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THOMPSON, Reginald William (1904-1977)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Thompson
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: THOMPSON, Reginald William (1904-1977)
Date(s): Created 1938-1976
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 4 Boxes or 0.04 cubic metres
Name of creator(s):


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in 1904; educated at Merchant Taylors' School; worked as a Lloyds marine broker from 1921-1925; began to write professionally while travelling in Argentina and Australia; worked as an author and feature writer on UK depressed areas, 1930-1939; worked as a special correspondent with The Morning Post for which he covered the Gran Chaco War, 1935-1936; on the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the fire brigade and enlisted in the ranks in 1940; promoted to Capt in 1941, transferred to the Intelligence Corps for training; 1944 worked as a censor and a report writer on the mental and physical health of the 'D' Day forces; later in 1944 was released from the Army to work as war correspondent for The Sunday Times in Western Europe; travelled extensively in post war Europe and attended the Nuremberg trials; employed as a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph during the Korean War; in 1951 settled in Suffolk to write full time on military subjects; his writing was highly regarded by his close friends Maj Sir Desmond John Falkiner Morton and Maj Gen Eric Edward Dorman O'Gowan (formerly Eric Edward Dorman Smith) and by Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart to whom he turned for professional advice and criticism, however his books never achieved critical success and he suffered from ill health and financial difficulties; died 1977. Publications: Argentine Interlude. The first roll of a rolling stone (Duckworth, London,1931); Down Under. An Australian Odyssey (Duckworth, London, 1932); Glory Hole (Duckworth, London, 1933); Wild Animal Man (Duckworth, London, 1934); Land of To-Morrow A story of South America, (Duckworth, London, 1936); To-Morrow We Live (Duckworth, London, 1936); An Englishman Looks at Wales (Arrowsmith, London, 1937); Home in Ham (Arrowsmith, Bristol,1938); Portrait of a Patriot.The story of the early life and rise to power of Juan Manuel de Rosas (Collins, London, Glasgow, 1939); Voice from the Wilderness. Being a record of my search for El Dorado and of those who have sought and found new lives (Faber & Faber, London, 1940); Germans and Japs in South America (Faber & Faber, London, 1942); Men Under Fire (Macdonald, London, 1946); Black Caribbean (Macdonald, London, 1946); Devil at my Heels. The record of a journey through Europe from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea in the aftermath of war (Macdonald, London, 1947); Voice from the Wilderness (Macdonald, London, 1947); Cry Korea (White Lion Publishers, 1974; Hamilton, London, 1956; Macdonald, London, 1951); 9 A.B. The challenge (Spalding & Levy, London, 1953); The Pink House in Angel Street, The story of a family (Dennis Dobson, London, 1954); Dieppe at dawn (White Lion Publishers, London, 1972; Hutchinson, London, 1956); The Eighty-Five Days (Four Square Books, London 1960; Hutchinson, London, 1957); The Battle for the Rhineland (Hutchinson, London, 1958); Boy in Blinkers (Robert Hale, London,1959); The Price of Victory (Constable, London, 1960); The Yankee Marlborough (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1963); An Echo of Trumpets (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964); Spearhead of invasion: D-Day (Pan Books, London, 1972; Macdonald, London 1968); Montgomery, the Field Marshal: a critical study of the generalship of Field-Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., and of the campaign in North-West Europe, 1944/45, (Allen & Unwin, London, 1969); Generalissimo Churchill (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1973); Churchill and Morton, the quest for insight in the correspondence of Major Sir Desmond Morton and the author R W Thompson (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1976).


Scope and content/abstract:

Thompson's correspondence with Maj Sir Desmond John Falkiner Morton (1943-1976), Maj Gen Eric Edward Dorman O'Gowan (formerly Eric Edward Dorman Smith) (1960-1974) and Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1952-1974). The letters mostly relate to Thompson's military writing and concentrate on his studies of on Rt Hon Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill and FM Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in four sections by chief and general correspondent.

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 available on line at, and also in hard copy in theCentre's reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired by the Centre from the family in April 1979.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The papers of Capt Sir Basil Liddell Hart (GB99 KCLMA LH 1/687) contain correspondence between Thompson and Capt Basil Henry Liddell Hart, and with Kathleen Liddell Hart, Lady Liddell Hart, 1962-1977; between Mel Thompson and Liddell Hart and Kathleen Liddell Hart, 1963-1969. With newspaper cuttings and reviews, 1951-1967, and correspondence between Philip Unwin and Liddell Hart regarding Thompson's books, The Yankee Marlborough (Allen and Unwin, London, 1963) and The Montgomery Legend (Allen and Unwin, London, 1967). The Liddell Hart collection also (LH 15/7/54) contains a page proof of An echo of trumpets (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1964) by Thompson, with comments by Liddell Hart.

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Description Notes

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