Bodleian Library logo

Commonwealth and African Studies
Bodleian Library
Special Collections
Search All Online Catalogues

Collection Level Description: Papers of Sir Harry Charles Luke

Reference: MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 286
Title: Papers of Sir Harry Charles Luke
Dates of Creation: 1930-1937
Extent: 3 boxes
Name of Creator: Harry Charles Luke

Language of Material: English



Administrative/Biographical History

Sir Harry Charles Luke was born in 1884 in London, England. He was educated at Eton, and Trinity College, Oxford (he became an honorary fellow of the College in 1952). Luke's first official appointment was as Private Secretary (1908) and Aide-de-Camp (1909) to the Governor of Sierra Leone. In 1911 he served in the same capacity in Barbados, except for a period during May-July when he was attached to the Colonial Office. In October 1911 Luke was transferred to Cyprus where he held the posts of Private Secretary to the High Commissioner, Assistant Secretary to the Government (1912), and Commissioner of Famagusta (1918). From 1909 to 1911 Luke was also second lieutenant in the London Yeomanry.

During World War I, Luke served as Commander of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the Syrian Coast, and as a Political Officer on the staff of Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss; for his services he was awarded the Italian medal for military valour. In 1919 Luke was appointed Political Officer to the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir J. de Robeck.

In 1920 Luke spent 6 months serving as British Chief Commissioner in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan (April-September 1920) before being appointed Assistant Governor of Jerusalem (1920-1924). During this period he also served as a Commissioner inquiring into the Jaffa Riots and into the affairs of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem (1921).

After appointments as Colonial Secretary of Sierra Leone (1924-1928), Chief Secretary of Palestine (1928-1930) and Lieutenant-Governor of Malta (1930-1938) Luke's last official post was as Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific (1938-1942). On his retirement from the Colonial Service, in 1943, Luke was for three years Chief Representative of the British Council in the Caribbean.

Luke was appointed CMG in 1926 and created a Knight in 1933 and a KCMG in 1939. He was a D.Litt. of Oxford (1938) and an honorary LLD of Malta. He also published many books, chiefly about the Middle East and the Pacific. Sir Luke died in Cyprus on the 11 May 1969.

Scope and Content

The collection contains papers relating to the eight years that Sir Harry Luke held the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Malta. Included are despatches, telegrams and correspondence (including correspondence between Luke and Secretaries of State, Governors of Malta, and dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church).

There are also papers relating to Lord Strickland and his relationship with the Roman Catholic Church and with the British Government, and papers dealing with the threat of invasion of Malta by Italy in 1935 while Luke was Officer administering the Government (including correspondence between him and the Governor, Sir David Campbell).

Administrative Information

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/services/admissions/.

Reproduction Restrictions

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Further Information

Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 151 in Manuscript Collections (Africana and non-Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplementary accessions to the end of 1977 and Cumulative Index, compiled by Wendy S. Byrne (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1978).

Related Units of Description

Sir Harry Charles Luke's diaries of Malta and Palestine are held by St. Anthony's College, Oxford.

Access Points

Luke | Harry Charles | 1884-1969 | Knight and colonial governor

Strickland | Gerald | 1861-1940 | Baron Strickland | colonial administrator

Lieutenant governors | Malta

Great Britain | Colonial Administrative Service

Malta | Officials and employees

Malta | Politics and government

Malta | Relations | Italy

Italy | Relations | Malta


Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
27 June 2011