In the previous blog post, Grace promised that news would follow about the appointment of a project Research Assistant, so I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Joel Morley, and I was recently appointed as the Research Associate on the British Military Bases in Germany project. I was drawn to the project by my interests in oral history, memory, and the social and cultural history of war and its legacies. My independent research centres on the memory and legacies of the First World War in Britain. I have published an article that uses oral histories with Second World War veterans to explore whether and what they had been told by First World War as they were growing up, and another that uses the Mass Observation archive to examine how memories and impressions of the First World War affected Britons’ morale at the outset of the Second World War. Over the next year, as well as working on the British Military Bases in Germany project, I’ll also be working on my first book, which establishes how the memory of the First World War shaped the attitudes and subjective masculinities of those who served in the Second World War.
Prior to joining Bristol, I spent three years as Senior Research Officer on a Leverhulme-funded oral history project, ‘National Service Life Stories’ with Dr Peter Gurney and Dr Matthew Grant at the University of Essex. This project used more than 100 oral histories to examine how National Service during the early Cold War period shaped the lives of a generation of British men, and how they remember their conscripted service and position it in relation to the Cold War. As I work with Grace to conduct, summarise, and analyse oral histories conducted for the British Military Bases in Germany project I’ll get to hear how a wide range of people – regular service personnel, their spouses, their children, and civilians working for and with the armed forces – experienced service in Germany. I’m looking forward to exploring what their day-to-day lives were like, how family life was shaped by and adapted to overseas postings, and how they understood British presence in Germany over the second half of the twentieth century. I’ll be leading on some public engagement activities and we are currently refining ideas about the form that these will take. I’ll also be helping to organise our Cold War Voices workshop at the University of Bristol, which we will have some details about very soon.