1937- Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson

Scope and Content

Administrative Documents, Correspondence and Newspaper Cuttings concerned with the award of the Burton Memorial Medal to Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arnold Talbot Wilson was born in 1884 and educated at Clifton College. He started his military career in 1903 and went to serve in India. From there he was posted to Iran. In 1907, Wilson was transferred to the Indian Political Department and sent to the Persian Gulf, where he served as a political officer. Wilson oversaw the discovery of the first oil site in the Middle East, Masjid-i-Suleiman, in 1908. He became Consul-General of Muhammerah (1909–11) and was put in charge of the Turko-Persian Frontier Commission. In January 1915 as the British were moving troops from India into Mesopotamia through the Persian Gulf and Basra, Wilson was designated as the assistant, and then deputy, to Sir Percy Cox, the British Political Officer for the region. Based in Baghdad, he then became the acting Civil Commissioner for Mesopotamia. He continued to serve in this role until 1920. He retired from service in 1921.
In 1933, Wilson was elected in a by-election as the Conservative MP for Hitchin. However, in October 1939 after the outbreak of the war, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, serving as a pilot officer (air gunner) in 37 Squadron of RAF Bomber Command. Still an MP, he was killed in northern France, near Dunkirk, on 31 May 1940 when his bomber aircraft crashed. He is buried at Eringhem churchyard, half-way between Dunkirk and Saint-Omer.


The series was divided into three sub-series of Administrative Documents, Correspondence, and Printed Material

Separated Material

The Minutes of the Council Meeting may provide additional details of the award to Arnold Wilson. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1937 (3), pp. 569-573, provides details of the giving of the Burton Memorial Medal to Wilson and the lecture which he provided.

Geographical Names