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GROVES, Brig Gen Percy Robert Clifford (1878-1959)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Groves
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: GROVES, Brig Gen Percy Robert Clifford (1878-1959)
Date(s): 1898-1900, 1916-1945
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 0.08 cubic metres (8 boxes)
Name of creator(s): Groves | Percy Robert Clifford | 1878-1959 | Brigadier General


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1878; educated at Bedford; commissioned into the King's (Shropshire Light Infantry), 1899; served in Second Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1902; Railway Staff Officer, South Africa [1900]; Lt, 1901; service with West African Regt, 1903-1904; Capt, 1909; Territorial Adjutant, 1909-1912; service in Ireland, 1912; served in World War One, 1914-1918; service in France with the King's (Shropshire Light Infantry), British Expeditionary Force (BEF), 1914; transferred to Royal Flying Corps, 1914; served with Royal Flying Corps, as observer and pilot, Western Front, 1915; Maj, 1915; service in Dardanelles, 1915; temporary Lt Col, 1916; Chief of Staff, Royal Flying Corps, Middle East, 1916-1918; awarded DSO, 1916; temporary Brig Gen, 1918; awarded CMG, 1918; Director of Flying Operations, Air Ministry, 1918-1919; British Air Adviser to the Supreme Council and the Council of Ambassadors, Peace Conference, Versailles, France, 1919; Col, 1919; British Air Adviser to the Council of the League of Nations, 1919; awarded CB, 1919; transferred to RAF with rank of Group Capt, 1919; British Air Representative on the Inter-Allied Military Committee, Versailles, 1922; retired as Hon Brig Gen, 1922; Hon Secretary General, Air League of British Empire, and Editor of Air, 1927-1929; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; Group Capt and Hon Air Cdre, RAF Volunteer Reserve, 1939; Deputy Director of Intelligence, Air Ministry, 1939-1940; Political Warfare Executive, Foreign Office, 1940-1946; demobilised, 1946; Associate Fellow, Royal Aeronautical Society; retired to South Africa, 1948; died, 1959. Publications: Our future in the air (Hutchinson, London, 1922); Behind the smoke screen (Faber and Faber, London, 1934); and a further publication, Our future in the air (G G Harrap & Co, London, 1935).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, 1898-1900, 1916-1945, of Brig Gen Percy Robert Clifford Groves, mainly comprising material on the development of aviation policy and the evolution of the Royal Air Force in the interwar period, and also including material on the Royal Flying Corps in the Middle East during World War One. The papers include Groves' Boer war diary, 1900; photographs of operations of 'C' flight No 17 Squadron in the Sudan, undated [1916]; report on arrangements for No 17 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and the Aircraft Park allotted to the Salonika Army, 1916; lecture on the organisation and work of the Royal Flying Corps, 1917, and related papers; papers relating to the Air Section of the British Delegation of the Inter Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control (Commission Interalliée de Controle Aeronautique), 1919-1922; minutes of the Committee of Enquiry on the Air League of the British Empire, 1926-1927, and associated correspondence; papers relating to publications by Groves on aviation matters, 1927-[1938], including vols I and II of the periodical Air, 1927-1929, reviews and cuttings for Behind the smoke screen [1934] and Our future in the air [1935], and a further survey of air power, This Air Business [1938], which went unpublished owing to the outbreak of World War Two. Personal papers include Groves' commissions in the militia and land forces, 1898-1899; photographs relating to Groves' attendance at the Versailles peace conference (1919-1920); papers relating to promotion, 1919-1924; financial papers; press cuttings on public affairs to 1945.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and French

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged in six sections: Boer War diary; papers relating to the Royal Flying Corps; 'Air Papers'; minutes of Committee of Enquiry on Air League, 1926-1927; writings; private papers, news cuttings, etc.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Finding aids:

Collection level description available in reading room at Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives and online at; detailed catalogue available in hard copy in the reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Centre by Groves' family in 1976.

Allied Materials

Related material:

King's College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, holds papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, containing correspondence with Groves, 1933-1948 (Ref: LH 1/336), two reviews by Liddell Hart, from The Daily Telegraph, 25 Jan 1934, and the Army, Navy and Air Force Gazette, 1 Mar 1934, of Behind the smoke screen by Groves (Faber and Faber, London, 1934) (Ref: LH 10/1934/6 and 20), notes by Liddell Hart on Groves' article in The Observer concerning French air strength, 15 Feb 1937 (Ref: LH 11/1937/6), pamphlet by Groves entitled 'Unity or duality in the air?', 1936 (Ref: LH 15/3/146), and correspondence from Groves relating to The other side of the hill (Cassell, London, 1948) by Liddell Hart, 1948 (Ref: LH 9/24/4).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Iain Mutch; revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

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:
Nov 1999, Mar 2001

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