Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 25th April 2017
25 April saw the Society hold its AGM, in the splendid setting of the Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall. Prior to the meeting, members and their guests were treated to a guided tour of the adjacent Household Cavalry Museum.
The AGM was followed by a fascinating lecture by Dr Michael Lo Cicero, based around his research into the last days of the fighting around Passchendaele in 1917, which brought out the difficulties of planning attacks on the Great War battlefront as well as the more timeless issues concerned with the conduct of night attacks. Dr Lo Cicero’s research has been published under the title ‘A Moonlight Massacre’, and he was kind enough to sign copies for members after the lecture.
The evening concluded with the prize-giving reception for the SAHR Student Essay Prize and for the Templer Medal book prize and its associated Best First Book award.
2016 was another bumper year for the Templer Medal competition. Forty nine entries were received from publishers on three continents.
The entries ranged from works by unknown authors published by small houses; through works by new authors (often the book of the doctorate) and by established authors published by academic presses; to works published by global houses. The subjects covered ranged from the sixteenth to the twenty first centuries.
The overall quality of the entries was extremely high. Many of the books submitted were written by military historians of distinction such as Jeremy Black, Alan Mallinson, Antony Beavor, Robert Johnson, Tony Heathcote, Robert Kershaw, Hugh Sebag Montefiore, John Buckley (holder of the Medal) and Nick Lipscombe.
For the Best First Book competition, the results were as follows:
1. Till the Trumpet Sounds Again: The Scots Guards 1914-19 in Their Own Words, by Randall Nicol (Helion & Co.)
2. The Irish amateur military tradition in the British Army, 1854-1992, by William Butler (Manchester University Press)
3. The Struggle for North America, 1754-1758: Britannia’s Tarnished Laurels, by George Yagi (Bloomsbury Studies in Military History)
For the medal itself, the results were:
1. Early Modern Systems of Command: Queen Anne's Generals, Staff Officers and the Direction of Allied Warfare in the Low Countries and Germany, 1702-1711, by Stewart Stansfield (Helion & Co.)
2. The First Victory: The Second World War and the East Africa Campaign, by Andrew Stewart (Yale University Press)
3. Race and Imperial Defence in the British World, 1870–1914, by John C. Mitcham (Cambridge University Press)
In addition to the Templer Medal, there was also the awarding of prizes for the SAHR Student Essay Prize, which recognises the best submitted essay on the British Army in two categories: VI Form and Undergraduate. This year’s competition saw a substantial increase in submissions and a number of essays of an extremely high quality.
The winners in the VI Form category were as follows:
1. Freddie Hyde, of Sale Grammar School, for an essay entitled “Who was responsible for the Charge of the Light Brigade?”
2. Joshua Cole, of Woodbridge School, for an essay entitled “Was Sir Redvers Buller right to be judged as a poor officer?”
In the Undergraduate category, the winners were as follows:
1. Samuel Wallace, of the University of York, for an essay entitled “Stirrups to Steering Wheels: The Issues of Cavalry Mechanisation in the Interwar Period”
2. Miranda Harrison, of Oxford University, for an essay entitled “Adult Education and Social Transformation in the British Army during the Second World War: The Impact of Army Education Schemes.”
The encouragement of a new generation of military historians is a key aim of the Society, as evidenced also by our University Grants scheme, and we wish the best of luck in their future endeavours to this year’s winners and to all who entered the competition.
The winning and second-place essays in each category will be published online shortly, so please watch this space for details.
The event was one of the best-attended AGMs in some years, and thanks are due to all those who helped organise it as well as to the staff at RUSI for their assistance on the day.