Journal, notebooks and photographs of Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler

Scope and Content

Eleven personal notebooks, with accounts of, and notes on, military service in East Africa, 1939-1943, with manuscript journal of journey into "unknown Arabia", 1907-1908, and photographs of Butler in uniform of Bimbashi or the Egyptian Army, c.1909.

Administrative / Biographical History

Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler (1880-1964) joined the 3rd Northumberland Fusiliers in 1897, then the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1899. He fought in the South African War before joining the King's African Rifles, 1905-1907. He explored Northern Arabia, 1907-1908, disguised as a Bedouin, and lectured to the Royal Geographical Society on his return. He transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1908, then the Egyptian Army, 1909-1915. During World War One he served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1915, saw action in the Dardanelles, 1915-1916 and in France, 1916-1918, and held the position of Deputy Chief of Intelligence, GHQ, 1918. From 1919 to 1920 he worked as Head of Naval Intelligence, Constantinople. He held a non-commissioned post in India, 1921-1923 and was Military Attache, Bucharest, 1923-1926. He served as Inspector-General Royal West African Frontier Force, 1926-1930 and Kaid Sudan Defence Force, 1930-1935, then with the 48th Division, Territorial Army, 1935-1939, after which he retired briefly. Then, during World War Two, he was made Head of the Military Mission to Turkey, 1939-1940, undertook liaison work in Africa, 1940-1941, and was Head of the British Military Mission in Ethiopia, 1941-1943. Frequently decorated, he was awarded the DSO in 1917, CMG in 1919 and CB in 1936.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by staff at the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Listed as no. 905 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.