Catalogue description War Office: Reports, Memoranda and Papers (O and A Series)

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Details of WO 33
Reference: WO 33
Title: War Office: Reports, Memoranda and Papers (O and A Series)

This series contains confidential printed reports, memoranda etc, which were specially printed and given a limited circulation, dealing with all aspects of the administration of the departments and the armed forces.

Initially, they were issued from 1853-1858 in a numbered sequence covering 1853 to 1855 and separate numbered sequences for 1856, 1857 and 1858. In 1859 a prefix (letter O or number nought) was introduced which was used in a single sequence until 1886 when a series with an A prefix was introduced (paper O 1016 was followed by paper A16).

There were also separate B and C series of papers, but the latter (which by the 1940's was reserved for papers classified 'confidential') does not survive as a distinct set.

There were also other serial numbers in use for secret and confidential papers, usually those originating in other departments. Such documents will normally be found in the records of the originating department.

Material originally assigned to WO 130, which was abolished in June 1969, is now WO 33/1574-1623; the other papers fomerly in WO 130 largely duplicated material already in WO 33.

Date: 1853-1969

The papers are arranged mainly in numerical order.

In the early part of the series (pieces 1-56), some papers were not included in the original bound volumes; hence, some gaps appear in the sequence of items. In some cases, those papers were transferred to The National Archives many years later than the original volumes. Where this is the case, it is noted in the individual catalogue entries. The item numbering for the papers in the volumes uses the original paper numbers. The papers transferred separately were given arbitrary running numbers.

Related material:

For related printed material see WO 279

See also Records of Commissions, Committees and Councils, etc Division within WO

For other A papers, relating to the Second World War, many of which will have copies in this series, see WO 212

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: O and A file series
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Ministry of Defence, 1947-

War Office, 1857-1964

Physical description: 3409 files and volumes
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Accruals: Series is accruing.

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