiring from the Royal Navy. LWN/4: Post naval career: personal correspondence: Personal correspondence relating to various projects in which Lewin became involved after retirement from the Royal Navy. LWN/5: Personal papers: school reports, honours and photographs. LWN/6 Personal papers: biographical material.

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 Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Museum acquired the papers in 2000, following the death of Lord Lewin. Further items were donated by the family in 2007 and have been added towards the end of each series, meaning the colllection does not run in strict chronological order.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jul 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:

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