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CABINET PAPERS
Complete classes from the CAB & PREM series in the Public Record Office 
Series One: PREM 3 - Papers concerning Defence & Operational Subjects, 1940-1945 Winston Churchill, Minister of Defence, Secretariat Papers

Part 2: PREM 3/52-111 (Subject files covering Army, Artillery, Atlantic - Battle of, Australasian Forces, Balkans, Blockade, Bombs, Bombsight, Bracelet, Bulgaria, Camouflage, Canadian Forces, Catapult Ships, Chemical Warfare, China, Civil Defence, Coastal Command, Commandos, Convoys, Crete and Crossbow)

In Part 2 we continue with the alphabetically arranged subject files (A-C).

The material under the heading Army includes much detail on the fighting in Burma and in the Far East with contibutions from Mountbatten, MacArthur, Auchinleck in India and also, later in the war, by the Air Commander in Chief - South East Asia - Leigh-Mallory. There is significant source material for the study of all aspects of the Battle of the Atlantic, including the introduction of the convoy system, the threat from German U-boats, anti-submarine countermeasures and reports from relevant departments, from March 1941 through to May 1942. There are a good number of files on the contribution made throughout the war by Australian and New Zealand Forces in all theatres of operation. Highlights include documents on Australian troops and the relief of Tobruk in July-November 1941, Australian forces in Burma (from February 1942 onwards), the role of Australian and New Zealand units in the Mediterranean, including the campaigns in North Africa and Greece, as well as in the Middle East and throughout the Far East.

There are also interesting files on Bacteriological and Chemical Warfare; the Balkans (including PREM 3/66/9 which covers the Yalta declaration on ‘Liberated Europe’, July 1945); Operation Biting (the famous Bruneval raid), February-March 1942; Bracelet (especially PREM 3/76 including Telegrams to the War Cabinet and to President Roosevelt as well as records of the Cairo and Moscow conferences, August-December 1942) and also much material on the Blockade, for instance, concerning Food for Occupied Countries, particularly Belgium, France and Norway.

The material on Camouflage includes a 57 page report by the Committee of Inquiry into Supplies of Steel Wool for Camouflage (steel wool attached to wire netting).

All these subjects files reveal Churchill’s astonishing output in terms of the thousands and thousands of telegrams and personal minutes emanating from Britain’s wartime leader.

There are important files on the role of Canadian Forces, on Catapult Ships, on China with regard to supply routes and Lend Lease, on all aspects of Civil Defence, the significance of Coastal Command, on the Colonies - for instance: African defence and the role of the West Indian Brigade, on Operation Colossus in Italy, on the special units such as the Commandos, on the use of Convoys, on Operation Crossbow (concerning the campaign to eliminate German Rocket sites and pilotless aircraft) and also on operations concerning Crete.

"The PREM 3 series is essential to understanding the evolution and conduct of British grand strategy during the Second World War, particularly in the context of inter-allied relations."
Correlli Barnett
, author of The Collapse of British Power, The Audit of War and Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War



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