Malcolm Atkin Military Research
Malcolm Atkin, BA, FSA, MCIFA, is a retired professional archaeologist with a long-standing interest in military history, best known for his publications on the English Civil War. He was County Archaeologist for Worcestershire from 1993 - 2009, during which time he served as representative of local government archeologists on the Steering Committee of the national Defence of Britain Project. In Worcestershire, an enthusiastic volunteer project was established under the wing of the County Archaeology Service by Mick Wilks and the late Colin Jones. This still continues as the Defence of Worcestershire project.
Since 2009, when the progression of MS both obliged an early retirement from work and ended his career as a musketeer with the Fairfax Battalia of the English Civil War Society, Malcolm has been carrying out research on the Auxiliary Units and the organisation of the bodies that made up the 'British Resistance', published in 2015 as Fighting Nazi Occupation. This extended into a broader history of Section D of SIS, published in 2017 as Section D for Destruction: forerunner of SOE. In 2019 To The Last Man: the Home Guard in War and Popular Culture provided a re-assessment of the much misunderstood Home Guard and current research focuses on the secret Military Intelligence (Research) of 1938-40. The work has only been possible due to the support of his wife, Susanne, and the services of Lee Richards of ARCRE, which brings all of the resources of The National Archives to one's sofa!
A consistent theme has been a study of the development and impact of popular mythology upon the pattern of historic research and publishing. This can be seen in the continued myth of Worcester as the 'faithful city', the romantic (if chilling) stereotypes of WW1 and the development of the popular perception of the WW2 Home Guard as a result of the Dad's Army TV series. The first of a series of essays on this topic was published in 2016 as Myth and Reality: The Second World War Auxiliary Units. This has been followed byt the major new study of the Home Guard in To The Last Man: the Home Guard in War and Popular Culture. Historic integrity seems to be increasingly suffering at the hands of media soundbites, some dreadful films, 'artistic interpretation' and fanciful reenactments. Another interest is in the development of war photography, for which see his pages on Past Image Photography.
Malcolm lectures widely on the Home Guard of both WW1 and WW2, as well as the WW2 British Resistance. He also works with the historical interpretation group Discover History in schools and at public events, specializing in authentically sitting down and drinking tea as a member of the Home Guard.
Malcolm Atkin is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Field Archaeologists.
© Copyright Malcolm Atkin 2015. Contents not to be copied or otherwise reproduced without permission.