EDMONDS, Brig Gen Sir James Edward (1861-1956)

Scope and Content

Papers created or collected by Edmonds during the course of his life and career, dated 1827-1838, 1852, 1879-1881, 1890-1957, principally comprising typescript memoirs covering his life and career, 1861-1951, and notably concerning his work at the Royal Military Academy, 1890-1896, and in the Intelligence Division of the War Office, 1899-1901, 1904-1908, his service in South Africa, 1901-1902, and in World War One, 1914-1918, at the Geneva Conference, 1906, as General Staff Officer, 4 Div, 1911-1914, and in the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, 1919-1949, written in [1951]; correspondence with Rt Hon Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill, 1922-1954, relating to Churchill's book The World Crisis, 1911-1918 (Thornton Butterworth, London, 1923-1929, abridged and revised, 1931); letters from FM Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig and his wife, 1903-1939, mainly relating to Edmonds' work on the official history of World War One; correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Ernest (Dunlop) Swinton, 1919-1950; texts of lectures, [1908-1947], notably relating to the American Civil War, 1861-1865, laws of war and the organisation of intelligence and information in warfare; typescript and printed articles, 1893-1957, mainly relating to World War One; official army handbooks and reports by Edmonds and others, 1899-1918, 1945; papers related to World War One collected by Edmonds, dated 1900, 1907, 1914-[1945]; press cuttings, [1906-1943], mainly concerning political and military developments and international relations; photographs, 1895-1918, mainly of Edmonds with Army colleagues.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1861; educated at King's College School, London and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; entered Royal Engineers, 1881; Capt, 1890; Major, 1899; Instructor, Royal Military Academy, 1890-1896; Staff College, 1896-1897; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Intelligence Division, War Office, 1899-1901; publication of Handbook of the German Army (HMSO, London, 1900); served in South Africa, 1901-1902; Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General, Intelligence Division, War Office, 1904-1908; publication of A history of the Civil War in the United States, 1861-1865 (with Henry Spencer Wilkinson) (Methuen and Co, London, 1905); Lt Col, 1906; Secretary to British Delegation to Geneva Conference, 1906; British Delegate to Red Cross Conference, 1907; Col, 1909; General Staff Officer Grade 1, War Office, 1909-1910; General Staff Officer Grade 1, 4 Div, 1911-1914; publication of Land warfare: an exposition of the laws and usages of war on land for the guidance of officers of His Majesty's Army (with Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim (War Office publication, 1912); served at General HQ, BEF, 1914-1918; Deputy Engineer-in-Chief, BEF, 1918; Officer in charge of Military Branch, Historical Section, Committee of Imperial Defence, 1919-1949; publication of Military operations: France and Belgium (13 volumes) (HMSO, London, 1922-1948) and Military operations: Italy (with Henry Rudolph Davies) (HMSO, London, 1949), parts of the official history of World War One; publication of A short history of World War One (Oxford University Press, London, 1951); died in 1956.


Arranged in the following sections: early papers and papers relating to Staff College; correspondence; memoirs(first draft); lectures; writings by Edmonds; papers relating to World War One; miscellaneous writings by Edmonds and others;newspaper cuttings; second accession (later draft of memoirs and photographs).

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Centre by the family in 1968 and 1993.

Other Finding Aids

Summary guide available on-line at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lhcma/top.htm, and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Separated Material

The papers of Gen Sir Edward Louis Spears at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University, includecorrespondence with Edmonds, 1924-1956 (Ref: SPRS). Cabinet Office papers held at the Public Record Office include Edmonds'correspondence files as official historian of World War One (Ref: CAB 45).

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Related Material

An additional accession of three books from Edmonds' library was presented to the Centre byProfessor Peter James Marshall in 1992. These now form part of the Centre's library, which is available for consultation in the readingroom.

Corporate Names