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First Winner of the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History Announced

News, 27 March 2018
History
RUSI is delighted to announce Lieutenant General (Ret’d) Sir John Kiszely KCB MC DL as the first recipient of the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History.

The Duke of Wellington Medal is awarded by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) – the world’s oldest defence and security think tank – and the judges conferred General Kiszely the prize for his book, Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940. The winner emerged from a strong shortlist of authors writing on military history. 

RUSI's Duke of Wellington 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.

Anatomy of a Campaign (Cambridge University Press) looks at the British campaign in Norway in 1940, which was widely considered an ignominious and abject failure. General Kiszely draws on his own experience of working at all levels in the military to assess the campaign as a whole, its context and evolution from strategic failures, the intelligence blunders and German air superiority to the performance of the troops and the serious errors of judgement by those responsible for the higher direction of the war. His book contributes to the understanding of not only the outcome of the Norwegian campaign but also why more recent military campaigns have found success so elusive.

The award ceremony will be held in mid-May and further details will be released shortly.

Professor Michael Clarke, chair of the Judging Panel, Senior Associate Fellow and the former Director General of RUSI, said:

 'I am extremely glad to see that in the first year of the new sponsorship of this literary medal by His Grace The Duke of Wellington, the standard of entries was extremely high and the shortlist that finally emerged from them was simply outstanding. It reconfirms our faith in the quality of military historical writing in English language sources.

All the more impressive, then, that General Sir John Kiszely's book on the Norway campaign of 1940 should emerge as a worthy winner in a very tight contest. General Kiszely's re-examination of this disastrous military campaign throws dramatic new light on a subject that has been frequently covered by other writers. He writes with the experience of a successful senior soldier and the instincts of a modern, forensic historian. It proves to be a potent combination. This is a book of history, not of  'lessons'. But in truth, it is full of them, and even the casual reader is likely to be made to think in different ways because of it.'

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, said:

'I am delighted that General Kiszely has been awarded the first Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History for his book Anatomy of a Campaign. Like many of my colleagues on the Panel, I was struck by the compelling and elegant way in which General Kiszely deconstructed a disastrous military campaign and drew out important lessons for modern-day policy makers. This is in the best traditions of military history, and it is only fitting that the Medal carrying the name of my ancestor should be awarded to General Sir John Kiszely.'

General Kiszely, author of Anatomy of a Campaign and winner of the first Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History, said:

'I am deeply honoured and absolutely delighted to be awarded the Duke of Wellington's Medal for Military History by the Royal United Services Institute and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who so kindly provided me with help, support and encouragement along the way.'

Notes to Editors

  1. RUSI's Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History recognises 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. For further information, go to: https://RUSI.org/Wellington-Medal
  2. The Board of Judges composed of the following: Professor Michael Clarke, former Director-General of RUSI (Chair); Professor Beatrice Heuser, Glasgow University; Professor Sir Hew Strachan FRHistS, St Andrews University; Lord Sumption FRHistS; The Duke of Wellington.
  3. Anatomy of a Campaign by Lieutenant General (Ret’d) Sir John Kiszely is published by Cambridge University Press.
  4. To see the shortlist for the Duke of Wellington Medal, click here.
  5. Further details about the Medal, contact: Nathan Mathiot at nathanm@rusi.org or +44 (20) 7747 4963
  6. All other media enquiries: Saqeb Mueen, smueen@rusi.org 

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