Lionel Charles Dunsterville (1865-1946) was a contemporary and close friend of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), the author, at the United Services College, Westward Ho! in Devon. Kipling was a pupil in 1878-82; they met again in India. Kipling's collection of stories, Stalky & Co (1899) relates chiefly to himself, his school friends, the College and Stalky. Dunsterville was the model for Stalky.
Dunsterville entered the Army, served in Waziristan, on the North-West Frontier, in China and, during World War I, in Turkey, and rose to the rank of major-general. He valued his life-long association with Kipling, his old school friend, and over the years amassed a collection of letters and documents relating to his school days and his school friendships. In retirement he exploited his wartime escapades and his place in literary history, publishing The adventures of Dunsterforce (1920), And obey (1925), Stalky's reminiscences(1928), More yarns(1931) and talky settles down(1932). The relevant chapters of Stalky's reminiscences, at least, he sent in draft to Kipling and Beresford (SxMs 69/2/7).
Dunsterville was a joint founder and first President of the Kipling Society, inaugurated on 4 February 1927. In an article in the first issue of the Kipling Journal, March 1927, entitled 'Kipling's Schooldays', he wrote I have never met anyone who revealed future greatness so clearly as did Kipling. At the age of twelve his literary future was already in flower. Merely to say that he was deeply read would be inadequate. He had already moved off the main road of academic reading into curious and learned bypaths of letters... .
The collection complements the other Kipling archives held by the University of Sussex and relates richly and felicitiously to the papers, acquired in 1998, of George Charles Beresford, the model of McTurk (SxMs 69). These two collections provide a unique and authoritative picture of Kipling's schooldays and the friends who shared them. They also throw intimate light on how the writer was regarded by his school companions as the years passed.