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KCL Academic Prizes 2011

Presentation of the Bowyers' Academic History Prizes 2011

The fourth annual presentation of the Bowyers' prizes for military history dissertations took place on Tuesday 13th December 2011 at King's College London. Twenty-four members of the Company, including the Master and Wardens met at King's College to be warmly greeted.

The reception and prize giving was generously hosted by the head of the History Department, Dr Paul Readman and his colleagues Professor David Carpenter and Dr. Ian McBride in the Old Committee Room in the College. This historic room is on level 2 of the King's Building near the magnificent Victorian Chapel. The walls are adorned with the portraits of former Chancellors of the King's College and other teaching staff.

The Master, Mr Howard Mundy, thanked our hosts for their hospitality and preceded to present the prizes as below. Afterwards both winners gave absorbing talks on their dissertations, took questions and gave excellent account of themselves.

The Undergraduate Prize was awarded to Mathilde Couillard. The title of her paper is "The Maquis du Vercors: Haut Lieu de Memoire. The Creation of a Lieu de Memoire." The story of the legendary French Resistance group, centred on the Vercors Plateau, that suffered horrendous losses in 1944 when rising up to help pave the way for the Normandy Landings. Mathilde is currently studying for an MPhil at Oxford and hopes to go on to a DPhil there or a PhD at KCL.

The Graduate Prize was awarded to Thomas Leahy. His topic of his dissertation is "The Influence of Informers and Agents upon Provisional IRA Military Strategy and British Counter-Insurgency Strategy 1969-1998". The story of agents, informers, double agents and generally the murkier side of the conflict in Northern Ireland had been researched primarily through interviews with principal players still alive and prepared to talk. The concluding theory was that these activities played no small part in the bringing the IRA to the negotiating table and securing peace. Thomas is beginning a PhD at KCL on a related topic.

After the talks the assembled company moved into the Riverside Room where the Master and Company hosted our Prize Winners and Members of the History Department to dinner. A menu of Pumpkin Ravioli, Venison and Pear & Almond Tart, accompanied by ample wine, was much enjoyed by all present.

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