Correspondence and papers of Sir William Denis Battershill

Scope and Content

  • Correspondence, mainly with the immediate Battershill family,1908-1956
  • Papers concerning administrative service, chiefly inCyprus, Palestine and Tanganyika, 1935-1957
  • Notes on safaris undertaken inTanganyika and Kenya, 1945-1948
  • Manuscript and printed material relating tothe political situation in Cyprus, also typescript of personal reflections on the island, 1949-1960
  • Typescripts, etc. of books, short stories and an article, by Battershill, 20th century
  • Diaries and diary extracts, 1933-1940, 1951-1952
  • Correspondence, reports and drafts in preparation for an official government guidebook to Cyprus, 1952-1959
  • Letters and telegrams of condolence to Lady Battershill on her husband's death, 1959, with related press cuttings, 1938-1959

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Denis Battershill (1896-1959) was a soldier and colonialadministrator. Educated at King's School, Worcester, 1908-1914, he servedin India and Iraq, 1914-1919 with the 6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and the2nd Battalion, the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. Entering civilian lifein 1920 as a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service, he rose to the post of2nd Assistant Secretary and Clerk to the Legislative Council in 1928. Continuing his career, he served as Assistant Colonial Secretary, Jamaica, 1929-1935, Colonial Secretary, Cyprus, 1935-1937, Chief Secretary to the Government of Palestine, 1937-1939, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Cyprus, 1939-1941, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Colonial Office,1941-1942, Deputy Under-Secretary, Tanganyika Territory, 1942-1945, andGovernor and Commander-in-Chief, Tanganyika Territory, 1945-1949.

In 1924he married Joan Gellibrand, with whom he had two daughters. He spent the last ten years of his life after 1949 in retirement on Cyprus.

Access Information

Bodleian readers ticket required.


A typescript autobiography of Sir William Denis Battershill, 1950s, was donated to the library by Mrs. J. D'Arcy in 1959.

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

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 557 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford,Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996). A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

Photographic collection of Sir William Denis Battershill, 1914-1959 (ref. MSS. Brit. Emp. t. 8.).