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Paul Richey Papers

Identifier: GTM-150630

Scope and Contents

The Paul Richey papers are composed of three series.

The Correspondence Series contains correspondence from Paul Richey. The correspondence is almost all in the form of lengthy autograph letters signed from Paul Richey to his parents. A few of the letters were written by Paul at school at Downside. Many of the letters were written from air force training school. In addition, many of the letters were written from air force stations. A number of the letters were written in India in 1943. The correspondence focuses on family news, life on the air bases, Paul's experiences during the war, and conditions in Britain. Two telegrams reporting Paul being wounded are also present (Box 1 Folders 76 snd 77). Six of the letters were sent to his parents together with his brother Michael Richey. (Box 1: folder 42, 1:47, 1:48, 1:61, 1:64, and 1:87). Five of the letters were sent directly to his brother Michael Richey (box 1: folder 51, 1:55, 1:60, 1:68, and 1:90). Please note that part of page 9 on the letter dated 1943 March 4 in box 1 folder 90 has been removed and is closed until 2040; see curatorial file. The Correspondence Series is comprised of 2 boxes: Box 1 - 1926 - 1943 April 21. Box 2 - 1943 May 9 - 1989. Extent: 0.6 c.f.

The Manuscripts Series contains manuscripts by Paul Richey and manuscripts by others. It includes autograph manuscripts and typed manuscripts. The documents generally cover the air war during World War II. Original folder labels have been retained. Original order has been retained. The documents in the series date from 1914 to 1976. The series comprises nearly 6 boxes (nearly 2.4 c.f.).

The Subject Files Series contains research files generated by Paul Richey during the course of his research on the air war during World War II. Original folder labels have been retained. Original folder order has been retained. This series includes correspondence, notes, manuscripts, and printed materials. The documents in the series date from 1933 to 1974. The series comprises nearly 10 boxes (nearly 4.0 c.f.).

Some of the documents in this collection are in English, some are in French, and some are in German.


  • 1930 - 1980

Biographical / Historical

Paul Richey (1916-1989) is best known for his service as a wing commander in the British air force during the Battle of France in May 1940. He was born in May 1916. His father was a veteran of the Boer War. Paul attended school in Switzerland and at Downside.

In 1937, Paul signed on with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. He flew with the famous 1 Squadron. He won his first combat victory on March 29, 1940. During the Battle of France, Richey and his fellow aviators encountered fierce action. In one of the battles, he was wounded by machine gun fire and was forced to parachute. Because of his injuries, Richey did not participate in the Battle of Britain. However, he returned to flying later in the war.

In the midst of the war in 1941, Paul Richey authored the book "Fighter Pilot: A Personal Record of the Campaign in France, 1939-1940" which described his experiences fighting in the air war during the early part of World War II. At the time of its first publishing, the British had survived Battle of Britain. His book detailed the less-well-known Battle of France.

In 1943, Richey was transferred to Burma to create strategies to defeat Japan. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. Richey published subsequent editions of his book "Fighter Pilot."

Paul Richey's brother, Michael Richey (1917-2009), served in the British Navy during World War II and later became a world-class solo sailor. Michael Richey crossed the Atlantic by himself in a small craft numerous times.

Paul Richey died on February 23, 1989.

[Source: The Times (London), February 25, 1989.]


8.5 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials


Paul Richey Papers
Scott Taylor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057