Ronald Peel was born 22 August 1912, the son of Albert Edward Peel, of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, and Matilda Mary Peel, of Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire [Scotland]. In 1938 he married Mary Annette Preston, only daughter of H. Preston, of Northampton; they had one daughter.
Peel was educated at Northampton Grammar School and St Catharine's College, Cambridge (scholar).
He became Lecturer in Geography at King's College, University of Durham, (1935-39) and accompanied Brigadier Ralph Bagnold on an exploring expedition in the Libyan Desert, in 1938. During the war he served with the Royal Engineers, first in France (1939-40), then on the staff in Britain (1940-44), in North Africa and Italy (1944-45) and finally back in Britain (1945).
After the war, Peel's career included: King's College, Newcastle (1945-46); Department of Geography, Cambridge University (1946), Lecturer in Geography (1949); Professor of Geography, University of Leeds (1951-57), Head of Department, (1953-57); Professor of Geography, University of Bristol (1957-77,) later Emeritus; Dean of Science, (1968-70). He took part in expeditions to the Ruwenzori Mountains in Africa in 1952 and to the Western and Central Sahara in 1961.
Peel became a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge in 1949. He was awarded the MBE in 1945 and won the Cuthbert Peake Award of the Royal Geographical Society in 1950 and the Livingstone Gold Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, in 1979. He was President of various bodies, including: Institute of British Geographers (1965); Section E, British Association (1967); Colston Research Society, Bristol (1973-76). He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Royal Meteorological Society and Editor of the Geographical Journal (1978-80). He died on 21 September 1985.
Peel's publications include: Physical Geography (1951); (editor) Processes in Physical and Human Geography (1975); (editor) Remote Sensing of Terrestrial Environment (1976); articles on geographical subjects to technical journals, British and foreign.
Copy of Peel's diary, kept during an expedition to Libya and Egypt led by Brigadier Ralph Bagnold, in areas including Wadi el Aqaba and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.
Copied with the permission of the original's owner in November 2004.
The microfilm is owned by Churchill Archives Centre.
The diary is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.
Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the microfilm must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, Diary of Libyan Desert expedition, BGND AS
Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of Ralph Bagnold, GBR/0014/BGND.
A copy of this finding aid is available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London and on the Janus website, http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/.
This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in December 2004. Biographical information taken from Professor Peel's entry in Who Was Who (A&C Black).
Further copy kept by the Rock Art Topographical Survey, University College London.
The original diary is still in private hands.