I am a PhD researcher in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University. I previously completed an MScEcon in International Relations at Cardiff University, as well as a BA (Hons) in Ancient History.
My research is focused on the Ulster Defence Regiment, a former British infantry regiment active from 1970-1992 which served as a local defence force during the Northern Ireland conflict. My research seeks to compare this to the broader use of local defence forces in modern warfare, and what lessons may be learnt from previous British experiences in this matter.
My research interests include: The Northern Ireland Conflict, Local Defence Forces, Counterinsurgency (COIN), Military Culture
PGR Member - Centre for Conflict, Security and Societies
My thesis will examine the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), which was once the largest infantry regiment within the British Army. The regiment was by far the largest single unit deployed during the Northern Ireland conflict, and served as a local defence force in the region. Throughout the 22 years of its existence, the regiment became the longest actively deployed unit in the British Army since the Napoleonic Wars, and suffered 196 casualties during the course of its duties. However, little is written on the regiment and beyond the island of Ireland it is an almost unknown entity.
The regiment has long been a matter of some controversy in the history of the conflict as a result of allegations of collusion and criminality. This has resulted in a "bad apples" defence by the British Army, the UDR and the government, yet the regiment and its legacy continue to be dominated by these accusations. Lauded as heroes by many from the Unionist community, and condemned as criminals and thugs by many Nationalists, the UDR has yet to receive a thorough examination of its record.
My thesis examines many of these allegations, and seeks to understand the UDR and its culture. Its members served in their own communities, where they faced many dangers including death daily. 79% of those who were killed during their service were murdered while off-duty, including in front of friends, family and loved ones, and a further 60 former members were killed following the end of their service. What it was like to serve in the UDR is an understudied element of the conflict, and may go some way to explain some instances and allegations against the regiment and its members. From the thesis, one expects to be able to understand if and how the unit was failed by the British Army and state, how it managed to carry out its duties as part of the British security apparatus in Northern Ireland, and whether lessons may be learned from the regiment.
The thesis will also compare the UDR to more recent local defence forces of the War on Terror and some of its own contemporaries, in order to understand the broader use of such forces by the British Army and other militaries. From this, lessons may be drawn as to where and how local defence units may be used in modern and future warfare.
I teach seminars to first year Politics and International Relations students, and have taught on modules including:
- PL9197 - Introduction to Globalisation
- PL9195 - Introduction to International Relations
Additionally, I also assist on some modules related to the Northern Ireland conflict.