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Papers of Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler


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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.


  • Creation: 1899-1943


3 Volumes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Afr. r. 195].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. r. 195

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 1053

Biographical / Historical

Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler (1880-1964) joined the 3rd Northumberland Fusiliers in 1897, then the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1899. He fought in the South African War before joining the King's African Rifles, 1905-1907. He explored Northern Arabia, 1907-1908, disguised as a Bedouin, and lectured to the Royal Geographical Society on his return. He transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1908, then the Egyptian Army, 1909-1915. During World 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 the position of Deputy Chief of Intelligence, GHQ, 1918. From 1919 to 1920 he worked as Head of Naval Intelligence, Constantinople. He held a non-commissioned post 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, during World 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 British Military Mission in Ethiopia, 1941-1943. Frequently decorated, he was awarded the DSO in 1917, CMG in 1919 and CB in 1936. In 1913 he married Phyllis Critchley-Salmonson, with whom he had two sons.

Other Finding Aids

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquisition information unknown.

Related Materials

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 Army uniform, c1909 (ref. MSS. Afr. r. 199). The Imperial War Museum holds reminiscences by Butler on the South African War, World War One and World War Two; various papers of Butler are held at the University Library, Durham.

Papers of Major-General Stephen Seymour Butler
Paul Davidson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom