Dr Harry Bennett
Associate Professor (Reader) in History
School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)
- World War Two
- American history
- Royal Navy
- Nazi Germany
- Maritime history
Email email@example.com to enquire.
Reader in history – Teacher of Students – All Round Friendly Guy – Keeper of Buster "The History Dog". I've taught history at the University of Plymouth since 1992. It is a great subject, and I'm teaching it at a great university.
BA First Class Hons History Loughborough 1989
PhD Leicester 1993
30 years of teaching experience and a lifetime of research in history.
Roles on external bodies
Naval and Maritime History is one of my passions (along with "old stuff", stories and places generally) I am one of the trustees of the museum and collections Britannia Royal Naval College.
No more heroes anymore? Behind every pioneer there is a human story to share
Dr Harry Bennett explores how the passing down of memories connects us to the past and the people who shape it
The changing nature of pandemic propaganda
Dr Harry Bennett discusses how the portrayal of COVID-19 compares with arguably the most devastating pandemic of the 20th century
Research highlights near-miss which could have changed outcome of D-Day
Dr Harry Bennett investigates
I teach a variety of modules on modern history. Click on the link to see details of "the Second World War - Dunkirk to D-Day"
Click on this link for details of America, the United Nations and International Relations 1945 to the present
My work examines the land sea and air campaigns of the Second World War and interactions between the military, politicians and diplomats in the formulation of policy, and the development and execution of strategy. This includes the military as specialised societies and their interaction with civilian society. Library and reading culture as it relates to maritime societies, marine organisations (Royal Navy and Merchant Seamen), information development/exchange and control, and how libraries relate to imperial and maritime cultures is another focus of my work.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
I am currently supervising 6 research students. I have supervised ten Ph.D., and two Res.M. students to completion. I have acted as examiner to several others.
Grants & contracts
Research Grants, Contracts
The research for my first book was supported by a British Academy grant worth £6,000.
2002 - Travel grant by the British Association for American Studies
2002 - I was awarded a Lubin-Winant Research Fellowship ($1,300) at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York.
2003 - British Academy Small Grant (£1,388) to undertake research in the USA
2003 - Grant (£1,498) from the American Government to set up a research collection on D-Day at the University of Plymouth
2007 - General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgeway research grant to study at the US Army Historical and Education Center
2009 - Roosevelt Study Center (Middleberg, NL) Fellowship
2009 - British Academy Small Grant for work on Free French pilots
2016 - Awarded Bursary from RAF Museum (Midlands) for Airfields Research
Creative practice & artistic projects
Writer 'Three Towns' 24 minute 360 degree video production on the history of Plymouth from 1920 to 1980, produced for ICCI University of Plymouth by Martin Woolner, Directed by David Hilton screened at ICCI 360 Festival Plymouth 13th to 18th Sept 2011 http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=32636
Actor 'Narrating Enterprise' 2011
Various podcasts including for BBC History Magazine and BBC Devon
-'Schnellboote, Strategy and the Defence of Festung Europa 1943-44', Global War Studies, No.1, 2014. pp.1-28.
-'"The Scars of War” - Displacement, Dislocation and the aircrew of the Forces aériennes françaises libres 1940-44: Towards a Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis', War and Society, No.3, 2014.
-The Limits of West German Justice in the 1960s: The Post-War Investigation of Walter Gieseke (Oberstleutnant of the Gendarmerie and SS)', Law, Crime and History, (2013), vol.3, Issue 2, 116-139
-'Exploring the World of the Second and Third Tier Men in the Holocaust: The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln: Engineer and Executioner', Liverpool Law Review, volume 32, number 1, pp.1-18.
-'The 1942 Laconia Order, The Murder of Shipwrecked Survivors and the Allied Pursuit of Justice 1945-46', Law Crime and History, Vol.1., No.1, 2011. pp.16-34.
-'The RAF's Free French Fighter Squadrons: The Rebirth of French Airpower, 19409-44, Global War Studies: The Journal for the Study of Warfare and Weapons, 1919-1945, Vol.7, No.2, 2010. pp.62-101.
-‘“Goodbye Mr President”: Presidential Libraries in the United States’, European Journal of American Culture, Volume 22, Number 1, 2003. pp.23-36.
- (with R. Bennett) ‘Innovation in the Safety of Life at Sea During the 2nd World War: the Hiker Lifeboat’, South West Soundings, No.49, October 2000. pp.38-39.
- ‘Lloyd George, Curzon and the Control of British Foreign Policy 1919-1922’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol.45, No.4, December 1999. pp.467-482.
- ‘The Significance of the 1927 Bosworth By-Election’, Leicestershire Historian, vol 4, No.5. 1997. pp.13-18.
- ‘The Northampton Labour Party and the Abyssinian Crisis of 1935: The Resignation of Cecil L’Estrange Malone’, Northamptonshire Past and Present, vol. ix, No.3, 1996-97, pp.287-291.
- ‘Lord Curzon of Kedleston: “Easily misunderstood” and “Easily misrepresented”, The Historian, No. 49, 1996. pp.17-19.
- ‘”Part of the Puzzle”: Northampton and other Midlands By-Election Defeats for the Conservatives, 1927-29’, Midland History, volXX, 1995. pp.151-173.
- ‘Healing a Continent? Britain and European Reconstruction 1919-24’, Modern History Review, November 1994. pp.26-28.
- ‘Britain’s Relations with France After Versailles: The Problem of Tangier, 1919-23’, European History Quarterly, vol.24, 1994. pp.53-84.
- ‘The Wartime Political Truce and Hopes for Post War Coalition: The West Derbyshire By-election, 1944’, Midland History, vol.XVII, 1992.
The War for England's Shore: S-Boats and the Fight Against Britain's Coastal Convoys, United States Naval Institute Press, Annapolis (MD), 2023.
A Most Irregular War 2023: SOE Burma, Major Trofimov's Diary 1944-45, Paul Honeywill, 2023.
Through Fire and Ice: Arctic Convoys 1941-45, Britannia Museum Trust Press, 2022.
Desperate Victories: Military Despatches from Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain, Amberley, Stroud, 2018.
Admiralty Despatches: The Story of the War from the Battlefront 1939-1945, Amberley, Stroud, 2017.
The Royal Navy in the Age Austerity: British Naval Policy Under Lloyd George 1919-22, Bloomsbury, London, 2016.
(With R. and E. Bennett) Bismarck: The Chase and Sinking of Hitler's Goliath, University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, 2012.
Hitler's Ghost Ships: Graf Spee, Scharnhorst and Disguised Enemy Raiders, University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, 2012.
Hunting Tirpitz: Royal Naval Operations against Bismarck's Sister Ship, University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, 2012.
The Nazi, The Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road, Reaktion, London, 2012.
[ed.] Raiding Support Regiment: A Memoir, University of Plymouth Press, Plymouth, 2011.
The RAF's French Foreign Legion: De Gaulle, the British and the Re-Emergence of French Air Power 1940-45, Continuum, 2011.
British Naval Aviation in World War II, IB Tauris, London, 2007. Published in paperback 2012.
Survivors: British Merchant Seamen in the Second World War, Continuum, London, 2007.
Destination Normandy: Three American Regiments in Normandy, Praeger, Westport (CT), 2006. published in paperback by Stackpole books 2009.
(with Dr. R. Bennett, Reader Emeritus, Derby University) Hitler’s Admirals, United States Naval Institute Press, Annapolis (M.D.), 2004 . published in Polish 2007 and German 2009.
Roosevelt’s Peacetime Administrations 1933-41: A Documentary History of the New Deal Years, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2004.
Amerika Presidendid 1945-2000: Hiilguse Illusioonid, Kunst, Tallinn, 2004.
An American Regiment in Devon: The 116th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach and the Photography of Olin Dows, Flash-Thunder Press, Devon, 2003.
The American Presidency 1945-2000 - Illusions of Grandeur, Sutton, Stroud and New York, 2000.
(with Dr. Marion Gibson, Lecturer in English Literature, Exeter University), The Later Life of Lord Curzon of Kedleston - Aristocrat, Writer, Politician, Statesman - An Experiment In Political Biography, Edwin Mellen Press, New York, 2000.
(with Dr. R. Bennett, Reader Emeritus, Derby-Lonsdale College/Derby University), Survivors: British Merchant Seamen in the Second World War, Hambledon, London and Rio Grande, 1999.
The Place of the Foreign Secretary in the Making of British Foreign Policy After the First World War, Plymouth International Papers, Plymouth, 1998.
British Foreign Policy During the Curzon Period, 1919-24, Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1995.
'Introduction', in Fire and Ice: Arctic Convoys 1941-45, Britannia Museum Trust, Dartmouth, 2022.
'Schnellboote, Strategy and the Defence of Festung Europa, 1943-1944', in Faulkner, M., Patalano, A., The Sea and the Second World War: Maritime Aspects of a Global Conflict, Andarta Books, Lexington [KY], 2019.
‘The Other Critical Convoy Battles of 1943: The Eclipse of the Schnellboote in the English Channel and North Sea’ in Faulkner, M., Bell, C.M.H., Decision in the Atlantic, The Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War (New Perspectives on the Second World War), Andarta Books, Lexington [KY], 2019.
'A Very Different Experience: Merchant Seamen on British Coastal Convoys 1940-45' in Rosendahl, Bjorn Tore, Allied Merchant Seafarers in the Second World War, Cappelen Damm, Akademisk, Oslo, 2018. pp.47-74.
'Dockyard, Naval Base and Town: The Social and Political Dynamics of Plymouth 1800 to 1950' in Auge, O., Tillman, D., Kiel und die Marine 1865-2015: 150 Jahre Gemeinsame Geschichte, Ludwig, Kiel, 2017. pp.113-136.
(With R, Bennett) 'Maritime Cornwall in Two World Wars' in Philip Payton, Alston Kennerley and Helen Doe [eds.], The Maritime History of Cornwall, University of Exeter Press, Exeter, 2014. pp.377-386.
'The French Resister in the Maghreb: French North Africa and the Formation of the Forces Aeriennes Francaises Libres, 1940–41' in Barkhof, S., and Smith, A., War and Displacement in the Twentieth Century: Global Conflicts, Routledge, London, 2014. pp.37-52.
‘Women and the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945: contemporary texts, propaganda and life writing’ in Gender and Warfare in the Twentieth Century: Textual Representations, ed. Angela Smith Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2004. pp.111-131.
‘Lord Carrington’ in British Foreign Secretaries since 1974, ed. Professor Kevin Theakston, Routledge, London and New York, 2004. pp.115-138.
‘British Foreign Policy 1900-1939’ in A Companion to the Twentieth Century, ed. Professor Chris Wrigley, Blackwells, Oxford, 2002. pp.152-166.
‘Asquith’, pp.113-126 in Kelly, R., and Cantrell, J., Modern British Statesman 1867-1945, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1997.
Review of: Nick Hewitt. Coastal Convoys 1939-1945: The Indestructible Highway. Bransley: Pen & Sword, 2008. Appendices. Notes. Index. Cloth, pp.244. http://secondworldwaroperationsresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/book-review-coastal-convoys-1939-1945/
Review of: Peter C. Smith. Naval Warfare in the English Channel 1939-1945. Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2007. Appendix. Notes. Index. Cloth, pp. 289. https://secondworldwaroperationsresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/book-review-naval-warfare-in-the-english-channel-1939-1945/
Review of Edwyn Gray, Hitler’s Battleships. Leo Cooper: Barnsley, 1999. Appendix. Index. Cloth. pp.195.http://secondworldwaroperationsresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/book-review-hitlers-battleships/
Review of Sönke Neitzel (ed.) Tapping Hitler’s Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-45, Frontline Books, Barnsley, 2007. Appendix. Notes. Index. Cloth, pp. 416. https://secondworldwaroperationsresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/book-review-tapping-hitlers-generals-transcripts-of-secret-conversations-1942-45/
Review of Jak P. Mallmann Showell, Hitler’s Navy: A Reference Guide to the Kriegsmarine 1935-1945. Seaforth: Barnsley, 2009. Chronology, Appendix, Index. Cloth. pp. 223.
Review of Robert C. Stern, The US Navy and the War in Europe. Seaforth Publishing: Barnsley, 2012. Appendix. Index. Cloth. pp.306.
Review of Glyn Prysor, Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy in the Second World War, Penguin, London, 2012, BBC History Magazine, August 2012.
Review of Brian Lavery, Able Seamen: The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy 1850-1939, Conway, London, 2011, BBC History Magazine, February 2012.
Review of Carl Lindahl [ed.], American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress, M.E. Sharpe, London and New York, 2 vols. 2004. Folklore, Volume 116, December, 2005.
Review of Martin Folly, The United States and World War II, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2002. European Journal of American Culture, Volume 22, Number 1, 2003.
Review of Christopher Hewitt, Understanding Terrorism in America: From the Klan to Al Qaeda, London and New York, Routledge, 2002. , European Journal of American Culture, Volume 22, Number 1, 2003. pp.23-36.
Review of Michael Dockrill’s and John Fisher’s The Paris Peace Conference, 1919: Peace Without Victory?, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2001. In The International History Review, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, vol.XXIV, No.3 September 2002. pp.676-7.
Review of Elspeth Y. O’Riordan’s Britain and the Ruhr Crisis, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2001. In The International History Review, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, vol.XXIV, No.1 March 2002. p.167.
'"The Worst Journey in the World": The Arctic Convoys', BBC History Magazine, Christmas 2013, BBC Bristol, 2013. pp.50-56.
The lessons of history: UK Maritime Security and the Battle of the Atlantic, Brochure for Maritime Media Awards 2013.
The Battle of the Atlantic in Microcosm, Marine Institute News, Issue 11, 2013. p.10.
The Battle of the Atlantic, BBC History Magazine, March 2011, BBC Bristol, 2011. pp.26-32
'The French Few of RAF Fighter Command', BBC History Magazine, Second World War Special, BBC, Bristol, 2010. pp.62-63.
Separate articles on Sir Samuel Hoare, Sir J. Austen Chamberlain and the Peace Treaties 1919-1923 in The Reader’s Guide to British History, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, New York, 2003 .
Contributer and Consultant to Plymouth: A People’s History, Plymouth Evening Herald, Plymouth, 1999.
Separate articles on Lord Curzon of Kedleston, and the Locarno Pact (1925) in Leventhal, F.M., [ed.] Twentieth Century Britain: An Encyclopedia, Garland, New York, 1995.
Reports & invited lectures
Two Conferences Organised
Other academic activities
Conference Papers Given (Just a sample)
Sabotage, Subversion and Surveillance in Military Ports: Devonport in the 1930s, Centre for Ports and Maritime History Annual Conference, Liverpool, 2023
A Trans-Atlantic Inter-War Moral Panic: “All-in” American style wrestling and Social Control Through the Law in 1930s Britain, Trans-Atlantic Studies Association, Plymouth, 2023
Managed Decline and the Use of Diplomacy to Ring Fence British Naval Power in the Inter-War Period', Yale Naval History Conference, 2018.
The Value of Books to Navies: The Case of the Royal Navy 1660-1945', McMullen Naval History Symposium Annapolis, Maryland, 2017,
Dockyard, Naval Base and Town: The Social and Political Dynamics of Plymouth 1850-1950 (Kiel und die Marine: 150 Jahre gemeinsame Geschichte, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, 2015.
The Royal Navy and the Anglo-Japanese Alliance 1914-23 (Daiwa Research Symposium as part of Japan 400 event, Plymouth, 2014).
'A very different experience: merchant seamen on British Coastal Convoys 1940-45', Merchant Seamen in the Second World War, Kristiansand Norway, 2014.
'The Loss of U-564, 14 June 1943: Cornwall and the Battle of the Atlantic', National Maritime Museum (Falmouth), 2013.
'The Lessons of History: The Battle of the Atlantic Anniversary and the vote on Syria 2013', Britain and the Sea II Conference, 2013.
'At the Mercy of the Enemy: Patterns of Interaction between Shipwrecked British and American Merchant Mariners and U-boat Crews in the Battle of the Atlantic', Liverpool (HMS Eaglet) Battle of the Atlantic Conference, 2013.
'The Other critical convoy battles of 1943: The Eclipse of the Schnellboot in the English Channel and North Sea', Kings College London Battle of the Atlantic Conference, 2013.
'Building sea-mindedness the lessons of the Second World War', Britain and the Sea Conference, 2012.
'The S-130 Project', 46th Exeter Maritime History Conference, Exeter University, 2012.
'Defeat of the Schnellboote 1944', Global Regional Nexus: The Second World War at Sea, Kings College London, 2012.
Displaced Loyalties and the Free French, War and Displacement Conference, University of Plymouth, 2011.
'Southern Ukraine 1943: The Evidence Daghani didn't Know', Conflict, Document, Representation: From the Habsburg Empire to the Holocaust, One day Symposium, Austrian Cultural Forum, 2009.
Impact on the News Agenda
· BBC 6 O'Clock News - 6 November 2009 - Featured Archive Footage discovered as part of Research on Free French Squadrons with the RAF – Interviewed. Approximately 6 Million viewers with additional viewers from BBC News 24, BBC affiliates and BBC World (Weekly audience 82 million) - report was run on I-player 147,000 times in the 24 hours following initial broadcast.
'The French Few of RAF Fighter Command', BBC History Magazine, Second World War Special, BBC, Bristol, 2010. pp.62-63.
'The RAF's Free French Fighter Squadrons: The Rebirth of French Airpower, 19409-44, Global War Studies: The Journal for the Study of Warfare and Weapons, 1919-1945, Vol.7, No.2, 2010. pp.62-101.
· BBC 6 O'Clock News - 13 August 2010 - Featured Archive Footage discovered as part of Research on German Schnellboats 1933-45 – Interviewed. Approximately 6 Million viewers with additional viewers from BBC News 24 and BBC affiliates. Follow up reporting and public dissemination:
BBC Radio 4 News 13 August 2010
BBC Radio 5 Live News 13 August 2010
BBC Radio Devon News 13 August 2010
BBC Radio Cornwall News 13 August 2010
Documentary 'The Real Battle of Britain' First Broadcast BBC 2 - 22 September 2010
NDR Television Schleswig Holstein Magazine - 13 November 2010
Documentary BBC Inside Out - Discovery of HMS Ullswater - 15 November 2010
Documentary 'Wartime Secrets with Harry Harris, programme 5 (D-Day Secrets) First Broadcast on Discovery History 5 December 2010
· BBC 10 O'Clock News - 14 April 2011 - Featured research findings on film of German police and SS in South Russia 1943 – Interviewed. Approximately 9 Million viewers with additional viewers from BBC News 24, BBC affiliates and BBC World (Weekly audience 82 million) - report was run on I-player 78,000 times in the 24 hours following initial broadcast – text based report received 85,000 hits in the 24 hours after broadcast). Follow up reporting and public dissemination:-
BBC Radio Devon, 15 April 2011
BBC Spotlight, 15 April 2011.
The Sun, 16 April 2011, p.32.
The Western Morning News, 16 April 2011, p.8.
Exeter Express and Echo, 16 April, p.2.
The Jewish Telegraph, 21 April 2011, p.1.
National Public Radio USA, 19 April 2011.
TV Documentaries and Radio (I Love Working with Both)
Documentary ‘Seaside Secrets with Tony Livesey’ (D-Day at Slapton Sands) First Broadcast on Channel 4 2 April 2007.
In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 (Pilgrim Fathers) 5 July 2007.
BBC Breakfast, BBC News 24, ‘Exercise Tiger and the Restoration of S-130’, 31 January 2009.
BBC Spotlight, ‘Nazi Cows – the story of the Heck Cattle’, 22 April 2009.
9 June 2009 The Michael Smerconish Program, Syndicated Radio Show (USA)
6 May 2009 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30977019/ns/world_news-d-day_65_years_later/t/last-its-kind-deadly-nazi-e-boat-rises-again/
Documentary 'Wartime Secrets with Harry Harris, programme 2 (Nazi Invasion) First Broadcast on Discovery History 14 November 2010.
Documentary 'Wartime Secrets with Harry Harris, programme 3 (D-Day) First Broadcast on Discovery History 28 November 2010.
BBC Spotlight, ‘Cine Films Bring City’s Past Alive’ 30 November 2010.
The Battle of the Atlantic, BBC History Magazine, March 2011, BBC Bristol, 2011. pp.26-32.
The Secret D-Day Disaster, Channel 5 Revealed, First Broadcast 20 March 2012.
BBC Radio Devon , ‘Britannia Battle Summaries’, 16 September 2013.
Prideaux Place, BBC 1 Countryfile, 15 December 2013.
Combat Ships (Series 1) Episode 5, First Broadcast 19 March 2017.
Who Do You Think You Are - BBC (Series 15, No.6. Marvin Humes), First Broadcast 6 August 2018.
World War II Treasure Hunters (Series 2), First Broadcast 24 December 2018.
Paper on Britain’s Future Defence Requirements for the Phoenix Think Tank.
Paper on the value of military history/heritage to those in Military Training for the Phoenix Think Tank.
Paper on ‘The Lessons of History in 2013: UK Maritime Security – the Battle of the Atlantic Commemorations (17-28 May) and the vote on the Government motion on Syria (29 August)’.
Paper on ‘Government Defeat in the Motion on Syria: The Relationship between Politicians, Public and Nation state over Foreign and Military Policy’.
I am currently working with the University of Plymouth Press and Britannia Naval College on a series of books dealing with the Naval History of the Second World War. See http://estore.plymouth.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?compid=1&modid=1&catid=207