War Talks at PCL – 2018

Today I want to talk about the second season of my ‘War Talks at the PCL’ talk series commencing in January 2018.  Our first season, which ran from July to December 2017, featured talks by Dr Matt Ford, Lt Gen (Ret’d) Sir John Kiszely KCB, Prof Gary Sheffield, Dr Dan Todman, Dr Jacqueline Hazelton, Dr John Greenacre, Maj (Ret’d) Mike Peters, and Drs Stuart Mitchell and Mike Peters.  I am enormously indebted to these busy people for supporting the Series, they have done so without any reward, kindly giving their time and expertise freely; quite simply, the Series would not have run without their philanthropy.  The Series operates without a budget, depending purely upon goodwill to deliver what I believe to be an outstanding, prolific, and valuable resource of informal professional military education.

Our second season commences on Tuesday 30th January 2018, with a Talk by Dr Michelle Jones of the Veterans and Families Centre of Anglia Ruskin University.  Michelle’s subject will be ‘Encountering Children in Theatres of Armed Conflict: A New Challenge to the Operational Environment’.  Children often represent the largest constituency in developing countries, given that conflict is most likely to be encountered in these countries, Michelle’s work is invaluable for Defence particularly in light of the emergence of ‘Integrated Action’ as a key component of British military doctrine.  Isn’t it time we considered children when thinking about our audience?  The second talk will take place on Thursday 15th February 2018, and will be given by Maj Paul Knight PhD.  Paul is one of the new generation of ‘soldier-scholars’ who combines command of a Reserve Signals Squadron with independent study and writing.  Paul will talk about ‘The British Campaign in Mesopotamia from 1914-18’, teasing out some lessons for the modern British Army from the experience of the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’.

The third talk in the Series will take place on Tuesday 27th February 2018, with a Talk by Mr Robert Lyman.  Robert is a former Army officer, author and public speaker whose 2003 book, ‘Slim, Master of War: Burma and the Birth of Modern War’ forms the basis of this Talk.  Along with Montgomery, Slim was one of the towering British field commanders of the Second World War and one whose leadership and command style has informed generations of Army officers ever since.  Robert’s talk is followed on Wednesday 14th March 1918 with a Talk by Maj Gen (Ret’d) Craig Lawrence CBE.  Craig was commissioned into the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles in September 1983, serving for over thirty years, and completing his service as Director of Joint Warfare in Joint Forces Command.  Craig is an author and has written a commemorative history of the Gurkhas, however, he is also a lecturer on strategy at the Royal College of Defence Studies and it is in this capacity that he will be delivering his talk entitled, ‘Getting Strategy Right (Enough)’.

Our fifth Talk will be given by Dr Chris Kempshall of the University of Sussex.  It coincides with the Headquarters Regional Command First World War Study Day on Tuesday 20th March 2018.  Talking on the eve of the centenary of the German 1918 Spring Offensive, Chris will examine ‘The Anglo-French ‘Entente’ in 1918: Lessons for 21st Century Interoperability’.  Like Michelle’s talk, Chris’s talk is prescient in the light of current doctrine, which emphasises joint and multinational operations. Chris’s Talk is followed on Tuesday 10th April 2018 by a talk by Dr Aimee Fox.  Aimee is a Lecturer at King’s College London working at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Shrivenham, her work in learning and innovation is ground-breaking, and she is tipped as a future academic superstar.  Aimee will speak on the title of her recent book, ‘Learning to Fight: Military Innovation and Change in the British Army 1914-18′.

Our final two Talks are by a pair of real academic heavyweights.  The first, on Tuesday 24th April 2018, will be given by Prof Lloyd Clark of the British Army’s Centre for Army Leadership.  Lloyd’s subject will be, ‘Leading Edge: Patton, Montgomery, and Rommel as Leaders During the Inter-War Years’.  This Talk promises to be utterly fascinating, examining the experiences of three of the Second World War’s iconic commanders and looking at how  their leadership styles developed in peacetime.  Our final speaker on Tuesday 8th May 2018, the 73rd anniversary of VE Day, will be Dr Jonathan Boff of the University of Birmingham.  Jonathan wrote perhaps one of the finest books on the Hundred Days Campaign of 1918 and is a formidable educator and researcher.  I am personally indebted to him for accepting me onto the excellent MA in Military History programme at Birmingham and for opening up a world of opportunity to me.  Jonathan’s talk is entitled, ‘Haig’s Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany’s War on the Western Front’ and will accompany his second book which is due for publication in March 2018.

All in all, the programme promises to be truly inspirational.  It currently ends in May 2018 subject to renovations to the Library.  Once the renovation date is clarified I will add further dates, but in the mean time if you have any subjects which you’d like to listen to, or speakers you’d like to hear please drop me a line.  I’m always happy to hear from potential speakers, particularly female and BAME speakers and Id particularly like to include some naval or air power speakers in future; the future is Joint.

All the best to you all,



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