Matthew Hough


I am a first year doctoral researcher working on the role of Field Marshal Harold Alexander as a coalition commander in the Mediterranean during the later stages of the Second World War.

I moved to Leeds as an undergraduate in 2016 and graduated with a BA (Hons) in History in 2019. In my final year I specialised in military history, focusing on the First and Second World Wars. My dissertation examined the career and reputation of Lieutenant General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, who served as a corps commander at Gallipoli and later on the Western Front during the First World War, and has come to be regarded as an archetypal ‘donkey general’.

I subsequently completed my MA in War and Strategy, also at the University of Leeds, graduating with a Distinction in 2020. During my studies my focus shifted towards the Second World War, and my dissertation examined the views of Italian prisoners of war on the collapse of Fascist Italy’s war effort between July and September 1943.

My PhD research, which I began in October 2023, is funded by a School of History Doctoral Scholarship.

I am also the Postgraduate Assistant for the School of History’s War Studies Research Cluster for the 2023-24 academic year.

Research interests

My doctoral thesis investigates the role of Field Marshal Harold Alexander in the Mediterranean Theatre between 1943 and 1945, with particular reference to the challenges he faced as the commander of a multi-national coalition force during the campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. My PhD will analyse the extent to which Alexander’s career demonstrates a learning curve in the transition from British imperial general to coalition commander, and how far his identity as a product of the British Army and his overriding loyalty to the British Empire conflicted with his responsibilities – first as head of a multi-national Army Group and then as Supreme Commander at the head of a fully-integrated Allied headquarters operating under the authority of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

My wider research interests include:

  • Military History
  • The British Army, 1914-1945
  • The Second World War
  • Military Cultures and Identities
  • Civil-Military Relations

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Army Historical Research

Papers and Presentations:

“What a small calibre man he is!”: The Alanbrooke Diaries and the Reputation of Field Marshal Harold Alexander, War Studies Work in Progress Workshop, University of Leeds, March 2024


  • MA War and Strategy (University of Leeds, 2020)
  • BA (Hons) History (University of Leeds, 2019)