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MESSERVY, Gen Sir Frank Walter (1893-1974)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Messervy
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: MESSERVY, Gen Sir Frank Walter (1893-1974)
Date(s): Created 1941-1946, 1951
Level of description:
Extent: 3 boxes or 0.03 cubic metres
Name of creator(s):


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in 1893; educated at Eton College and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; 2nd Lt, Indian Army, 1913; joined 9th Hodson's Horse, 1914; served in World War One in France, Palestine, and Syria; Lt, 1915; Capt, 1917; served in India, 1919-1938, at regimental duty, as Bde Maj, 1 Risalpur Cavalry Bde, and as an instructor at Staff College, Quetta; attended Staff College,Camberley, 1925-1926; Maj, 1929; Lt Col, 1938; commanded 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers, India, 1938-1939; Col, 1939; General Staff Officer Grade 1, 5 Indian Div, 1939-1940; Col 1939; commanded Gazelle Force, Sudan and Eritrea, 1940-1941; commanded 9 IndianInfantry Bde, Keren, Eritrea, 1941; commanded 4 Indian Div, Western Desert and Cyrenaica, 1941-1942; commanded 1 Armoured Div, Cyrenaica, 1942; commanded 7 Armoured Div, Western Desert, 1942; Deputy Chief of General Staff, General HQ, Middle East Force, 1942; commanded 43 Indian Armoured Div, 1942-1943; Director of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, General HQ, India Command, 1943; Maj Gen, 1943; commanded 7 Indian Div, and later 4 Corps, Burma campaign, 1944-1945; Lt Gen, 1945; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Malaya Command, 1945-1946; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, India, 1946-1947; Commander-in-Chief,Pakistan Army, 1947; retired, 1948; died in 1974.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to his service in World War Two, dated 1941-1946, 1941-1946, 1951, principally comprising semi-official and personal correspondence, 1941-1946, including letter to his wife describing events leading up to his dismissal from command of 7 Armoured Div, 1942; pamphlet on the Battle of Keren, Mar 1941, produced by Maj Gen Sir Nigel Trapp, HQEritrea District, for visit of Commander-in-Chief, Middle East Land Forces, to Keren battlefield, Eritrea, Mar 1947; Report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, 1943-1945 by AF Louis (Francis Albert Victor Nicholas) Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (London, HMSO, 1951); operational notes and training instructions for 7 and 9 Indian Divs during the Burma campaign, 1943-1945; 'Warfare in undeveloped countries. Part 1: desert warfare', War Office publication written by [Messervy] in 1954; printed histories by Messervy and others describing operations in Burma by 12 Army, 14 Army, 4 Corps, 15 Indian Corps, 23 Indian Corps, and 25 Indian Div; Ministry of Information publications, dated [1945], concerning campaigns in the Middle East and Far East, 1941-1945, the Merchant Navy, 1939-1944, Combined Operations, 1940-1942, Britain's anti-aircraft defences, 1939-1942, and civil defence in the UK, 1940-1941, and the war effort on the Home Front, 1942-1944; Government of India publications,dated [1944-1946], describing the service of various divisions of the Indian Army during World War Two.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in the following sections: miscellaneous correspondence; reports, lessons and accounts relating to campaigns; reports, lessons and accounts relating to units; official and propaganda publications.

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:

Summary guide on-line at, anddetailed catalogue available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Centre by Messervy in 1971.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The papers of AF Louis (Francis Albert Victor Nicholas), 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, at the University of Southampton Library include personal correspondence, 1946-1947 (Ref: MB1/E106). The National Army Museum have two bound volumes and one folder of press cuttings relating to Messervy's career (Ref: 7409-77) and his printed orders (Ref: 7409-78).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
Mar 1997

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