Martello Tower interior, c.1812 by Captain William Ford, Royal Engineers (National Army Museum)
Established in 1921 to encourage the study of the history and traditions of the British Army, the Society for Army Historical Research is one of the nation's oldest military history societies. Since its early days, the Society has expanded its interests which now include non-regular and auxiliary British military formations such as Militia, Yeomanry, and the Territorial Army, as well as the crown offices and civil institutions that maintained them. The Society also aims to encourage the scholarly study of the land forces of the Commonwealth and the Empire including forces maintained by non-Crown bodies, such as the Honourable East India Company, or forces allied to and forming an integral part of the land forces operating on behalf of the Crown.
The Society's interests embrace the political, social and cultural aspects of army and regimental history, as well as the study of individual campaigns and commanders. The Society is also interested in the study of military artefacts and pictures, uniforms, badges and medals, arms and equipment. Chronologically, the Society's interests range from the late Middle Ages to the 1970s, the latter cut-off date being chosen because of the restricted availability of primary material of more recent date within the British National Archive system.
The main activity of the Society is the publication of a quarterly peer-reviewed journal, reflecting its members' interests which are also catered for by a programme of special events and lectures. To recognize outstanding original research the Society awards the Templer Medal to the author of the best book published in the preceeding year on the history of the British Army.
To encourage the study of British military history among the younger generation, the society recently instituted an annual essay prize for students at universities and schools. Some modest research grants for graduate students are also available.
Field Marshal HRH The Duke of Kent KG, GCMG, GCVO, ADC(P)
Lieutenant-General Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB, CBE
- 1921–1932 Harold Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon
- 1932–1947 Colonel Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe
- 1947–1950 Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell
- 1950–1961 George Cambridge, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge
- 1961–1965 Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck
- 1965–1979 Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer
- 1980–1993 General Sir David Fraser
- 1993–2012 Field Marshal Sir John Chapple