Catalogue description Loraine Papers

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Details of FO 1011
Reference: FO 1011
Title: Loraine Papers

This series contains both personal and official papers, including photograph albums, of the diplomat Sir Percy Loraine (1880-1961). It includes correspondence of 1916 to 1949 with Loraine's friend and fellow diplomat Sir Lancelot Oliphant (1881-1965) and correspondence with the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty in the First World War and with the Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister and with kings George V, Edward VIII and George VI and other members of the Royal Family and Household.

Much of the subject matter of this and other papers in the series relates to Loraine's career in Turkey, Persia, Italy and Egypt as well as in other countries and at the Paris Peace Conference of 1918-20. Papers of family and personal interest include several pieces on horse racing and the breeding of thoroughbreds. With the exception of two items dated respectively 1836 and 1856, all the papers in this series date from the period 1897-1960.

Date: 1836-1973
Related material:

-254. A diary kept by Sir Percy Loraine in Egypt in August to September 1929 is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS. Eng. hist. d.308). Some papers of Gordon Waterfield, Loraine's biographer, including copies of letters from Gertrude Bell to Loraine, are in the Private Papers Collection of the Middle East Library at St Antony's College, Oxford.

For further correspondence of Oliphant between 1921 and 1928, see FO 800/252

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: PRO 30/73
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Sir Percy Lyham Loraine, 12th Baronet, 1880-1961

Physical description: 290 files and volumes
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office , in c1961. FO 1011/278-290 were purchased at Christie's in February 1983.

Custodial history: Sir Percy Loraine's papers were transferred by his executors to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Publication note:

For a biography based on the Loraine papers while they were still in the possession of the his family, see Gordon S. Waterfield, Professional Diplomat: Sir Percy Loraine of Kirkharle (London, 1973).

Administrative / biographical background:

Percy Lyham Loraine PC., GCMG, twelfth and last baronet of Kirkharle, was born on 5 November 1880, the second son of Admiral Sir Lambton Loraine. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford but left the University in 1901 to fight in the Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War. After a brief return to Oxford he joined the Diplomatic Service in May 1904.

Loraine was sent first to Constantinople, where he worked for three years, next to Persia and then Italy, staying in Rome until March 1911. After appointments first in Peking and then in Paris he was posted to Madrid as First Secretary and Head of Chancery in 1916. For the rest of the First World War he was engaged in intelligence work for the Admiralty War Staff, except for a period following his father's death in May 1917, when he returned home to settle his affairs.

After working for the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, he was posted to Hungary and then Poland before becoming H M Minister to Persia from December 1921 until July 1926. In 1924 he married Louise Stuart-Wortley. From the end of 1926 until 1929 he was H M Minister to Greece. In 1929 he was appointed High Commissioner for Egypt and the Sudan. He became ambassador to Turkey in 1933, a post which he held with great distinction until becoming ambassador to Italy in 1939.

Loraine was instrumental in keeping Italy neutral during the first months of the Second World War, but after Italy declared war on Britain in 1940 he returned to London and became chairman of a Home Advisory Committee which was set up to hear appeals by Italian internees. He retired in November 1941 but accepted a post in March 1943 as an adviser on Italian affairs in the Political Warfare Executive. Following his retirement from the Diplomatic Service he also became increasingly active as a broadcaster, writer and lecturer on foreign affairs.

After leaving the Political Warfare Executive in August 1945, Sir Percy devoted himself to his lifelong hobbies of horse-racing and breeding thoroughbreds, to travelling with Lady Loraine, and to an extensive correspondence with his friends. He was elected to the Jockey Club in 1944 and his horses won a number of seriesic races in Britain and Eire. He died on 23 May 1961.

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