Papers of Sir John Pestell

Scope and Content

Diary, 1966-1969, with introduction, 1988; notes, correspondence, pressreleases, newspaper cuttings, British Government acts, orders and regulations,etc., relating to the unilateral declaration of independence, 1965-1975;photographs of Sir Humphrey Gibbs, 1963-1969; post-Rhodesia papers, includingletters from Sir Humphrey Gibbs, Gibbs' 1988 memoirs of life in Rhodesiabefore independence, obituaries, and correspondence relating to Pestell'spapers, 1969-1994.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Pestell served in the British South Africa Police 1939-1965 and asSecretary Comptroller to Sir Humphrey Gibbs, the Governor of SouthernRhodesia, 1965-1969. During this latter period the Rhodesian Prime Minister,Ian Smith declared unilateral independence. Sir Humphrey Gibbs refused torecognise the authority of the new regime and continued to occupy GovernmentHouse, Salisbury in defiance of Smith's Rhodesian Front government. At thesame time, Sir Humphrey and remaining staff worked to keep the channels ofcommunication between Rhodesia and Great Britain open. After Rhodesiadeclared itself a republic in 1969, Pestell returned to England,where he was made a Knight Commander of the Victorian Order, and worked from1970 to 1988 as an Immigration Appeals Adjudicator at Harmondsworth nearHeathrow Airport.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

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Conditions Governing Use

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