Guide to the Papers of Brigadier A.T. Shakespear (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Shakespear, A.T., Brigadier
Papers of Brigadier A.T. Shakespear (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1934 - December 1941
Collection Number
6 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Album 1934-1936 containing newspaper cuttings, invitations and photographs of Singapore, Malaya and Ceylon, a small group of letters and a notebook.

Diary kept by Mrs A.T. Shakespeare 1934-1935 describing the voyage from England and the first three months in Singapore.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Citation items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the private residence of Mrs N. Davies, Hants, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1981 (AJCP Reel: M1198). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mrs N. Davies. Hants, England.

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia []. As well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Army officers; Great Britain; Kota Bahru: Malaya; Malaya; Photographs: Ceylon; Photographs: Malaya; Photographs: Singapore; Shakespear, A.T., Brigadier; Shakespear, S.G.; Singapore; Sri Lanka


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous. Third Edition, published 1998 (M) Series, Entry 412, p161.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Talbot Shakespear (1885-1964), the son of Colonel Arthur Bucknell Shakespear, was born at Plymouth. He was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military College. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1906 and promoted to the rank of captain in 1914. He was stationed in Ireland and Malta and during World War I he served in France and Belgium, where he won the Military Cross. After the War, he served in Egypt and Gibraltar and was promoted to major in 1922, lieutenant-colonel in 1929, colonel in 1933 and brigadier (Local) 1934. Subsequently stationed in Malta, Gibraltar, Singapore and Egypt. Assistant Adjutant and Quarter-Master General, Malaya, 1934-1937, A.R.P. Officer, Richmond, 1938-1939, Assistant Adjutant and Quarter-Master General Gibraltar, 1940.

In 1832 H.T. De La Beche (1796-1855) was commissioned by the Ordnance Survey to colour geologically maps of south west England and in 1835 he was appointed the first officer of the Geological Ordnance Survey. In 1840 he established a Mining Records Office to preserve the plans of abandoned mines and in 1841 the Museum of Economic Geology was opened. In 1845 the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland was separated from the Ordnance Survey and was placed under the purview of the Office of Woods and Forests (later the Department of Science and Art). In 1851 both the Geological Survey and the Museum (renamed the Museum of Practical Geology) moved to Jermyn Street and at the same time the Government School of Mines (later the Royal School of Mines) was opened. De La Beche was Director of all four institutions.

In 1872 some of the departments of the Royal School of Mines were transferred to South Kensington and the remainder had followed by 1890, eventually forming part of the Imperial College of Science and Technology. The Mining Records Office was transferred to the Home Office in 1883. The Geological Survey and Museum moved to South Kensington in 1934-35. In 1965 the Institute of Geological Sciences was established, incorporating the Geological Survey, Geological Museum and the Overseas Geological Surveys.


J.S. Flett. The first hundred years of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. (London, H.M.S.O. 1937)

E. Bailey. Geological survey of Great Britain. (London, Murby, 1952.)

Item Descriptions

Album of newspaper cuttings, invitations and photographs of Singapore, Malaya and Ceylon, 1934 - 1936 (File 1)

The photographs at the beginning of the album were taken on the voyage from England to Singapore in 1934. The later photographs mostly depict street scenes and social events in Singapore and Malaya, and also Ceylon, which Shakespear visited in 1936. In particular, the photographs and cuttings refer to the celebrations of the King's Silver Jubilee in 1935.

Notebook listing calls made and calls received, 1934 - 1940 (File 2)

The notebook lists the names of people whom Shakespear visited, or who visited Shakespear, in Singapore (1934-1937), Richmond, England (1938-1939) and Gibraltar (1940).

Letters, 18 April 1935 - 1 January 1938 (File 2)

Sir Shenton Thomas (Singapore) to Shakespear, 18 April 1935 (Item)

Royal Society of St George. Menu and program of festival banquet, Raffles Hotel, Singapore, 24 April 1935 (Item)

Sir Shenton Thomas (Singapore) to Shakespear, 18 December 1937 (Item)

Visitors to Government House, news of the General [William Dobbie], looks forward to returning to England in 1939.

Clerk of Councils (Singapore) to Shakespear, 19 May 1937 (Item)

Sends copy of Oaths taken by Shakespear as a member of the Executive Council of the Straits Settlements.

J.D. Boyd to Shakespear, 7 June 1937 (Item)

No prospect of employment for Shakespear on termination of his appointment in Malaya nor of promotion to rank of major-general.

War Office to Shakespear, 5 July 1937 (Item)

Termination of his appointment as Assistant Adjutant and Quarter-Master General in charge of administration, Malaya; he will be placed on half-pay list.

Rev. Maurice Farren (Singapore) to Shakespear, 24 July 1937 (Item)

Inspection of churches at Tanglia and Changi, amazing improvement in furnishings.

War Office to Shakespear, 1 January 1938 (Item)

Approval given for Shakespear to have honorary rank of brigadier on his retirement.

Extract from the Royal Engineers Journal, October 1937 (File 4)

An extract from the Royal Engineers Journal, October 1937, with a letter (20 July 1937) from Shakespear concerning the old Royal Engineers Mess at Changi.

Diary of Shakespear, 14 September 1934 - 13 January 1935 (File 5)

The diary begins on 14 September 1934, when Shakespear was preparing to leave England, and ends on 13 January 1935. It describes his voyage from Southampton to Marseilles, Port Said, Aden, Bombay, Colombo and Penang and his arrival at Singapore (12 October 1934), his impressions of Singapore and Malacca, travels in the Malay Peninsula, the Raffles Hotel, the Alexandra Barracks, social life in Singapore, sporting events, visits to the theatre, church services, events at Government house, and visitors to Singapore, including Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. There are numerous references to senior military and civil officers in the colony, including the governor, Sir Shenton Thomas, and the harbour master, Sir John Alleyne.

Papers concerning Lieutenant John Close, December 1941 (File 6)

The papers comprise roneoed copies of letters and documents concerning the life and death of Lieutenant John Close, who was killed in December 1941 fighting against Japanese forces at Kota Bahru, Kelantan. They include extracts from O.D. Gallagher's book, Action in the East (New York, 1942) and Ian Morrison's book, Malayan Postscript (Sydney, 1943). There are also extracts from letters to Close's father, Sir Charles Arden-Close, from Major A.G.L. Close (Malaya), Brigadier Warren Willey (Malaya), Capt. George Gibson (London), Major F. Page Gourlay (Fort Swettenham, Selangor) and Lieutenant-General E.F. Norton (Quetta).