Papers of Sir Henry R. M. Brooke-Popham as Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Kenya

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal papers, correspondence, etc. including period as Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Kenya.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Henry Robert Moore Brooke-Popham (1878-1953) was born in Suffolk, England. In May 1898 he graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was gazetted to the Oxfordshire Light Infantry as second Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain in 1904, and entered the Staff College in 1910.

In 1912, he transferred to the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers, which became the Royal Flying Corps in May 1912. He was promoted to Brevet Major in 1913 and Major in 1915. On the outbreak of the First World War, Brooke-Popham went to France as a Staff Officer in the Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1916, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General with the temporary rank of Brigadier-General.

In 1919, Brooke-Popham transferred permanently to the new Royal Air Force with the rank of Air Commodore (the RAF had been formed in 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Air Corps with the Royal Naval Air Service). In 1920, he was appointed Director of Research at the Air Ministry (1920-1921) and the following year became the first Commandant of the newly created Royal Air Force Staff College (1921-1926). He was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal in 1924.

In 1925, the Air Defences of Great Britain was formed and, in 1926, Brooke-Popham was appointed as Air Officer commanding Fighting Area (1926-1928). In 1928 he became Air Officer commanding Iraq Command and, when no High Commissioner was in office, also filled that post (1928-1930) . He was promoted to Air Marshal in 1931 and, in the same year, became the first RAF officer to be appointed Commandant of the Imperial Defence College (1931-1933). Over the next 5 years he served as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Defences of Great Britain (1933-1935), Inspector General of the Royal Air Force (1935), was promoted to Air Chief Marshal, and served as Air Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East (1935-1937).

Brooke-Popham joined the retired list in 1937 and, in the same year, was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Kenya (1937-1939). When the Second World War broke out he rejoined the Royal Air Force and, in October 1940, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Far East (becoming the first RAF officer to hold such a post). He left the active list once more in May 1942 but continued to give service where he could (he was President of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes, 1944-1946, and Inspector-General of the Air Training Corps, until 1945).

Brooke-Popham was awarded the Legion of Honour, Order of St. Stanislaus, DSO (1915), CMG (1918), AFC (1918), CB (1919), KCB (1927), GCVO (1935), and KStJ (1937).

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Note

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

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 127 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968) and as no. 54 in Manuscript Collections (excluding Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplement, compiled by Louis B Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1971).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Geographical Names