Harry Sanderson

Harry Sanderson


I graduated from the University of Kent in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in War Studies with an Approved Year Abroad (First Class) where my dissertation on the importance of small arms to the British Army in 1918 won the School of History Prize for the Best War Studies Dissertation. I then moved to the University of Leeds where I gained an MA with Distinction in War and Strategy in 2017, completing my dissertation on the evolution of infantry training within the British army during the First World War.

I am continuing my research into training soldiers with my PhD, focusing on the question of how armies prepared their soldiers for battle by ensuring they possess sufficient tactical skills, are physically able, and mentally ready to attain victory over their opponent. I have been an active member of the School of History, serving as the Postgraduate Lead for the War and Peace Research cluster in 2018-19. In this role, I helped organise numerous seminars as well as the Preparing for Battle Conference at the University of Leeds in 2019.


  • Harry Sanderson, ‘The Black Day of the British Army: The Third Battle of the Scarpe 3 May 1917’, in The Darkest Year: The British Army on the Western Front 1917, ed. by Spencer Jones (Solihull: Helion, 2022), pp. 354–380. 
  • Harry Sanderson and Stuart Mitchell, ‘Learning and Adapting: The British Army from Somme to the Hundred Days Campaign/Amiens’ in Oxford Bibliographies
  • Harry Sanderson, ‘Book Review: On the Dangerous Edge: British and Canadian Trench Raiding on the Western Front 1914–1918 by K. Radley’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 88 (2020), 98.
  • Harry Sanderson, ‘Review of British Prisoners of War in First World War Germany by Oliver Wilkinson’, British Journal for Military History 6.1 (2020), 82–84.

I have presented at numerous conferences, including the 10th Western Front Association’s President’s Conference in May 2022. I also helped organise the Preparing for Battle Conference at the University of Leeds in 2019. 


  • Hist 1055: Historiography and Historical Skills: Lions led by Donkeys, examining changing attitudes towards British generalship in the First World War.
  • Hist 1840: Consensus and Contention: Investigations in International History: Bush’s Wars, examining the USA’s military policy from 9/11 to the Arab Spring.

Research interests

My main research interest is military history and the experience of combatants during war. My current research focus is on the British soldier, his experience in the First World War, and how the military training he received in the Army made him a ‘better man’.

I blend of social, cultural, and operational approaches to military history in an attempt to understand how training changed mens’ perceptions of themselves, their spirit – as it was known during the war, their bodies, and their technical and tactical skills. I then seek to evaluate the effect these changes had on the British Army’s military effectiveness during the war. In combination this research furthers our understanding of both the British soldier and the British Army during the First World War. 


  • MA War and Strategy
  • BA War Studies with an Approved Year Abroad