Tunstall-Behrens Papers

Scope and Content

Papers of Lieutenant-Colonel Tankred Tunstall-Behrens (1878-1939), surveyor, Royal Engineers, largely relating to his survey work for international boundary commissions. Tunstall-Behrens served on the Anglo-German-Belgian boundary commission inUganda 1902-1906, the Peru-Bolivia boundary commission 1910-1911, and the Austro-Italian boundary commission 1920-1924.

The papers include diaries and journals, field computations, correspondence, official instructions, notes of meetings, maps and drawings, photographs, and printed items and cuttings. They also include a file on Tunstall-Behrens' work in1928-1929, after he had left the army, for a topographical survey of the city and federal district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was undertaken by the Aircraft Operating Company for the city authorities, using a combination of aerial photographyand ground surveying. Tunstall-Behrens's East Africa journals include descriptions of the country and of colonial social life.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tankred Tunstall-Behrens was born in 1878, the eldest son of Louis Wilhelm Ferdinand Behrens (1847-1910) and his wife Emily (née Tunstall, 1850-1923). Louis Behrens, a successful coffee merchant, had emigrated from Germany to London and become aBritish citizen before his son's birth. It was his wish that all his children should use the name Tunstall-Behrens, but in his professional career Tankred was known as Behrens, as the army authorities considered that to be the official form of hissurname.

Tankred was educated at Clifton College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers as 2nd Lieutenant in 1897 (Lieutenant 1900, Captain 1906, Major 1914, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel 1917, TemporaryLieutenant-Colonel 1920, full Lieutenant-Colonel 1922). He was on the General Staff 1906-1910, and served in France and Belgium during World War I. He retired from the army on half pay in 1926 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, but returned asgarrison engineer at Shorncliffe and Lydd in 1934. He died in April 1939.


The papers have not yet been given their final arrangement. At present related material is grouped together only very roughly, and not in chronological order.

Access Information

Until the papers have been fully arranged and catalogued permission to consult them must be obtained in advance from the Head of Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Mrs Jean Wrangham, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Tunstall-Behrens, 1999 (accession Misc.1998/99:11). The deposit was appraised by David Lisle Crane on behalf of the depositor, 1999-2000, and material chiefly of family interest wasremoved for retention in family possession.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Letters between a Victorian schoolboy and his parents, 1892-1895, [an edition of Tankred Tunstall-Behrens' correspondence with his family while a schoolboy as CliftonCollege], ed. David Lisle Crane (Durham, 1999). The originals of these letters are not included in the deposit, but remain in family possession.  Behrens, T. T., The most reliable values of the heights of the central African lakes and mountains, The Geographical Journal (March 1907), 307-26.  Adami, Vittorio, National frontiers in relation to international law (London, 1927) [a translation by Tankred Tunstall-Behrens of Adami's I confini di stato nella legislazioneinternazionale (Rome, 1919), with an appendix on practical considerations when defining frontiers by watersheds]Uganda. Official report of the British section of the Uganda-Congo Boundary Commission, 1907-1908 (London, 1909)Uganda. Report on the work of the British section of the Anglo-German-Belgian Boundary Commission (London, 1911)