1931 - Bertram Sidney Thomas

Scope and Content

The material in this series consists of correspondence concerning the conferment of the Medal and some newspaper cuttings about Bertram Thomas.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bertram Sidney Thomas was born near Bristol and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He served in Belguim and Iraq in the First World War and subsequently as an Assistant Political Officer in Iraq from 1918 to 1922, and Assistant British Representative in Jordan from 1922 to 1924. He was appointed as Finance Minister and Wazir to Taimur bin Feisal, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, a post he held from 1925 to 1932. In this capacity, he undertook a number of expeditions into the desert, and became the first European to cross the Rub' al Khali in 1930-1931, a journey he recounted in Arabia Felix (1932), in which he described this desert's animals, inhabitants, and culture. During World War II, Thomas headed the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies in Jerusalem, where British Army officers were taught Arabic language and culture. He returned to England and died in the house in which he was born, in 1950.


The Material was divided into two sub-series of correspondence and newspaper cuttings.

Related Material

The Minutes of the Council Meeting may provide additional details of the award to Bertram S. Thomas. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1931 (4), pp. 966-985, provides details of the giving of the Burton Memorial Medal to Bertram Thomas and the lecture which he provided.