GODLEY, Gen Sir Alexander John (1867-1957)

Scope and Content

Correspondence with Col Sir Clive Wigram, Assistant Private Secretary to HM King George V, 1911-1933, including detailed descriptions of operations in Gallipoli and on the Western Front during World War One. Correspondence concerning a visit by Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, to Cologne, Germany, in 1922. Letters to Godley from various military friends and acquaintances, 1901-1954, including FM William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood of Anzac and Totnes; FM Frederick Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan; AF Sir John Michael de Robeck, 1st Bt; Gen Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton; Lt Gen Sir Frederick Stanley Maude; Gen Sir John Maxwell; Gen Sir Archibald (James) Murray; FM Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer of Messines; and FM Sir William (Robert) Robertson, 1st Bt. Two unpublished volumes of letters from Godley to his wife, Louisa Marion Godley, Lady Godley, sent during active service on the Western Front, 1916-1918. Biographical information relating to Godley and his family, namely a copy of his memoirs, Life of an Irish Soldier (John Murray, London, 1939), a copy of his obituary in The Times, 1957, and photocopied extracts from New Zealand encyclopedias relating to Godley and his uncle, John Robert Godley.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1867; educated Royal Naval School, New Cross, London, Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, United Services College, Westward Ho!, Devon, Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Surrey; Lt, 1 Bn, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Mullingar, Ireland, 1886; Adjutant, 1 Bn, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1889-1890; two year tour of duty at depot of Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Naas, Ireland, 1891-1893; Mounted Infantry Course, Aldershot, 1894; Adjutant, Mounted Infantry, Aldershot, 1895; Capt, 1895; Adjutant, Special Service Mounted Infantry Bn, Mashonaland Field Force, during Mashonaland Campaign, Southern Rhodesia, and command of a mounted column, 1896-1897; Brevet Maj, 1897; attended Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, 1898-1899; Adjutant, Special Service Mounted Infantry Regt (Protectorate Regt), during the Second Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1901; commander western defences at the Siege of Mafeking, 1899-1900; Brevet Lt Col, 1900; transferred to Irish Guards, 1900; Staff Officer to Lt Col Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell and Lt Col Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer; Brevet Lt Col and commanded Rhodesian Mounted Bde, 1900-1901; Maj, 1901; invalided back to England, 1901; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General (commanding Mounted Infantry), Aldershot Command, 1901-1903; Commandant, School of Mounted Infantry, Longmoor Camp, Aldershot Command, 1903-1906; Brevet Col, 1905; Col, 1906; Assistant Adjutant General and General Staff Officer, Grade 1, 2 Div, Aldershot Command, 1906-1910; temporary Maj Gen and General Officer Commanding, New Zealand Forces, 1910-1914; served World War One, 1914-1918; Commander, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919; Maj Gen, 1914; Commander, New Zealand and Australian Div, Egypt and Gallipoli, 1914-1915; temporary Lt Gen, 1915-1918; Commander, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), Gallipoli and Egypt, 1915-1916; Commander, 2 ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), later renamed British 22 Corps, Egypt and Western Front, 1916-1919; temporary Commander, 3 Corps, BEF (British Expeditionary Force),1918; Lt Gen, 1918; Commander, 4 Corps, BAOR (British Army of the Rhine), Mar 1919; Commander, 2 Corps, BAOR (British Army of the Rhine), Jul-Dec 1919; Military Secretary to Secretary of State for War, 1920-1922; Commander in Chief, BAOR (British Army of the Rhine), 1922-1924; Gen, 1923; on Military Committee of Experts in connection with the Inter-Allied Conference on the Dawes Report, 1924; General Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Command, 1924-1928; Aide de Camp General to HM King George V, 1925-1929; Governor and Commander in Chief of Gibraltar, 1928-1933; Col Royal Ulster Rifles, 1922-1937; retired, 1933; Chairman Royal Empire Society; Governor Haileybury College and Imperial Service College; commanded platoon in the Home Guard, 1939-1944; died 1957. Publications: Life of an Irish Soldier (John Murray, London, 1939); The Home Guard Training Manual (John Murray, Pilot Press, London, 1940), edited by John Langdon-Davies and revised by Godley.


The collection is arranged in sections as above. Section 1, the correspondence with Wigram, is available only on microfilm. There is a microfilm copy of the correspondence concerning Northcliffe (Section 2), and the majority of the letters from military friends (Section 3).

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Centre in 1986, 1988 and 1990.

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.

Alternative Form Available

The National Archives of New Zealand hold microfilm copies of the correspondence between Godley and Alfred Charles Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, 1922, and the first accession of general correspondence from military friends and acquaintances, 1901-1954.

Separated Material

Diary, 1896, at the National Archives of Zimbabwe, Harare; correspondence relating to the Curragh Incident, 1914, at the Imperial War Museum, London; correspondence with Maj Gen Sir Edward Louis Spears at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University; correspondence with Edgar Vincent, 1st Viscount of Stoke D'Abernon, British Ambassador at Berlin, 1923-1926, in the British Library Manuscript Collections, London.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied 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 correspondence between Godley and Col Sir Clive Wigram is held at the National Archives of New Zealand, Wellington, and may be consulted on microfilm at the Centre.

Papers of Gen Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton include correspondence with Godley, 1916-1918, notably concerning the recommendation of officers who served in Gallipoli for rewards and decorations, Godley's statement to the Dardanelles Commission and the progress of 22 Corps on the Western Front; a copy of Godley's evidence given to the Dardanelles Commission, Feb 1917, mainly concerning the events of the Battle of Sari Blair, Gallipoli, 6 Aug, 1915; general correspondence, 1919-1932. Papers of Maj Gen Sir Frederick (Barton) Maurice include letters from Godley to Gen Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent, relating to operations at Gallipoli, 1915 (Ref GB 99 KCLMA Maurice).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names