"I'm, first and foremost, a historian of the British Army, so for my work to be recognised by the society is in equal measure thrilling, affirming and humbling, particularly given the wealth of excellent publications on British military history over the last year. I'm grateful to the many colleagues and friends who have lent their support and ideas to help me write the book"Dr Huw Davies
04 May 2023
Templer Medal Book Prize awarded to Defence Studies academic
The 2022 Templer Medal Book Prize was awarded to Dr Huw Davies from the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London for his latest book ‘The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War’.
Presented by The Society for Army Historical Research (SAHR), the annual award is given to the book ranked as the most significant contribution to the history of the British Army.
'The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War' explores the history of the British Army in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and details how the military gathered knowledge from campaigns across the globe to learn and innovate. To date, the book has been acclaimed for its in-depth account of British warfare by media outlets such as The Times, Wall Street and Foreign Affairs.
"When I was putting the finishing touches to my first book, which was a military biography of the Duke of Wellington, a colleague suggested I might like to look at the longer-term influences on British military development in the late eighteenth century. […] Over the next ten years, I kept on finding new bits of evidence that helped add up to the whole argument that the British Army was an organisation populated by groups of highly professional officers, contrary to the prevailing view that the army was an amateur outfit incapable or structured or sustained learning"Dr Huw Davies
When asked about the value of studying military history, Dr Davies emphasised that it offers crucial knowledge and skills for navigating the modern world.
"Rather than studying campaigns and battles, I think of it as the study of the human experience of war. That's why I'm so interested in the individuals in the army, as well as the organisation itself. There's also the argument that, setting aside the considerable technological differences, the parallels between eighteenth and twenty-first-century wars are worryingly evident: small-scale wars of territorial aggrandisement and punitive operations, which result in brutal and devastating struggles, often between neighbours and with significant element of civil conflict. This offers an opportunity to understand how the challenges and difficulties of the past were overcome and help inform modern understanding of those responses," said Dr Huw Davies.
The Templer Medal Book Prize was established by SAHR in 1981 to commemorate the life and achievements of Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer. Previous winners include Defence Studies academics Dr David Morgan-Owen (2017), Dr Aimée Fox (2018), and Dr Jonathan Fennell (2019).
Read 'The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War' here.