Posts Tagged 'King’s College London'

British Commission for Military History New Research in Military History Conference – Call for Papers

Call for Papers

New Research in Military History: A Conference for Postgraduate and Early-career Historians

18 November 2011

This conference, organised by the British Commission for Military History in association with the History of Warfare Research Group at King’s College London, intends to highlight the breadth and depth of research being undertaken by postgraduate and early career historians in the field of military history.

The British Commission for Military History’s New Research in Military History conference is a recently established forum for those are engaged in research in military history or related disciplines to meet other new and established scholars and to present a paper in a supportive environment. We aim to provide an opportunity for postgraduate and early-career historians to present their work to a wider audience of practising military historians. Papers on any aspect of military history, broadly defined, are welcomed. Proposals (c.300 words) for papers of 20 minutes should be submitted, using the form below, to the organisers at by 14 October 2011.

The conference will include a keynote lecture by Professor Brian Holden Reid. It will take place at the Strand Campus of King’s College London.

The British Commission for Military History is the pre-eminent association for professional military historians in the UK, dedicated to the promotion and discussion of military history in its broadest sense. This conference is designed to introduce younger scholars to the Commission, whose members will also be in attendance. Participants will be welcome to attend the Commission’s autumn conference to be held at the National Army Museum, Chelsea on Saturday 19th November, on the theme ‘The British National Service Army’.

Conference Organisers

Paul Harris

Ross Mahoney

BCMH new researcher call for papers


Air Power Studies Debate Series

A new series of Air Power Studies Debates are being organised by the Air Power Studies Division of King’s College London.

The inaugural debate will be on the motion:

‘Autonomous weapons and morality in war are incompatible’

Professor Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield

(For the motion)

Professor Tony Gillespie, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

(Against the motion)

The debate will be held in the Edmund J Safra Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, Strand Campus, London on Thursday 14 April 2011

1845 Complementary refreshments in “Chapters”

1930 Lecture Theatre (doors open 1915)


Please confirm your intent to attend by contacting:

Ms Debra Aitkenhead

Telephone: +44 (0) 1400 266334

DFTS: 95751 6334

Fax: +44 (0) 1400 266265


The Forgotten Career of Major Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 1914-1918: A Leadership Perspective

[Cross-posted at Thoughts on Military History]

This past Friday I delivered a paper at a conference on ‘New Research in Military History’. The conference was organised by the British Commission for Military History, the History of Warfare Group at King’s College London and the University of Sussex. It was a great events and interesting to see lots of interesting papers covering a wide range of topics. I think it is fair to say that Military History in the UK is healthy at the moment.

My paper was based on some of my early research for my PhD into Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory’s leadership effectiveness. It actually examined his career from the First World War which is important in understanding the context of his development as a leader. Here is the abstract that I submitted for the conference.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory remains one of the greatest enigmas of the historiography of the Second World War: how did a leader with so many detractors reach the highest ranks and gain the most prestigious posts? This conundrum is further complicated when one examines his conduct in the First World War where he commanded a squadron and was involved in important developments in air-land co-operation especially with the Tank Corps in 1918. Indeed his success in the First World War has been largely forgotten and ignored as views of his competence have been distorted by his later career.

This paper seeks redress this by examining Leigh-Mallory’s development and experience as an officer in the First World War and as such provide some insights into his career development during the inter-war years and his subsequent elevation to high command. It will do this by utilising contemporary leadership theory in order to examine aspects such as his shared experience with other high commanders of the Royal Air Force and the role that he played in developing tactics to support tank operations while in command of No. 8 Squadron in 1918. In understanding Leigh-Mallory’s career we can start to answer some of the more pressing question surrounding his subsequent rise to high command such as why did an Army Co-Operation specialist end up in key positions and how effective was he as a commander at the tactical level of operations. Thus, this paper has several key aims; first, it will examine Leigh-Mallory’s leadership effectiveness and his impact on air power operations in 1918. Second, it will compare his experience with his fellow air power leaders of the Second World War. Finally, it shall show that expertise in air-land warfare was not a barrier to promotion in the inter-war Royal Air Force.

One of the more interesting aspects of the presentation for me was trying to explain and explore the pace of operations for No. 8 Squadron and that this provides and interesting context to Leigh-Mallory’s ability to manage his command. The graph that I used is presented below.

Roughly in the period from February 1918 to 11 November 1918 the squadron flew approximately 5000 sorties. As you can see they flew a variety of mission and it appear obvious but the peaks appears at period of intense action such of the German offensives in March/April 1918 and the Hundred Days campaign later in the year. Also of interest is the fact that a significant portion of flights were test flights. It is often forgotten that in the First World War air power is still highly experimental and that the aircraft required a high degree of maintenance and management in order to ensure that they were ready for operations. This would have required Leigh-Mallory to effectively manage his squadron in order to keep enough airframes available for high-tempo operation as occurred during the Hundred Days Campaign. This requires more thought…

By Ross Mahoney


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