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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Willert
Title
WILLERT, Gp Capt Paul Odo (1909-1998)
Date(s)
1936-1946
Level of description
Collection (Fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
1 box (0.01 cubic metres)

Context

Name of creator(s)
Willert, Paul Odo, 1909-1998
Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1909, son of Sir Arthur Willert, Times Correspondent, Washington, 1910-1920; worked in publishing, Germany and New York, 1936-1939, work in propaganda, Paris and London, 1939-1940, service with RAF, 1941-1944, and as Air Attaché, Paris, 1944-1945.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented by family, 1999, 2000

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers of Paul Willert mainly on his wartime service, 1939-45; including letters (6 files) to his wife, Brenda (nee Pearson), daughter of Weetman Harold Miller Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray, 1936-1946, from Germany, New York and Paris, c.1936-1940; during RAF training, 1941; from the Isle of Man [c.1942]; from Northern Ireland [1943-44], and from Paris, 1944-1945; file on propaganda work, in London and Paris, 1940-41, including detailed note, 'Report of a conversation on the evening of January 7, 1940' with pencil addition, 'Georges Mandel, Colonial Minister', re German-Soviet relations, the dismissal of Isaac Leslie Hore-Belisha as Secretary of State for War, morale in France, British propaganda in France, and propaganda in enemy; detailed notes on the present political situation in France, 10 Feb 1940; note criticising British propaganda to France, with suggestions for improvements, [c. 1940]; notes on the government of Paul Reynaud, France, dated Mar 1940; notes on 'France and its government, 27 May 1940'; 'Notes on the situation in France, May 14, 1940'; two letters to Willert from [?signature illegible], Political Warfare Executive (PWE), Electra House, London, re the staffing of Electra House and Willert's Paris office, and Willert's secret service activities in France, 31 May and 6 Jun 1940; correspondence (2 items) with Col Dallas Brooks, head of Electra House, 2 Jun and 6 Jun 1940, re arranging a military commission for Willert, and details of changes in the political situation in France; formal letter of introduction for Willlert from the British Embassy, Paris, signed by Donald Maclean, 9 Jun 1940; notes on the formation and operations of 'Department EH', Jul 1940, with criticisms of the division between Department EH (based at Electra House) and the Ministry of Information in disseminating propaganda to Europe; two letters, 26 Nov 1940 and 11 Dec 1940, re suggestion that PW should be appointed as representative of Special Operations Executive (SOE) at Gibraltar, working initially on propaganda, and his reasons for declining the post; detailed notes on the future of British relations with the USSR, c 1940; letter (to 'Sammy') [probably Samuel Hood, 6th Viscount Hood] re the organisation of propaganda and the deployment of the BBC overseas services, c 1941; letter to Dr Hugh Dalton re Willert's leaving SOE, 1941; two letters, from 'Sammy', [Samuel Hood, 6th Viscount Hood] 3 Jul 1941, and 'Gerald', 15 Jul 1941, both Ministry of Information, re suggestion that Willert should take charge of propaganda to France and Germany, and his refusal; detailed note on morale in the RAF, c 1942; file containing notes on individual members of the French resistance, [c 1944]; note on Gaston Bergery, 1930s pro-German French politician; official documents (3 items) re his post as Air Attaché (17pp) re service Sep 1939 - Jul 1940 (attached to propaganda mission in Paris, led by Noel Coward; details of work with co-operative Germans in Paris, for anti-German propaganda, subsequently helping some of them escape to England, after the German invasion of France; Willert's own escape and call up by RAF in Jan 1941; file of copy correspondence with and about Arthur Koestler, on the French resistance 1941-1943; file of copy documents from the Public Record Office (PRO) re planning, May 1940, for the evacuation of the French government and of the British Embassy from Paris; copy PRO documents re the evacuation of British civilians from France, Jun 1940; two signed photographs of Lord Northcliffe, 1913 and 1917, [friend of Willert's father, Sir Arthur Willert, Times correspondent, Washington DC, 1910-1920); manuscript diary, 21 Apr - 4 June1940, kept while serving with propaganda mission in Paris, attached to British Embassy.

System of arrangement

Almost all the letters to Brenda Willert had been sorted into an approximate chronological order by Brenda Willert herself (who did annotate a few with locations, and fewer with some kind of dating) or by her daughter, Wanda Rix. This arrangement has not been changed.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material
English

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives

Description control

Archivist's Note
Biographical information from papers. Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.
Rules or conventions
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions
Aug 2001

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Subjects

  • International conflicts
  • War
  • Wars (events)
  • World War Two (1939-1945)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Belisha, Isaac Leslie, Hore-, d 1957, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha of Devonport, statesman
  • Mandel, Georges, 1885-1944, French journalist and politician
  • Reynaud, Paul, 1878-1966, French Statesman
  • Willert, Paul Odo, 1909-1998
  • Willert, Paul Odo, 1909-1998

Corporate names

  • PWE, Political Warfare Executive
  • RAF, Royal Air Force
  • SOE, Special Operations Executive

Places

  • Germany
  • Isle of Man
  • London, England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Paris, France

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