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LAYCOCK, Maj Gen Sir Robert Edward (1907-1968)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Laycock
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: LAYCOCK, Maj Gen Sir Robert Edward (1907-1968)
Date(s): 1923-1968
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 34 boxes
Name of creator(s): Laycock | Sir | Robert Edward | 1907-1968 | Knight | Major General
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born 1907; educated at Eton College and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; joined Royal Horse Guards, Mar 1927, 2nd Lt, 1927; Lt 1930; Capt 1934; married Angela Claire Louise (ne Dudley Ward), 1935; instructor on anti-gas and air defence measures, School of Military Engineering, Chatham, Dec 1937; General Staff Officer, Grade 3 (passive air defence) in department of Chief of Imperial General Staff, Dec 1938; General Staff Officer, Grade 2, chemical warfare section, British Expeditionary Force Headquarters, France, 1939-1940; joined Combined Operations, 1940; Lt Col 1941; commanded Special Service Brigade LAYFORCE, Feb-Aug 1941 and Middle East Commando, Aug 1941-Aug 1942; Brig, 1942; commanded Special Service Brigade, organizing and training all commandos in Britain, 1942-1943; Maj Gen 1943; Chief of Combined Operations, Oct 1943-1947; retired 1947; Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta, 1954-1959; Col Commandant, Special Air Service (SAS) and Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 1960-1968. Died 1968.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal and military papers of Major General Sir Robert Edward Laycock, 1923-1968, chiefly relating to service with Special Service Brigade and as Chief of Combined Operations, 1940-1946. Includes papers on volunteering for Special Service Brigade, including completed application forms for volunteer Commando officers, 1940. Papers on Special Service Brigade training 1940-1941, including gas, bayonet and signalling training. Memoranda, reports, instructions and other papers, 1940-1942, relating to LAYFORCE (commanded by Laycock in the Middle East), including papers on the Folbot Section (later to become Special Boat Service). Papers on Special Service Brigade, [1941-1946], including memoranda, reports, minutes, papers on their reorganisation, disbandment and the future of Combined Operations, also including papers belonging to Lord George Jellicoe relating to Special Service Brigade in the Middle East; reports and other papers on Special Service Brigade operations, notably Operation TORCH, (the invasion of North West Africa, Nov 1942) and Operation HUSKY, (the invasion of Sicily, Jun 1943). Laycock's official and personal correspondence,1923-1968, chiefly relating to Special Service Brigade. Lectures and speeches to and on Special Service Brigade, chiefly by Laycock. Draft publications, scripts and press cuttings relating to Laycock and Special Service Brigade. Memoirs and accounts of Commando action, including parts of Robert Edward Laycock's memoirs and memoirs of members of 'G' Troop, 7 Commando. Papers on Laycock standing as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw in the 1945 general collection and on his refusal to stand for the 1947 bye-election. Papers relating to Laycock's time as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta. Poems by Laycock.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The Laycock papers are arranged in sections as follows: papers on volunteers for Special Service Brigade; training papers, papers relating to LAYFORCE; papers relating to Special Service Brigade following the disbandment of LAYFORCE; Special Service Brigade operations; Robert Edward Laycock's correspondence, official and personal; lectures and speeches; draft publications and press cuttings; memoirs; papers relating to Laycock standing as Conservative Party candidate; papers relating to Laycock's time as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta and poems.

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:

Detailed catalogue on-line and in hard copy in the reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Centre by the family, June 2000

Allied Materials

Related material:

LIDDELL HART CENTRE FOR MILITARY ARCHIVES, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON (Ref GB 0099) holds papers of Maj Gen Arthur Reginald Chater including photocopy of letter from Laycock, 1945 (Ref GB 0099 KCLMA Chater 10/6) and papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart including photocopy of obituary of Laycock from The Times, 1968 (Ref. GB 0099 KCLMA Liddell Hart 15/6/5).

SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY (GB 0738) holds Papers of AF Louis (Francis Albert Victor Nicholas) Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma including correspondence with Laycock on Combined Operations, 1943-1946 (Ref MB1/C51); personal correspondence with Laycock, 1946-1948 (Ref MB1/E94) and 1956-1965 (Ref. MB1/I251, J265); correspondence on Laycock's appointment as Governor of Malta, 1954 (Ref MB1/H151); IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM LONDON (GB 0062) holds papers of Maj Gen (Joseph) Charles Haydon (Ref 93/28/4) including a letter from Laycock as Chief of Combined Operations, Jan 1944, thanking Haydon for their work together.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Who's Who 1967, Army Lists, Times obituary. Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Revised by Sarah Drewery.

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:
Aug 2001; Oct 2008

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