While I enjoy writing about the First and Second World Wars, I also enjoying writing about other eras and conflicts. Choosing subjects beyond one’s normal hunting grounds is good practise, particularly for historians as it presents a chance to use, adapt or stress-test favourite methodologies when engaging new fields of research. From the popular perspective, it can be exciting to simply explore new historical vistas or personalities; I certainly found this when writing about the American Revolutionary hero Daniel Morgan.
The Gurkhas in Borneo feature was a chance to delve into one of the many ‘small wars’ that flared up during Britain’s retreat from Empire 1945-1982, a period of military history often overshadowed by the Superpower proxy wars between the USA and USSR, or overlooked in favour of investigating the gigantic social changes Britain underwent in those years. During my research, I visited the excellent Gurkha Museum and learnt more of their amazing history. That included the notable role Gurkha troops played under the command of General Roberts’ during the Second Afghan War, a conflict that offers many interesting and important comparative lessons for today.
Leaping back several hundred years, writing about Richard I and Philip Augustus was a great pleasure because I studied the Crusades many, many moons ago. I always found the Third Crusade a fascinating period and investigating the wars between Richard and Philip in France soon afterwards felt like exploring a new and exciting chapter added to an old favourite. I hope to upload new work in this section over the coming year, including two features that detail the French takeover of Morocco during the first decade of the 20th Century, another conflict with many comparative lessons.
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This section of my website is dedicated to a dying breed: the history teacher. In my youth I was lucky enough to have some fantastic men and women instruct me on the past. They were always passionate about their subject and showed me how exciting the past could be.
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