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The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History

Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the 2021 Medal has been announced.

See shortlist

About the Medal

The Royal United Services Institute is pleased to announce the shortlist for 2020 Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History. Named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and the Founding Patron of RUSI, the Institute acknowledges, with gratitude, the assistance of the 9th and current Duke of Wellington.

Formerly known as the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature, the award was created in 1997 with the support of the late 8th Duke of Westminster. The new Medal aims to reward on an annual basis the best English language writing on military history, interpreted widely to include the role of the armed forces, the conduct of wars, and the impact of conflict on nations and societies, over any period up to the present day.

A list of the winners of the previous medal, can be found here: https://rusi.org/westminstermedal.

Books published by any living author, regardless of nationality, age, or gender, are welcome to enter the competition.

Sponsors and judges of the medal as well as their families, and current RUSI staff and their families, and previous winners of the Medal for a period of less than two years are not eligible. 

2021 Award

The shortlist for the 2021 Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History has just been released. The shortlist for this year is available here.

2020 Award

The winner and shortlist for the 2020 has now been announced and can be found here.

The board members for the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History have decided to award this year’s medal to Dr Jonathan Fennell for his book ‘Fighting the People’s War’.

Dr Fennell emerged as the winner out of a shortlist of seven books: The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple, Elizabeth’s French Wars 1562-1598 by William Heap, Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day by Dr Peter Caddick-James, The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History by Dr Monica Kim, First to Fight: The Polish War 1939 by Roger Moorhouse and Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order by Professor Timothy Andrews Sayle.

The board members were unanimous in their praise for the book: Sir Hew Strachan called it “possibly the most important book on the history of the British army for at least 25 years.” Lord Sumption, another board member, stated that this comparative analysis of history “explains better than any other book that I have read British military failures and successes.”

2019 Award 

The winner and shortlist for 2019 award has now been announced and can be found here.

The panel of judges have exceptionally this year awarded two medals: John Hussey and Helen Parr received prizes for their books, Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815 and Our Boys respectively. The winners emerged from a strong shortlist of authors writing on military history.

At the award ceremony the winning authors were given the medal by The Duke of Wellington, a member of the Judging Panel and the prime mover behind the establishment of the Medal in honour of the 1st Duke of Wellington, who founded the Institute. Helen Parr and John Hussey addressed the audience on their books, before taking questions from the audience.

For further information please contact Juliana Suess, julianas@rusi.org or on +44(0)20 7747 4963.