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Memoirs of Basil Burwood-Taylor

 Single Item
MS. 12715

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Typescript memoirs of Basil Burwood-Taylor, written in circa 1989, describing his time at Oxford University before World War II, his army service in Egypt during the war and in the British Milirary Mission to Ethiopia until 1948, his work for Gellatly Hankey & Company in Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and his kidnapping by the Eritrean Liberation Front from Oct 1975 to May 1976 while honorary British consul in Asmara. Also the recollections of his wife, Phillys Burwood-Taylor, of the kidnapping, and a copy of a letter from Burwood-Taylor to The Times in May 2000 about the Eritrea/Ethiopia conflict.


  • 1989-2000


1.0 box

Language of Materials


Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 12715].
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MS. 12715

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12715


Memoirs of Basil Burwood-Taylor.

Biographical / Historical

Basil Henry Burwood-Taylor was born in 1917 and attended the City of London School and St John's College, Oxford. On the outbreak of World War II he joined the army, was commissioned in the Welch Regiment and served in Egypt and in the British Military Mission to Ethiopia until 1948. In 1940 he had married Phillys Miller who joined him in Ethiopia in 1946.

In 1948 Burwood-Taylor left the army and took employment with the shipping agents Gellatly Hankey and Company and had postings in Sudan and Ethiopia. In 1962 he was sent to the office in Asmara, Eritrea, where he additionally took on the role of honorary British consul in 1969. On 23 October 1975 he was kidnapped by the Eritrean Liberation Front and held until 3 May 1976. On returning to England he worked for the Royal Merchant Navy School for twelve years. He retired to Oxford and died in 2011.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in 2015.
Memoirs of Basil Burwood-Taylor
Finding aid prepared by Lucy McCann
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom