© Peter Hodgkinson 2016

Dr Peter E Hodgkinson Chartered Clinical Psychologist - Military Historian

Fear and Courage in Trench Warfare

Fear is natural in war, but the demand for courage is remorseless. What was the experience of the British soldier of fear, and were the social restrictions on its expression helpful or harmful? Similarly, did the traditional model of heroism and courage prove something that was helpful to live up to? Were those born in the late Victorian era handicapped by expectations of behaviour, or did they possess an advantage in contrast to modern methods of dealing with stress?

The BEF Infantry COs of August 1914

The British Army officer of the Edwardian era has been the subject of much criticism. But who were the men who took the battalions of the BEF to France and Flanders in 1914? What was their experience? How able were they? Are the criticisms fair?


Developing Battalion Leadership in the BEF 1916-1918


The British Army did not teach leadership in the pre-war era. During the war, Senior Officer School began to teach such concepts at the level of battalion command. What did rankers and officers think about the way they were led? What did COs believe was important in the process of command? Did what came to be taught match what was needed?

Evolving Meritocracy in the BEF


The British Army went to war with a cadre of officers who had been promoted largely on the basis of seniority. With the rapid promotion of junior officers and the influx of civilians, did a meritocracy establish itself? Who were the men who commanded the infantry battalions of the BEF in 1918? What were their qualities?

The BEF in Mobile Warfare - The Pursuit to the Selle 9-11 October 1918

The so-called Pursuit to the Selle represents one of the mobile pieces of fighting in the Hundred Days. How did the BEF's all-arms approach to warfare cope with these three days of moving warfare? Was it a pursuit in the face of a crumbling enemy or was the German Army still capable of effective resistance? The study of Fourth Army sheds light on these questions.

Fourth Army in The Battle of the Selle - 17-31 October 1918

The Battle of the Selle is one of the forgotten battles of the Hundred Days campaign. In 1998, Paul Harris wrote in Amiens to the Armistice: ‘Almost no-one has now heard of the Battle of the Selle … Objectively, however, it must be regarded as one of the greatest military victories in the nation’s history'. The study of Fourth Army reveals how the balance of the contributions of all-arms would vary from battle to battle. The weather at the Selle denied the BEF intelligence from the air. Fourth Army did not know the enemy had been reinforced, and without great help from tanks and an artillery that was less effective than on other occasions, the infantry fought a challenging battle in difficult countryside, reliant on the experience of commanders on the ground.


Peter offers a range of talks to interested groups …


Coping with Death in the Trenches

How did the soldiers of the Great War cope with the omnipresence of death? Were they inevitably traumatised? Did they become inured to death? The talk explores this issue in relation to whether the prevalent attitudes of the period to emotional expression helped or hindered any process of adaptation.

Clearing the Dead 1919-1939

There is currently considerable interest in battlefield archaeology. Between the wars, however, a process similar to modern archaeology was carried out to attempt to unearth the missing and bury them properly in IWGC cemeteries. How was this done? Who did it? What were there experiences?


GRU exhumation IWM Q

‘Clearing

the Dead’

IWM Q100915

Great War