WARD, Gp Capt Ralph Bagshaw (1911-1992)

Scope and Content

Papers and photographs relating to Ward's RAF career, 1930-1955, including photograph album containing 201 mostly captioned photographs relating to Ward's RAF service in India, 1930-1933, including RAF 11 Sqn operations against Mohmand tribesmen, North West Frontier, Mar 1932; with six loose photographs[1932]-1945, including photograph of Ward [1932]; group of RAF POWs, Stalag Luft III, Aug 1942; four aerial photographs of Hamburg and Bremen, Germany, Jul 1945. Copy of manuscript narrative diary, 1939-1942, detailing Ward's RAF service until he was shot down over Kiel, Germany, Feb 1942; copy of manuscript notes by Ward entitled 'Future training in the Royal Air Force' [1945]; six printed maps (two on linen, one on silk and two on tissue paper), of France, Danzig, Germany, Sumatra and Java, Indonesia, 1935-[1950]; printed translation of speech to the Reichstag by Adolf Hitler, 'A last appeal to reason', 19 Jul 1940; reprinted facsimile, dated 1983, of Honolulu Star Bulletin, relating to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaiian Islands, 7 Dec 1941; copies of autographs given by Capt Basil Henry Liddell Hart and Kathleen Liddell Hart to Ward's son, Richard Ward, Aug 1951. Papers and photographs relating to the filming of The wooden horse, directed by Jack Lee, and Ward's role as actor and Technical Adviser, 1949-1950, including seven photographs of Ward and the film set during the making of The wooden horse, Germany, 1949; sketch map by Ward of Stalag Luft III [1949]; typescript notes by Ward entitled 'The aftermath of the wooden horse escape' [1949]; newspaper cuttings on the release of The wooden horse, 1950. Papers and photographs relating to Ward's service as Air and Military Attach to Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador, 1952-1955, including typescript official reports by Ward relating to the air forces of Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia, Feb 1953-Sep 1955; typescript memoranda by Ward relating to diplomatic visits and journeys made in South America, Apr 1952-Oct 1955, including 'A review of living conditions in Lima, Peru' Apr 1952, 'Visit to Ecuador and northern Peru' Sep 1953, 'Journey by car from Lima to La Paz and return' Aug 1955; twenty four typescript letters home to relatives and friends, mostly to Ward's parents-in-law, Dudley and Audrey Christopherson, Jun 1952-Jul 1955; booklet entitled Operation Round Trip. The goodwill flight to South America by four English Electric Canberras of No 12 Squadron, the Royal Air Force (The English Electric Company Limited, London, 1952); twelve uncaptioned photographs of official functions, South America [1953]; twenty two colour photographs of the topography and local people, Peru [1954].

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1911; commissioned into RAF, [1929]; served with 11 Sqn, RAF, North West Frontier, India, 1930-1933; Flying Officer, 1931; Flight Lt, 1936; Instructor, RAF Flying Training Command, UK, 1939; served in World War Two, 1939-1945; service with RAF Bomber Command, 1939-1942; shot down on raid on Kiel, Germany, and captured by German forces, 25 Feb 1942; POW, East compound, Stalag Luft III, Germany, 1942-1945; member of escape committee and helped to plan 'wooden horse' POW escape [29 Oct 1943]; worked for Imperial Airways, 1946-1950; changed surname by deed poll, from Abraham, to mother's maiden name, Ward, Feb 1949; acted in and Technical Adviser for the film The wooden horse, released in 1950; served as Wg Cdr, Administration, RAF Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, and the Air Ministry, 1950-1952; Air and Military Attach to the British Embassies in Peru and Ecuador, and Air Attach to Chile and Bolivia, 1952-1955; served at RAF Hullavington, Wiltshire, 1956-1957; retired 1958; died 1992.


The collection is arranged in sections as outlined above.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Placed in the Centre by the family in two accessions, 1998 and 1999. The papers relating to the escape from Stalag Luft III were copied by the Centre from originals loaned by the family in 1999.

Other Finding Aids

Summary guide entry on-line at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/archives/cats/, and detailed catalogue available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

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

The papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart contain correspondence with Ward, Jan 1951-Dec 1952 (Ref: Liddell Hart LH2W/39/1-7).


The Wooden Horse by Eric Ernest Williams (Collins, London, 1949).