Military History

Blogging about the Battlefield since 2005

Ross Mahoney

My name is Ross Mahoney and I am reading for my PhD at the Centre for Second World War Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. I am researching the Leadership Effectiveness of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory under the supervision of Professor Gary Sheffield and Air Commodore (ret’d) Peter Gray.

I have a MPhil in History from the University of Birmingham where I completed a thesis entitled ‘The Royal Air Force, Combined Operations Doctrine and the Raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942′. Before this I completed a BA (Hons) in History and War Studies and a PGCE in Post – Compulsory Education at the University of Wolverhampton. Before starting my PhD I worked full-time as a Lecturer in History and Politics at Truro and Penwith College in Cornwall.

The rational for my PhD is to make a balanced and objective analysis of Leigh-Mallory’s role as an air power leader, thus, attempting to understand his role in the Second World War and the development of the RAF. A key issue in the historiography of Leigh-Mallory’s contribution is the lack of useful papers, memoirs or autobiography. Leigh-Mallory died on 14 November 1944 when his Avro York transport crashed into a mountain ridge east of Grenoble while he was en route to take up a new command in South East Asia. This meant that unlike many of his contemporaries he never had the opportunity to write his memoirs or an autobiography. He also left a paltry collection of papers, which are housed at the RAF Museum, Hendon, and Guy Revell, Assistant Curator of the Department of Research and Information Service, has described them as ‘disappointingly devoid of any paperwork relating to his RAF service.’ There is a biography of Leigh-Mallory by his great-nephew; however, this work is riddled with inconsistencies and factual errors, therefore, of little value to the historian. Thus, there is a gap in the historiography of the Second World War, which requires to be filled by an effective academic work.

My research interests include Air Power History, Theory and Doctrine, British Military History of the 20th Century, Joint Warfare, the Development of Military Technology, Leadership and Military Operational Research. In my spare time I am a keen military modeller and spend much of my spare time going round the country to shows.


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