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STERN, Lt Col Sir Albert Gerald (1878-1966)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Stern
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: STERN, Lt Col Sir Albert Gerald (1878-1966)
Date(s): Created 1914-1959, 1964, 1994
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 28 boxes or 0.28 cubic metres
Name of creator(s):
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in 1878; educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford; entered family merchant banking business, becoming a partner in 1904; Lt, Armoured Car Division, Royal Naval Air Service, 1914; Secretary, Landships Committee, Admiralty and War Office, 1915-1916; Chairman, Tank Supply Committee and Director, Tank Supply Department (later Mechanical Warfare Supply Department), Ministry of Munitions, 1916-1917; Lt Col 1916; British Commissioner, Inter-Allied Tank Bureau, 1917-1918; Commissioner for Mechanical Warfare (Overseas and Allies), Ministry of Munitions, 1917-1918; British Commissioner, Anglo-American Commission, 1918; publication of Tanks, 1914-1918: the log-book of a pioneer (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1919); returned to work as a banker, 1919-1939; Chairman, Special Vehicle Development Committee, Ministry of Supply, 1939-1943; member of Tank Board, 1941; died in 1966.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to his role in the development and production of armoured fighting vehicles, dated 1914-1959, 1964, 1994, principally comprising correspondence, memoranda and minutes relating to the Landships Committee, 1915-1916, and the Tank Supply Committee, Tank Supply Department (later Mechanical Warfare Supply Department) and Mechanical Warfare (Overseas and Allies) Department, 1916-1918; progress reports and memoranda on design and construction of landships, 1915; plans, drawings and blueprints for landships and tanks, 1915-1916; 'Notes on the employment of tanks' by Col Ernest Dunlop Swinton, printed at the Foreign Office, 1916; 'Mechanical warfare, a summary of British tank development, 1914-1918', typescript text by Stern, [1925]; papers relating to the establishment of the Allied Tank Factory at Neuvy Pailloux, Chateauroux, France, dated 1917-1918; notes and reports by Lt J Rackham and George Watson relating to the use of tanks on the Western Front, 1917; 'The tactical employment of tanks in 1918', unofficial report by Col John Frederick Charles Fuller, 1917; correspondence and memoranda relating to Ministry of Supply Special Vehicle Development Committee and the Tank Board, 1939-1943, and the design and development of TOG heavy tanks, 1939-1944, including correspondence with Rt Hon Edward Leslie Burgin, Minister of Supply, 1939-1940, Rt Hon Herbert Stanley Morrison, Minister of Supply, 1940, Rt Hon Sir Andrew Rae Duncan, Minister of Supply, 1940-1941 and 1942, Rt Hon William Maxwell Aitken Beaverbrook, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Minister of Supply, 1941-1942, Sir James Lithgow, Chairman of the Tank Board, 1941, and Rt Hon Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill 1940-1942, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defence, Sir William Tritton of Tritton, Foster and Co, and Cdr R H Stokes-Rees, 1943-1944; official reports by Lt Col Gordon Hall on British and Italian use of tanks in the Middle East, 1940-1941, dated 1941; specifications and technical reports relating to tanks, 1939-1944; minutes of Special Vehicle Development Committee, 1939-1942; papers relating to investigation of Stern's position in the Ministry of Supply, 1942, dated 1939-1942, including transcriptions of interviews with Stern, 1942; correspondence and memoranda relating to Stern's evidence before the Sub-Committee on National Production and Supply of the House of Commons Select Committee on National Expenditure; publications and printed material relating to tanks, 1915-1919, 1939-1946, 1959; photographs, 1915-1918, 1939-1945, principally comprising British, French and Canadian photographs of tanks, 1915-1918; photographs of TOG tanks, 1939-1942; films concerning the development of the tank, 1918, 1941-1942, 1957. Other papers relating to his life and career, notably including photographs relating to his service with the Royal Naval Air Service, 1914-1915; copies of personal correspondence, 1918-1919.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Mainly English, but some French

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged chronologically and thematically within sections. Photographs, printed books and films are arranged in discrete sections.

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 provided 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 and detailed catalogue available on-line at, and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Centre by the family in 1962 and 1976.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The papers of Walter Gordon Wilson comprise pages of Stern's Tanks, 1914-1918: the log-book of a pioneer (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1919), with annotations by Wilson, 1920 (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Wilson W G). The papers of Maj John W Mills include an article from The Times on Stern's involvement with tank design, 1914-1945, written by Philip Howard in 1977 (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Mills). The Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, holds additional material, mainly personal and family papers, 1915-1959.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Men, ideas and tanks by J P Harris (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1995) contains references to the Stern papers.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sept 1999

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