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Ministry of Defence Library, London- query


MaureenE
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I have seen a statement saying the Ministry of Defence Library, London has been broken up and the collection is now in other locations. Does anyone know where a regimental history (Indian Army) might now be located?

Cheers

Maureen

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Maureen

I have no idea about the movement of any collections from the MOD Library but Prince Consort's Library has a large collection of Regimental Histories.

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The Old War Officer Library was was broken up in the early 2000 with most of the collection going to Kings Uni (London) and Prince Consort's Library, some bits of the collection are at National Army Museum or the IWM. Can you post the book you are looking some member on here have a lot of books on the Indian Army

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Thank you both for your assistance.

I am preparing some material on resources relating to some Indian Army Regiments, so am looking for Libraries which hold certain books, rather than personally seeking information from the books.

I had not previously heard of the Prince Consort’s Library, so thank you for this information.

I found these GWF posts (2005) about the Prince Consort’s Library

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=30904

and this Victorian Wars Forum post

http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=8594

I found these contact details which were current January 2011

Tim Ward
Head of Library & Information Services
Prince Consort's Library
Knollys Road
Aldershot Hants
GU11 1PS

94222 4382
01252 349382
DII(F) Role: ALIS-PCL-HdLibSvcs
DII(F) Personal: timothy.ward455 (at) mod.uk (Substitute usual symbol for (at))

Cheers

Maureen

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I'm sure some were disposed of to the 2nd-hand books trade. I recall buying a book with a "withdrawn" stamp from this library.

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Maureen,

There may be other libraries, especially in the academic world, that hold the books you are seeking. http://copac.ac.uk/search gives a country-wide spread of university libraries, most of whom will be happy to help as much as possible should you want to look at the book on site.

If the books are in the public domain you might also be lucky and find a scanned copy on https://archive.org/

Best wishes,

seaJane

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I was disappointed to learn that the MOD Library has been broken up! I spent many happy lunch hours there. The collection was amazing! In my opinion, this was a very short-sighted decision. However, it is not uncommon. They did the same thing to the NDH.q Library in Ottawa. My understanding is that they pulped the regimental/corps journals and any book that they could not find another government library to accept. What a waste. I hope that the same thing did not happen in the UK!

All the best,

Gary

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Actually for MoD best read Whitehall Central - the Admiralty Library is still intact though it has moved from Great Scotland Yard to Portsmouth.

I'm a bit surprised this has only just surfaced as the event happened some years ago now...

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True, but please keep in mind that I haven't been there for about twenty years! News travels slowly across the Atlantic.

All the best,

Gary

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True, but please keep in mind that I haven't been there for about twenty years! News travels slowly across the Atlantic.

All the best,

Gary

Did someone shoot your pigeon? :whistle: (sorry :blush: )

In my defence the original poster also gave the impression that she had only recently seen the statement.

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Thanks seaJane for the copac link which I had previously tried. I think I saw one of your previous posts which gave this link and I have found it very useful (including locating an obscure book written by someone's relative!)

The book I am trying to locate ( as earlier mentioned, for reference purposes only) is called History of the Assam Regiment by Captain Peter Steyn published Bombay 1959. Even though this was an Indian Army regiment pre Independence, I can find no reference to any Library in the UK holding it, apart from the previously mentioned reference where someone advised it had been in the collection of Ministry of Defence Library, London. (world cat.org gives two American Universities and I also found it in the catalogue of the National Library of India, Calcutta). There is no reference in copac, the British Library, National Army Museum, IWM, Library of Military History, Royal United Services Institute etc. I initially had an expectation that there would be somewhere in the UK where this book was available.

Regimental Histories published in India and Burma , if they are not in the collection of the British Library, seem almost impossible to locate in the UK. Another one I was researching recently, published Burma late 1890s, the only reference found was in the catalogue of the National Library of India, Calcutta.

There are a few Indian Army regimental histories online in the Digital Library of India, but only a limited number.

I have written to the Prince Consort’s Library. Perhaps this may be a source of regimental histories which are not available elsewhere. Does anyone know if there any other specialist military libraries which may be sources for Indian Army regimental histories?

Cheers

Maureen

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Maureen



There is a copy of History Of The Assam Regiment Vol 1 1941 - 1947 by Peter Steyn in one of the Defence libraries, Whitehall I think.



That doesn't sound like a Great War related book to me.


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Thank you Gareth. You are correct, this particular book is not Great War related. However, I was hoping I might find out some information which would be applicable generally, including the Great War period, so I hope I have not broken any rules.

Cheers

Maureen

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There was an attempt to stop the Chief Librarian dispersing the library (some of which went into storage at the MOD base at Chicksands and then to Canada) culminating in an MP writing to the Secretary of State for clarification and querying whether the librarian had the right to do so. The Chief of the Defence Staff wrote a letter along the lines of 'cease and desist' - to which the response was in effect 'tough, I've already done it'. No rights of access or recall to the material given away - just dispersed. Opinion divided internally; I know of at least one librarian who resigned in disgust but there were others who were glad as they looked on people using historical resources as 'annoying hobbyists'. I should know, I was called it once when they thought I couldn't hear.

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Maureene

No Rules Broken (at least in my book of rules)!

I & perhaps others now know about the Prince Consort's Library, which must contain some very relevant material for GWF.

Harry

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At the time the MOD were breaking up the collection there was talk of over 80,000 books and manuscripts disposed of, I remember walking past skips full of boxes of books saturated with water and other times doing a bit of skip diving to add to my library.

Whoever gave the nod to break up the collection should hold their head in shame.

There is no way PCL could have taken on the collection from the MOD library,as they had their own collection which if anyone gets the chance it really is a fantastic library to visit, I know they got some choice pieces from the MOD library, however where did the rest of the collection end up?

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... I & perhaps others now know about the Prince Consort's Library, which must contain some very relevant material for GWF.

Harry

How's the Library doing for space? I was last there seven years ago, and it seemed to be bulging at the seams then.

Moonraker

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I would say that they are pretty much full. They could put up more shelving in the old part of the building (where al the Regtl histories are kept) but this would ruin the feel of the building.

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