Papers relating to Robert Donat's cremation ceremony, memorial service and tributes

Scope and Content

A private cremation ceremony was held for RD at Marylebone, London, on 12 June 1958. On 10 July a memorial service was held at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. It was attended by 500 of RD's personal and professional friends and family; the lesson was read by Sir Laurence Olivier, and a recording of RD reading the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi was played. This class contains papers relating to both these ceremonies, and to tributes paid to RD through the media, in particular the BBC Home Service broadcast Robert Donat: A Tribute which included contributions from Laurence Olivier, Diana Wynyard, Flora Robson, Charles Laughton, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlene Dietrich, Walter Greenwood, and John Mills; and to the World Premiere of The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, funds from which established the Robert Donat R.A.D.A. Memorial Scholarship. Contents are as follows: 

  • /1 Cutting of RD's obituary from The Times (10 June 1958).
  • /2 Letter to John Donat from Laurence Gilliam, Head of Features at the BBC, enclosing a 2-page typescript text of a short tribute to RD broadcast on 10 June (11 June 1958).
  • /3 Typescript order of service for the cremation ceremony on 12 June 1958.
  • /4 Letter to John Donat from Ray Dicks, Executive Producer at Associated-Rediffusion Ltd, relating to their memorial programme for RD (12 June 1958).
  • /5 Letter to John Donat from Sir Laurence Olivier's secretary, enclosing a telegram of condolence on RD's death received from Renée Clair (13 June 1958).
  • /6 Printed, gilt-edged invitation card to the Memorial Service on 10 July 1958.
  • /7 Carbon typescript list of invitations sent out for the Memorial Service.
  • /8 Script of Robert Donat: A Tribute as broadcast on the BBC Home Service on Tuesday 24 June 1958, pre-recorded on 21 June.
  • /9 Printed programme for the World Premiere of The Inn of the Sixth Happiness at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, held on 23 November 1958, in aid of the Robert Donat R.A.D.A. Memorial Scholarship.


/8 was originally stored with the other radio scripts (at FRD1/2/2) and /9 with the other film programmes (at FRD1/3/5) but as these do not form part of the archive generated by RD himself they have been removed to the posthumous papers.