I am a cultural historian of modern warfare.
My particular interest lies in how war transforms individuals’ lives. I think this was instilled in me at a young age, having seen the effect the Second World War had on my grandfather. He was captured during the British Army’s retreat at Dunkirk in June 1940 and spent five years in captivity. From an early age, I struggled to reconcile how it was that my kind, gentle, patient grandfather had been forced to endure such hardship and witnessed so much barbarity.
I’ve focused upon two particular aspects of World War One and World War Two in my research – the visits of British soldiers to brothels in the First World War, and prisoners of war in the Second World War. In these topics, I draw upon the wider themes of men at war, emotions in war and memories of war, themes which I consider fundamental to fully understanding individuals’ experiences of warfare.
I have written for a variety of publications from academic books and journals, to Britain’s best-selling history magazine, to the UK’s second biggest-selling newspaper, and the world’s most popular and largest news websites. I regularly brief television and scriptwriters, and have been interviewed on different aspects of the cultural history of warfare. My work has also inspired an Arts Council funded theatre production ‘The House Behind the Lines’, which is currently on tour in Yorkshire.
My first monograph, on British prisoners of war held in Europe in the Second World War, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. I have taught modern British history, gender history and history core courses, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, at Birkbeck, University of London, and UCL. I am currently concentrating on writing history for the more general public.
Please do read more on my website, and don’t hesitate to get in touch.