Papers of Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler

Scope and Content

Typescript memoirs of service in the South African War, East Africa, Arabia,Egypt, North India, Sudan, etc., with photographs, sketches, postcards, letters,etc., 1899-1943.

Administrative / Biographical History

Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler (1880-1964) joined the 3rd NorthumberlandFusiliers in 1897, then the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1899. He fought inthe South African War before joining the King's African Rifles, 1905-1907. Heexplored Northern Arabia, 1907-1908, disguised as a Bedouin, and lectured to theRoyal Geographical Society on his return. He transferred to the SouthStaffordshire Regiment in 1908, then the Egyptian Army, 1909-1915. DuringWorld War One he served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1915,saw action in the Dardanelles, 1915-1916 and in France, 1916-1918, and held theposition of Deputy Chief of Intelligence, GHQ, 1918. From 1919 to 1920 heworked as Head of Naval Intelligence, Constantinople. He held a non-commissionedpost in India, 1921-1923 and was Military Attach, Bucharest,1923-1926. He served as Inspector-General Royal West African Frontier Force,1926-1930 and Kaid Sudan Defence Force, 1930-1935, then with the 48th Division,Territorial Army, 1935-1939, after which he retired briefly. Then, duringWorld War Two, he was made Head of the Military Mission to Turkey, 1939-1940,undertook liaison work in Africa, 1940-1941, and was Head of the BritishMilitary Mission in Ethiopia, 1941-1943. Frequently decorated, he was awardedthe DSO in 1917, CMG in 1919 and CB in 1936. In 1913 he married PhyllisCritchley-Salmonson, with whom he had two sons.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library ofCommonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 802 in Manuscript Collections in RhodesHouse Library, Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library,1996).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

Eleven personal notebooks relating to military service in East Africa,1939-1943, with manuscript journal of journey into unknown Arabia, 1907-1908 and photograph of Butler in Egyptian Armyuniform, c1909 (ref. MSS. Afr. r. 199). The Imperial War Museum holdsreminiscences by Butler on the South African War, World War One andWorld War Two; various papers of Butler are held at the University Library,Durham.