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Speaker: Helen Parr, Professor in Modern and Contemporary History at Keele University

How has Britain commemorated its military campaigns after the era of total war?

For the 2023 Saki and Michael Dockrill Memorial Lecture, Professor Helen Parr, a distinguished scholar in Modern and Contemporary History, investigates a fundamental, but neglected, war experience — the memory of death. Professor Parr will explore how experiences of and attitudes towards military death changed with British military engagements and world role, and as society altered from the stoicism and reticence of the world wars, towards a more individualised, emotionally expressive culture.

Based on ongoing archival research and on oral history, and focusing on the Korean war, the Malayan Emergency and the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lecture suggests that the world wars have shaped British expectations of commemoration, but that how Britons think of death in military service has been transformed.

About the speaker


Helen Parr

Helen Parr is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Keele University. She has published on Britain’s policy towards the European Community, the Labour party and Europe, and British nuclear weapons policies. Her book about the Falklands war, Our Boys: The Story of a Paratrooper (Allen Lane, 2018) won the Templer Medal Book Prize, the Wellington Medal for Military History and the Longman-History Today Book Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing. She is currently in receipt of a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for a project, ‘Out of the Shadows: A social history of death in British military campaigns after 1945’.

The Saki and Michael Dockrill Memorial Lecture is held annually in memory of Professor's Saki and Michael Dockrill, both esteemed Alumni of the Department of War Studies.

Event details

Eighth Floor North
Bush House
Strand campus, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG