Over the past couple of months Natalie Adams and Tom Davies have been working to catalogue the Hill-Norton collection which is held here at Churchill Archives Centre.

Baron Hill-Norton’s papers relate to the later part of his career and cover a period when he held a number of prestigious military and political positions.

Hill-Norton was appointed as the last ever Commander-in-Chief of British forces in the Far East in 1969; First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in 1970, a role in which he abolished the over 200 year old traditional daily rum ration! By March 1971, he had been promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and was appointed as Chief of Defence Staff – Britain’s most senior serving officer.

Typewritten letter from Baron Hill-Norton to Margaret Thatcher

Hill-Norton’s letter to Margaret Thatcher criticising her government for its approach to Defence Policy (HLNN 1/3/4).

From April 1974 to 1977 Hill-Norton served as the chairman of NATO’s military committee. In this role he was involved in the successful peace negotiations between Greece and Turkey after the invasion of northern Cyprus. In 1977 he left NATO and was created a life peer as Baron Hill-Norton in 1979.

Typewritten speech about UFOs, on House of Lords headed paper. Excerpt: "I am convinced that there is an official cover-up of the investigations which governments have made into UFOs"

Extract from Hill-Norton’s speech to the House of Lords UFO study group (HLNN 2/6/3).

Hill-Norton became an active member of the House of Lords. Never one to shy away from contentious issues, Hill-Norton made controversial contributions on subjects such as the repeal of section 28 and the ordination of women. His papers cover topics ranging from those you might expect to find (attacking warship designs, debates on Trident, and the excessive reliance on nuclear weapons)to the more unusual such as alleged MoD suppression of UFO sightings. This collection really gives a sense of how active and engaged Peter Hill-Norton was in the later part of his life.

HLNN 1/3/5

Letter to Terry Wogan expressing his displeasure at Ben Elton’s performance as host on the BBC talk show “Wogan” (HLNN 1/3/5.

Hill-Norton’s collection includes personal and official correspondence, letters to the press, speeches and articles. Please explore the online Hill-Norton catalogue to discover more.

Hill-Norton catalogue

— Tom Davies, Archives Assistant.

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