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Churchill/MLBE contains:
1 McLachlan's "Room 39" Papers
2 Beesly - "Very Special Intelligence" Papers.
3 Beesly - "Very Special Admiral" papers
4 [Reference number not allocated]
5/1 Papers of Commander Lloyd Hirst
6 McLachlan's "Room 39" - Additional
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British Naval Intelligence Papers, mainly of Donald McLachlan and Patrick Beesly.

Title McLachlan's "Room 39" Papers
Reference MLBE 1
Creator McLachlan, Donald Harvey (1908-1971), author and intelligence officer
Covering Dates 1940–1967
Extent and Medium 16 files
Content and context

McLachlan (born 25th September 1908) was educated at the City of London School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he gained first class honours in PPE. He was a Laming Fellow at Queen's College, Oxford 1932-33 and then entered journalism on the editorial staff of The Times. From 1936-8 he was an Assistant-Master in Winchester College, after which he edited The Times Educational Supplement for two years. At the beginning of World War II he was serving in the Army's Intelligence Corps, but Admiral John Godfrey, the Director of Naval Intelligence, on learning that his duties were not very demanding, extracted him from that position and obtained a commission for him as a Lieutenant (Special Branch) RNVR. After a short time in the German Section (NID1) he became the First Secretary of the Future Operations (Enemy) Section (FOES), a small body set up initially under Captain T.H. Troubridge to study and forecast future strategy. Towards the end of 1940 he was transferred to NID's Co-ordinating Section (NID 17) which worked in the famous Room 39 next to the office of the DNI. In 1941 he became head of the Naval Propaganda sub-section NID 17Z, which, with the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) dealt with 'black' and 'grey' wireless and other propaganda directed against the German Navy. He continued in that capacity until the end of the war.

After the return of peace he became Assistant Editor (Foreign) for The Economist 1947-54, then Deputy Editor of The Daily Telegraph 1954-60. A year as a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, followed, after which he returned to Fleet Street as Editor of the newly born Sunday Telegraph 1961-66. On resigning that very arduous post he decided to become a free- lance writer chiefly on the subject with which he was most familiar -namely Naval Intelligence. His first book Room 39 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968) was very successful, and despite the fact that he was handicapped by the absolute ban on publication of anything to do with cryptography then in force, still provides an excellent all-round view of the Naval Intelligence organisation and work in World War II. He had several other books in hand or projected when he was killed in a car accident on 10th January 1971. He had promised to deposit more papers in Churchill College, but the promise was frustrated by the Ministry of Defence removing the remainder after his death.

The first section of this Archive contains valuable correspondence with officers who served in NID.

Further information

A copy of McLachlan's book "Room 39: Naval Intelligence in Action, 1939-45" (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1968) is available for consultation in the reading room at Churchill Archives Centre (classmark 940.5486 McL).

Index Terms
McLachlan, Donald Harvey (1908-1971) author and intelligence officer
Churchill/MLBE 1 contains:
1 Notes from or about members of N.I.D. in World War II. Including memoirs of:- . William Plomer (Literary critic. Information Section) . William Todd (of Thomas Cook & Son. Norwegian Section) . Rodger Winn (barrister, later Lord Justice) . Lieutenant Colonel J.K. Cordeaux RM (NID representative with MI6. Previously Italian Section) . Vice-Admiral Sir Ian Campbell . Rear-Admiral E. Rushbrooke (a former DDNI. Admiral Godfrey's successor) . Ian Fleming - by Admiral Sir Norman Denning . Captain Charles Drake, with paper on Sidney Cotton's photographic reconnaissance of Wilhelmshaven.
1 file.
2 Notes from papers of Admiral J.H.Godfrey. 'A Day in the Life of the D.N.I.' June 1966 . 'The Hall Tradition' n.d. . 'Churchill and Godfrey' n.d. . Letter and paper of 13 Jan 1966 by Godfrey . Paper by Godfrey opposing sending daily signals about invasion developments. 7 Nov 1940.
1 file.
3 Inter-Services Topographical Department (ISTD). Creation of equivalent for South East Asia Command. Paper by Commander A.M. Hughes. Copy of 'The Contact Register (British and Foreign)'.
1 file.
Apr 1944
4 U-boats, and campaign against. Admiral of the Fleet Sir G. Creasy's letters (two) of 16 Nov 1966. . Draft paper on bombing of U-boat bases, l Aug 1942. . Memo for 1st Sea Lord on forecast of result of U-boat campaign in 1945.
1 file.
5 The Government Code & Cypher School (GCCS). Rough notes on origin. . Notes about the Tighe Report of 1945.
1 file.
6 Paper 'Clandestine Operations against German Warships in Norway 1942-44'.
1 file.
7 Paper 'The Naval Mission to Russia 1943-45'. Possibly by Admiral Sir Geoffrey Miles.
45 pages.
8 Paper 'Intelligence Requirements and Collaboration with the Naval Staff'. Much of it by Captain Tower, formerly Head of German Section, with remarks by Admiral Godfrey.
1 file.
9 Captain H.M Denham, Naval Attache, Copenhagen, then Stockholm, notes and correspondence. Subjects covered include:. Extracts from his War Diary. . Incident of Swedish destroyers on passage from Italy. . Intelligence collecting, 1940, 1941. . Sources in Denmark, Holland and Sweden. Blockade running, Dutch M.V.Nautilus. . Attempt to sink Tirpitz in Trondheim, Oct 1942. . Swedish security 1942. . U-boat construction. . Movements of U-boats. . Delays and failures in communication. . Secret weapons. . German Abwehr activity. . Denham's appointment letter.
1 file.
10 The Operations Intelligence Centre (O.I.C.). Paper by Commander D. Thomas, n.d. . Letter of 19 Oct 1966 by Commander P.K.Kemp about Rodger Winn. . Paper by Admiral Denning on Rodger Winn, n.d. . Paper by Denning on German Navy, July 1939. . Paper by Denning on 'The Future of German Heavy Surface Craft', 22 Feb 1943.
1 file.
11 Paper on Norwegian Operations 1940-45.
1 file.
12 "Total Intelligence". Copy of paper by Major Peter Fleming, Chung King. 30 Jun 1942
13 German Intelligence. Paper on preparations for operation 'Overlord' anon, n.d. (probably Lt.Cdr. Richardson RNVR). . Interview with Kapitän z.s. Meckel, 22 Nov 1966 (Doenitz's Communications Staff Officer). . Letter from David Irving about his interview with Admiral V. Puttkamer, 10 Apr 1967, with covering note by M. Davenport, (Lt. RNVR NID 10 Cypher Security). On German cryptographic successes.
1 file.
14 Convoy PQ 17 Disaster, July 1942 German operation 'Knight's Move'.
15 Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten. Interview with, 30 July 1966. . Letter from, 27 May 1966.
1 file.
16 "Miscellany". 1. Paper 'North Russia Convoys 1942-43', state and disposition of German warships, anon, n.d. . 2. Interpretation Report on condition of Lützow after bombing, 21 Apr 1945, with photograph. . 3. Ms. account of occupation of Iceland, May 1940 and of service as S.O.(I), Mediterranean with diagram of Mediterranean Intelligence organisation (probably Colonel Humphrey Quill RM). . 4. The story of Don Juan March's activities, anon. n.d. (probably Captain Hillgarth RN or Lt. Cdr. Gomez-Beare RNVR, NA and ANA Madrid). . 5. Rough synopsis of book by McLachlan. 5. . 6. Paper on grading of sources, 1939 and 1943, probably by McLachlan. . 7. Paper 'A Woman in the Naval Intelligence Division' (two copies), anon, n.d. . 8. Letter of 29 June 1966 by Rear-Admiral P.W.W. Graham opposing inclusion of a chapter on 'Present Day Set-up'.

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