Sir Henry Gurney Collection

Scope and Content

File 1. TS diary entries 15 March-14 May 1948 covering the last days of the British Mandate in Palestine. File 2. TS of "Palestine Postscript: a short record of the last days of the Mandate", not dated. File 3. TS of part of Henry Moore's biographical sketch of Gurney for the Dictionary of National Biography, with a covering letter to General Sir Alan Cunningham, 1 July 1963.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Henry Lovell Goldsworthy Gurney (1898-1951) Knight, High Commissioner Colonial Service

Born 27 June 1898, son of G.G.H. Gurney and Florence Gurney (nee Chamier). Educated Winchester College; University College, Oxford. Served 60th Rifles, 1917-19; entered Colonial Service, Kenya, 1921; Assistant Colonial Secretary, Jamaica, 1935; Chief Secretary to Conference of East African Governors, 1938-44; CMG 1942; Colonial Secretary, Gold Coast, 1944-46; Chief Secretary to Palestine Government, 1946-48; Kt.1947; KCMG 1948; High Commissioner for Federation of Malaysia, 1948-51. Married, 1924, Isabel Lowther Weir: 2 sons. Killed in an ambush in Malaya, 6 October 1951.



Access Information


For further information on how to use the Middle East Centre Archive, please see our Archon entry at

Acquisition Information

Received from Oxford Colonial Records Project, April 1964

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description created by Clare Brown 16 Dec 1998 and revised by Debbie Usher 24 Nov 2003 and 26 Oct 2011

Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions on copying or quotation apart from statutory regulations and preservation concerns. The Gurney family have granted permission for copies of the diaries (which are now published works) to be made for private study and non-commercial research.

Custodial History

In the possession of Sir Henry and Lady Gurney, and Sir Alan Cunningham

Related Material

In Other Repositories

Oxford University: Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House: Sir Henry Gurney Agricultural reports relating to Kenya. Reference: MSS Afr s 1741


A scholarly edition of the Gurney diaries with an introduction and explanatory footnotes has been published as follows:

Golani, Motti., The end of the British mandate for Palestine, 1948 : the diary of Sir Henry Gurney (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Geographical Names