A. R. Rawlinson

Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Richard "Dick" Rawlinson, OBE (9 August 1894 – 20 April 1984) was a British Army officer who served on the Western Front, and then in military intelligence in both World Wars. He served as head of MI.9a, and of MI.19. In peacetime, he developed a very successful career as a screenwriter and also produced several films.[1]

A. R. Rawlinson
Birth nameArthur Richard Rawlinson
Born(1894-08-09)9 August 1894
Died20 April 1984(1984-04-20) (aged 89)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Service numberNA – 1919
89652 – 1939-46
UnitGeneral List (WW1)
York and Lancaster Regiment (WWI)
Machine Gun Corps (WW1)
Queen's Royal Regiment (WWII)
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsMember of the Order of the British Empire (WW1)
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1945)
Officer of the Legion of Merit (1947)

Early life

Rawlinson was born in London, England, on 9 August 1894, the son of Thomas Arthur Rawlinson.[2][3][4] He was educated at Windlesham House School, Rugby School and Pembroke College, Cambridge.[4][5]

War service

Already a cadet in the Officer Training Corps, Rawlinson was commissioned on 1 September 1914 as a temporary second lieutenant in the war-raised 6th (Service) Battalion of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment).[6][7] He was promoted to temporary lieutenant on 29 December 1914. After a year's service he obtained a regular commission with the York and Lancaster Regiment, serving again as a second lieutenant.[8][9] On 26 June 1916, he was seconded to the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps and promoted back to lieutenant on 21 December 1916.[10][11] After he was wounded in action he began a career in Military Intelligence, 'employed at the War Office' in MI.1(a) as an acting major. He was awarded an MBE for his war service and resigned his commission on 27 February 1919.[12]

On 14 April 1939, he transferred from the Reserve of Officers of the York and Lancaster Regiment to the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and returned to active service.[13] During World War II he served with the rank or major as the head of MI.9(a), a department of MI.9 responsible for vetting enemy prisoners of war. The department was later reconstituted as MI.19 in its own right. He retired from the service with the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel on 5 January 1946.[14]

Honours and decorations

In the 1945 New Year Honours, the then Major (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Rawlinson was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), an advance on the recognition he had received after the previous war.[15][16] On 23 May 1947, he was appointed Officer of the Legion of Merit "in recognition of distinguished services in the cause of the Allies".[17]

Personal life

Rawlinson married Alisa Margaret Harrington Grayson on 20 December 1916. She was the daughter of Sir Henry Grayson, Bt., the Conservative Member of Parliament for Birkenhead from 1918 to 1922.[18] They had two sons:[19] Michael Grayson Rawlinson (born 27 March 1918, died 1941 KIA),[20] and Peter Anthony Grayson Rawlinson (born 26 June 1919, died 28 June 2006), who became the life-peer Lord Rawlinson of Ewell.[21]

Rawlinson had a strong bond with the Grayson family. He was at Pembroke with Dennys Grayson, who served with the Irish Guards in Great War along with his brother, Rupert Grayson, and John Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling. The shell that wounded Rupert Grayson in 1915 was the one that killed John Kipling. Dennys Grayson gave his son the distinctive name of Rudyard - as opposed to the unremarkable John - when the child was born the following year. Rawlinson married the sister of the Grayson brothers, Alisa, and the friends became family. Rudyard Kipling was keen to maintain contact with the young people who knew his beloved son, especially Rupert. It was through Rupert that Rawlinson was introduced to Kipling and was commissioned to write the screenplays to some of his works.

Rawlinson died 20 April 1984 in West Sussex, England.[2]

Partial filmography


  1. A. R. Rawlinson on IMDb
  2. "A.R. Rawlinson". British Film Institute.
  3. Lundy, Darryl (31 July 2012). "Thomas Arthur Rawlinson". The Peerage. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  4. Wilson, G. Herbert (1937). Windlesham House School: History and Muster Roll 1837–1937. London: McCorquodale & Co. Ltd.
  5. Mcgilligan, Patrick (2004). Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. HarperCollins. p. 160.
  6. "No. 28885". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1914. p. 6890.
  7. "Service Battalions" (PDF). The London Gazette (29066): 1451. 12 February 1915.
  8. "(831) - Army lists > Quarterly Army Lists (First Series) 1879-1922 > 1916 > Second quarter > Volume 2 - British Military lists - National Library of Scotland". digital.nls.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  9. "No. 29066". The London Gazette. 12 February 1915. p. 1451.
  10. "No. 29755". The London Gazette. 19 May 1916. p. 9120.
  11. "No. 29908". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 January 1917. p. 734.
  12. "No. 31202". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 February 1919. p. 2809.
  13. "No. 34616". The London Gazette. 14 April 1939. p. 2479.
  14. "No. 37444". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 January 1946. p. 662.
  15. "No. 36866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1944. pp. 11–12.
  16. "No. 36866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1944. p. 12.
  17. "No. 37961". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 May 1947. p. 2287.
  18. Lundy, Darryl (31 July 2012). "Alisa Margaret Harrington Grayson". The Peerage. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  19. Lundy, Darryl (31 July 2012). "Lt.-Col. Arthur Richard Rawlinson". The Peerage. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  20. Lundy, Darryl (31 July 2012). "Michael Grayson Rawlinson". The Peerage. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  21. Lundy, Darryl (31 July 2012). "Peter Anthony Grayson Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson of Ewell". The Peerage. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  • The War List of the University of Cambridge, p. 268
  • The Letters of Rudyard Kipling, 1931-1936, p. 307
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