Submission Details
By email (preferred method):
Marked ‘Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize’ to

Recorded delivery to:
Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize
FAO Michael Codner
Director of Military Sciences
Royal United Services Institute
London SW1A 2ET

Essay Prize History

RUSImotifThe Trench Gascoigne Prize Essay Competition dates back to 1874 when the Council of RUSI started a Gold Medal essay competition for Army and Royal Navy Officers. The first essay subject was on forming a reserve for the Army. In 1895 Colonel F C Trench Gascoigne of the Yorkshire Volunteers, veteran of the Gordon Relief expedition, donated a fund for the 'RUSI Gold Medal and Trench Gascoigne Prize Essay' to encourage more officers to write for the RUSI Journal. The donation was in the form of Hull, Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Ordinary Stock. (In 1898 the Chesney Gold Medal Award was also established as an occasional award so in recent years the wording 'Gold Medal' was dropped from the Trench Gascoigne Prize title to enhance the distinction between the two prizes).

Previous award winners:

2014: Ben Challis
 Building the Bomb: Nuclear Proliferation in Authoritarian States.

2013: Pádraig Belton
UK Intelligence Strategy for a Post-Snowdown Era

2012: Megan Warshawsky
The Balance to be Found Between Civil Liberties and National Security

2011: Stephanie Meulenbelt
The 'Worm' as a Weapon of Mass Destruction; How to Respond Legally to Cyber-Warfare?

2010: Lukas Milevski
A Collective Failure of Grand Strategy: The West's Unintended Wars of Choice

2009: David Blagden
Strategic Thinking for the Age of Austerity

2008: Andrea Baumann
Clash of Organisational Cultures? The Challenge of Integrating Civilian and Military Efforts in Stabilisation Operations

2007: Dr Julian Lewis MP
Double-I, Double-N: A Framework for Counter-Insurgency

2006: Group Captain Peter Layton RAAF
Redefining Warfare

2005: Dr Julian Lewis MP
Nuclear Disarmament Versus Peace in the 21st Century

2003: Stevyn Gibson
Open Source Intelligence: An Intelligence Lifeline

2002: Ian Bellany
Men at War: The Sources of Morale

2001: Major Jim Storr
Neither Art nor Science - Towards a Discipline of War

2000: Lieutenant Commander Chris Tweed
From Doughnuts to Toffee Apples - A New Model of War and Peace

1997:Group Captain A. Campbell 
A British Joint General Staff - Imperial Throwback or Strategic Imperative?

1996: Wing Commander M.J.G. Wiles
Competition in Procurement: Have We Gone Too Far? 

1994: Brigadier A.G. Denaro 
Warrior or Worrier?  Is the British Army Producing the Right Man to Command its Troops on Operations?         

1993: Wing Commander A.J. Brookes
The Royal Air Force in Germany - Changing for the better?  

1992: Squadron Leader E.G. Jones
Women in Combat, Historical Quirk or the Future Cutting Edge?  

1991: Commander N.D. Latham
How Valuable are the Armed Forces in Contributing to the Security of Britain?  

1990: Major A.A.A. Beattie
Is terrorism likely to establish itself as the modern form of warfare and how can it be countered on an international basis?  

1989: Lieutenant-Colonel D.A.P. Oddie
Should there be a Palestinian State, and how could it work?           

1988: Wing Commander R.W. Hooper
Mikhail Gorbachev's Economic Reconstruction and Soviet Defence Policy

1987: Wing Commander G. W. Cunningham
Unmanned Offensive Aircraft - Have They a Future?         

1986: Frederick Hogarth
Dynamic Density: A Deterrent for the OMG  

1985: Major Beat Schaer-Kern
The European Neutral Corridor: An Open Westward Route for Warsaw Pact Forces in War?       

1984: Major A. Cain
SALT I - In Retrospect.  

1983: Lieutenant M.R. Little
The Evolution and Future of Revolutionary Guerrilla Warfare and Terrorism

1982: Wing Commander David Salusbury
Spain: The Challenge for NATO

1981: Ronald D. Humble
On the Military Use of Space

1980: Lieutenant C.J.L.F. Anderson
The Defence of Superior Orders

1979: I.P.S.G. Cosby
Disquiet in the Far East

1978: Major R. Marston
Resettlement as a Counter-revolutionary technique

1977: Lieutenant-Commander M.P. Gretton
Protecting New Frontiers on the Ocean Floor

1976: Lieutenant-Commander W.K. Hutchism
Has the time come for a complete reappraisal of the form of the Alliance and the military capability it deploys?

1975: Major R.S. Evans
The Need for Offensive Operations on Land 

1974: Air Commodore. D.W. Richardson
European Security and the Atlantic Link 

1973: Joint 1st:

Squadron Leader K. Bradley
NATO Strategy and the Security of Western Europe

Noel Falconer
Budgeting for Defence

1972: Squadron Leader David Bolton
European Defence - Britain's Choice 

1971: Dr. Colin S. Gray
"What is Good for General Motors..."

1970: Wing Commander J.E.T. Haile
The young officer in the 1970's is likely to have less opportunity to gain experience of leadership in active, and semi-active, service situations than his counterpart in the 1960's.  Additionally, he will need more technical knowledge requiring lengthy periods of academic and theoretical studies.  What effect is this diminution in opportunities for acquiring experience of service leadership likely to have upon the development of the younger officer, and what practical proposals can be made to counteract them without disturbing the balance in his early years spent at duty with troops and spent on courses of instruction?

1969: Lieutenant-Colonel A.J. Trythall
What broad tasks are likely to face British Armed Forces in 1979, and what steps do you consider we should take now to ensure the suitability of our men and equipment a decade hence?

1968: Wing Commander K.M. Oliver
Due to the recent changes in Defence Policy, the career of a serving officer or man in the 1970s is likelyto be restricted compared to that of his predecessor of the 1950s.  This could have an adverse effect on recruiting for the regular forces of the future.  Describe the steps which should be taken to ensure that a career in the Services in the 1970s will be both attractive and worthwhile.


1967: Major P.W. Dell
In an era of rapid scientific developments and of significant changes in British national defence policy there is a greater need than ever before for the deeper study and uninhibited discussion of defence problems.  Senior officers of the three Services become ever more involved in technical and administrative routine so that there is a danger that the mechanics of their duties engage all their energies, to the exclusion of independent and constructive thought.  This study, thought and discussion can only be done in an institution which is itself unfettered by political associations and which has the prestige to attract the influential and encourage the original.  Discuss how, in the future, the Royal United Service Institution can meet this need and what steps, if any, should be taken to enhance its status and adapt its functions.


1966: Brigadier J.M. Strawson
"The concept of every operation being a joint operation and of the consequent need for balanced forces has been an article of faith in the British military thought for many years.  It can be argued that this concept has kept artificial balance between the Services which has borne little relation to the actual tasks of the last 25 years.  Is the requirement for balanced forces likely to remain valid in this country into the 1970s, and, if not, in what way do you suggest the balance of force should be varied?"

1965: Brigadier W.G.F. Jackson
"China has now exploded a nuclear device.  France has already done so and is producing a nuclear weapon delivery system that may be operational by the end of the '60s.  India and a number of other medium Powers have, or will shortly have, the potentiality to produce nuclear weapons.  Discuss the significance of this for the Great Powers."


1964: Colonel A.E. Younger
"The geographical situation of the free part of Europe which - as a consequence of World War II - has shrunk to such an extent and has now so little geographic depth, that even a unified Western Europe would not be capable of successfully defending itself, without U.S. assistance."  (Franz-Joseph Strauss.)   Discuss the validity of this statement.


1963: Major J.N. Elderkin
"Any idiot can go on doing what has been done before, but it takes real courage, intelligence and character to assess the needs of the future, to devise a sound programme and carry it into effect.  This is particularly true of the Armed Services, which become merely an expensive luxury unless the process of improvement, modernisation, forward thinking and planning goes on continuously." (His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal School of Military Engineering, 20th July, 1962).  What improvements in organisation and administration jointly affecting all three Services do you consider could and should be made during the next five years?


1962: Group Captain E.A. Johnston
"Does Britain need to be placed in the race for control of space in order to support her defence strategy?"

1961: Brigadier W.G.F Jackson
"It has been said that the object of studying Military History is not to acquire information about the past but to improve our judgement as to what ought to be done under conditions of actual war.  The introduction of nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical, would seem to have altered the conditions of any future war completely.  Discuss the extent to which the study of past campaigns is still of any use in the training of future commanders of all three Services or could help in the formulation of tactical or strategic concepts for use in such a war."

1960: Group Captain P. de L. Le Cheminant
"The thermo-nuclear stalemate makes a major war out of the question.  The Suez operation showed that a limited war, even if successful, is bound to be a political catastrophe.  The internal security of our colonies and dependencies does not call for Forces of size and complexity, particularly the complexity, that we now have.  What, then, are the Services for?"  Discuss this, with proposals on how the Services should be re-shaped.

1959: Instructor Lieutenant N.G. Brown
"Sea power will be vital for the Western Alliance in any future all-out contest between East and West." (Field-Marshall Montgomery.)  Discuss this in light of the Communist threat.

1958: Group Captain P. de L. Le Cheminant
"In a few years' time the fear of retaliation may inhibit both East and West from contemplating the use of nuclear weapons against each other.  This state of affairs may tempt the Communist parties to increase their efforts to gain limited military and diplomatic objectives by 'nibbling' tactics.  Discuss this possibility and the ways and means by which the free world can avoid being 'nibbled to death' in an age of nuclear stalemate."

1957: Lieutenant-Colonel J.G.O. Whitehead
"The Communist Powers are conducting a determined drive for leadership of the under-developed peoples of the world by economic, cultural, and military influences and pressures.  Discuss what they have achieved and give your views on the counter-measures which the Free World should now take."


1956: Wing-Commander J.E.T. Haile
"Correct man-management is vital to economy and efficiency in industry.  Make a comparison between the methods of man-management in the Services and in industry, and suggest any improvements applicable to the Services."


1955: Major-General B.T Wilson
"Air power is indivisible" (Field-Marshall Montgomery - October, 1954).  Discuss this statement."

1954: Wing-Commander P. de L. Le Cheminant
"Rearmament and the maintenance of large land, sea and air forces during a cold war cause national bankruptcy.  Our economic position at present prohibits the support of large armed forces and, consequently, dominates our strategic policy.  Discuss what strategy, in your view, should be adopted in the circumstances and what type of force, bearing in mind the need for efficiency and balance, should be maintained to implement it."


1953: Wing-Commander J.E.T. Haile
"Discuss whether the present methods of entry and training, and conditions of service, of Officers, including Auxiliary and Reserve, are keeping pace with changed social conditions and modern weapons."


1952: Major M.E. Bransby-Williams
"How far does the rising tide of nationalism in the countries of the Middle and Far East affect previous strategic thought?"


1951: Major P.A. Tobin
"The requirements of the cold war and preparations for a hot war are to a considerable degree contradictory.  The normal phase of "Parliamentary parsimony" which follows on a war is compelling us progressively to concentrate on the former in shaping our Forces at the expense of the latter.  It is often said that in the next war we shall not have breathing space in which to build up our Forces in the traditional manner, but will require considerable Forces immediately available for action.  How can the Commonwealth resources best be designed to meet the demands of the cold war, and to fulfil the mobilization requirements?"


1950: Major W.G.F. Jackson
"The smaller our forces become the more difficult it is to maintain their proper balance.  Would it not therefore be better to aim at balance within the total forces maintained by ourselves and our allies, accepting, if necessary, a lack of balance within our own forces."

1949: Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F. Jackson
"In war only a comparatively small proportion of the men in the Services get to grips with the enemy; the remainder form an administrative 'tail'.  What do you propose should be done to reduce the 'tail' and increase the 'teeth'."

1948: Major the Lord Wynford
"In peace time our fighting Services have to be reduced to a level to which they cannot hope to meet every threat to our extended Commonwealth.  How can we ensure that our limited forces have the maximum effect as a deterrent to war?"

1947: Wing-Commander S.G. Walker
"Discuss by what means the best of the Nation's manhood can be attracted to a career in the Armed Forces of the Crown."

1946: Squadron Leader S.L. Swain
"How can the lessons learnt from the development of the Services in organization and technique since 1939 be applied most efficiently to the solution of Imperial Defence problems."

1945: Lieutenant-Colonel R.M. Hall
"For some period after the War, the maintenance of peace will have to be ensured, in the last resort, by joint armed action by the major Powers.  Discuss the organization for bringing into joint action and for controlling the forces of these Powers."

1944: Colonel J.H. Whalley-Kelly
"The present war has emphasized the interdependence of the three Services on each other.  Discuss how the lessons learnt to date can best be applied so that unity of purpose and effort can be maintained after the War."

1943: Equal 1st: Lieutenant-Commander G.M. Bennett (not published)

Major General H. Rowan-Robinson
"Is compulsory training in National Defence desirable for the youth of this country after the War?  If so, in what form should it be given; can use be made of any existing youth organisations; how is it to be associated with education, and between what ages should it take place."


1942: Lieutenant-Commander G.M. Bennett
"What lessons have we learnt from our unreadiness for war and how can we best ensure that the Empire will live more securely in future."

1941: Lieutenant-Colonel J.H. Whalley-Kelly
"The war has demonstrated the remarkable effectiveness and versatility of air power in support of naval and military operations and also against the enemy's industries.  What can be learnt from this in respect of the future organization of the three fighting Services."

1940: Major Frederic Evans
"How have the lessons of the War of 1914-1918 been confirmed or modified by the experiences of the present war up to date?"

1939: Cadet-Captain E.G. Mandeville Roe
"The development of air forces has increased the burdens imposed on Home Defence.  Discuss its effect on the role and organization of the Regular and Territorial Forces in the event of a major European War."

1938: Lieutenant W.L. Nevill
"Discuss the influence which modern air forces may exert on British strategy in a major European War in which Great Britain is involved; and suggest what higher control organization is desirable in order to co-ordinate the operations of the three Services."

1937: Lieutenant N. McJ. Kemp
"Discuss in its widest aspects the strength and composition of the Navy at which we should aim to-day." 

1936: Wing-Commander J.C. Slessor
"Tactical and administrative movements in modern armies have been radically affected by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.  Discuss the possibilities of its use in the British Army in assisting to overcome the strength of modern defence and in countering the increasing threat of air action."


1935: Wing-Commander the Hon. R.A. Cochrane
"Discuss the effect of the development of air power on British interests in the Mediterranean, and suggest how these interests should be protected."

1934: Lieutenant G.M. Bennett
"To consider in all its aspects the minimum size of the Capital Ship demanded by modern conditions of warfare."

1933: Brevet-Major F.A.S. Clarke
"Assuming that it may be necessary in war to employ part or all of the Territorial Army overseas so as to produce within the shortest time a field army fully trained and equipped, and organized to include the necessary non-divisional troops; are any changes required in the present peace-time organisation, training and equipment of the Territorial Army to meet these requirements."

1932: Wing-Commander J.O. Andrews
"Discuss the importance to Military Aviation of fostering the growth of Civil Aviation.  Suggest ways in which the latter could in its natural progress take account of the requirements of Military Aviation."

1931: Sub-Lieutenant N. McJ. Kemp
"Discuss the forms of attack to which British sea-borne trade is most likely to be exposed in the event of war with one or more European Continental Powers, and indicate the lines on which defence should be developed in order to meet such attacks, having regard to existing international limitations of armaments."

1930: Captain D. W. Boileau
"With the increase of mechanization the mobility of land forces over large areas will become increasingly dependent upon adequate supply systems.  Discuss the advantages to be gained by increased speed and range of manoeuvre of mechanised forces in view of the limitations imposed by the necessity of organizing elaborate supply systems, particularly in regard to their operation in semi-civilised countries."


1929: Wing Commander C. J. Mackay
"The Role of Aircraft in Coast Defence."


1928: Lieutenant-Commander J.D. Prentice
"Discuss, with relation to Maritime Warfare, the application of the following Principles:- Concentration : The Object : Economy of Force : Surprise : Security : and illustrate your discussion with examples from Naval Strategy and Tactics."


1927: Colonel H. Rowan-Robinson
"Prior to 1914, the centre of gravity of military affairs was unmistakably in Europe.  We still have military commitments in Europe imposed on us by treaty or pact, but the centre of gravity is now not so closely defined.  Discuss the organization and training of our Military Forces, having regard to the situation of to-day."


1926: Lieutenant-Colonel J.C. Dundas
"But this much is certain, that he that commands the sea is at great liberty and may take as much and as little of the war as he will, whereas those that be strongest by land are many times nevertheless in great straits." - Bacon's Essays.  Discuss the extent to which the above may be modified by the advent of air power.

Gold medal not awarded thus not published, though won First Place Trench Gascoigne monetary prize.


1925: Lieutenant-Colonel J.C. Dundas
"The Communications across the Oceans of the World being essential to the Empire: how best can they be safeguarded?"


1924: Major L.I. Cowper
"Given, that there is maintained at home in peace time, a field Army of five Regular and fourteen Territorial Divisions, with Army Troops: how can they be best organized to provide for expansion which a war on a National Scale will demand?"  

1923: Captain A.H. Norman
"The Advantages or Disadvantages of a Separate Air Force for the Royal Navy."

1922: Major R. Chenevix-Trench
"Discuss the manner in which Scientific inventions and Science in General may affect, both Strategically and Tactically, the next Great European War in which the British Empire may be engaged.  Indicate the Organization and Training required to secure the views which you may have formed as regards the Imperial Military Forces."


1921: Flight-Lieutenant C.J. Mackay
"The Influence in the future of Aircraft upon problems of Imperial Defence."


1920: Colonel J.F.C. Fuller

What changes are suggested in Naval construction and tactics as a result of -                                 (a) The experience of the War?                                                                                        

(b) The development of Submarine and Aerial warfare in the future?

Gold medal not awarded thus not published, though won First Place Trench Gascoigne monetary prize.


1919: Colonel J.F.C. Fuller
"The application of recent developments in Mechanics and other Scientific knowledge to preparation and training for Future War on Land."

1918: Lieutenant W.S. King-Hall
"The influence of the Submarine in Naval Warfare in the Future."

1914 - 1918, Essay Cancelled during the First World War

1913: Major A. Lawson
"How can Moral Qualities best be developed during the preparation of the Officer and the Man for the duties each will carry out in War?"

1912: Commander K.G.B. Dewar
"What is the War Value of Overseas Commerce?  How did it affect our Naval Policy in the past, and how does it in the present day?"


1911: Captain H.T. Russell
"The best National System for providing the necessary Military Force: (i.) to secure the safety of the United Kingdom on land; (ii.) to support the Defence of the Empire; (iii.)to assist in maintaining the balance of power in Europe."


1910: Captain P.W. Game
"How can the Colonies best help in the Naval Defence of the British Empire?"

1909: Captain R.F. Jelley
"Raising and Training of the Territorial Army" - No medal, not published but did receive a special cash prize.

1908: Major A.B.N. Churchill
"The Command of the Sea: What is it?"

1907: Lieutenant-Colonel A.F. Mockler-Ferryman
"The best way of organising and maintaining a Reserve of efficient British Officers for the British Forces at Home and in India, including the Indian Army."

1906: Lieutenant B.E. Domvile
"What is the Relative Value of Speed and Armament, both Strategically and Tactically, in a Modern Battle-ship, and how far should either be sacrificed to the other in the ideal ship?"


1905: Major W.C. Bridge
"In the event of war with one or more Naval Powers, how should the Regular Forces be assisted by the Auxiliary Forces and the people of the Kingdom?"


1904: Lieutenant-Colonel C.E.D. Telfer-Smollett
"The best method for carrying out the conjoint practice of the Navy and Army in Embarkation and Disembarkation for War, illustrated by the experience of the past."


1903: Lieutenant A.C. Dewar
"In the existing state of Development of War Ships, and of Torpedo and Submarine Vessels, in what manner can the Strategical Objects, formerly pursued by means of Blockading an Enemy in his Own Ports, be best attained?"


1902: Major A.H. Terry
"The Best Organisation for the Land Transport of the British Army, Having Regard Both to Home Defence and Over-Sea Expeditions."


1901: Lieutenant L.H. Horden
"What should be the Disposition of the Materiel and Personnel of the British Navy in Time of Peace, and how can the Peace Strength be most rapidly expanded to War Strength?"


1899: Commander G.A Ballard
"Considering the Changes made in Naval Construction during the past 20 years, and in view of the experience gained during the China-Japanese and Spanish-American Wars, what are the best types of War Vessels for the British Navy, including armour, armament, and general equipment for ships of all types?"

1898: Captain W.B. Brown
"The strength, composition, organisation, conditions of service, and the mode of training of a Military Force for Home Defence."

1897: Commander G.A Ballard
"Protection of Commerce during War"

1896: Captain G.F. Ellison
"The relative advantages and disadvantages of Voluntary and Compulsory Service, both from a Military and a National point of view."

1895: Commander J. Honner
"In view of the changes which have taken place in the composition of Fleets during the present century, what system of entry, training and distribution is best calculated to ensure an efficient body of Officers and men of all branches for a peace and war establishment."


1894: Major F.B. Elmslie
"Lessons to be derived from the operations of landing an expeditionary force on an enemy's coast in past wars, with special reference to similar operations on the part of our Army in the future."

1893: Commander F.C.D Sturdee
"The Tactics best adapted for developing the power of existing ships and weapons (Gun, Ram and Torpedo), which should regulate Fleets, Groups and Single Vessels in action."

1892: Lieutenant-Colonel J. Farquharson
"The Military Organisation best adapted to Imperial Needs."

1891: Captain R.W. Craigie
"Maritime Supremacy being essential for the general protection of the British Empire and its Commerce, to what extent, if any, should our Naval Force be supplemented by fixed defences at home and abroad, and to whom should they be confided."

1890: Captain G.E. Benson
"The Tactical Operations of the future (including questions of Supply and Transport of Ammunition) as affected by the introduction of Magazine Rifles, Machine and Quick-firing Guns, and Smokeless Powder."



1889: Captain H.F. Cleveland
"The Maritime Defence of the United Kingdom (including its Colonies and Dependencies) and its trade, in a War with a great Maritime Power, showing the fleet considered necessary and its disposition."


1888: Captain J.F. Daniell
"Discipline; its importance to an Armed Force, and the best means of promoting and of maintaining it."


1886: Captain C.E. Callwell
'Lessons to be learned from the campaigns in which British Forces have been employed since the year 1865.'


1885: Lieutenant F.C.D. Sturdee
'The changes in the condition of naval warfare, owing to the introduction of the ram, the torpedo, and the submarine mine; having regard chiefly to the following points in our own and foreign navies, viz. : - Training of Personnel; Construction and Protection of Materiel, and Attack and Defence of Ships and Harbours.'


1884: Captain G.T. Browne
"Should the European Army in India continue as at present constituted, or should it be converted in whole or in part into a local force?" 

1883: Captain C. Johnstone
'On an outbreak of war, what is the best organization for distributing the personnel of the Navy and of the Reserves among the available war vessels, and among a proportion of merchant vessels as an auxiliary to the Navy?'


1881: Captain L. Brine
"On the best method of providing an efficient force of Officers and Men for the Navy, including the Reserves." 

1880: Captain J. K. Trotter
"Military Operations in the United Kingdom considered, particularly as influenced by the enclosed nature of the country."

1879: Captain The Hon. E.R. Fremantle
"Naval Tactics on the Open Sea, with the Existing Types of Vessels and Weapons." 

1878: Joint award:

Major T. Fraser
"Field Intrenching, its application on the battle-field and its bearing on tactics."

Captain E. Clayton
"Field Intrenching, its application on the battle-field and its bearing on tactics."


1877: Captain P.H. Colomb
"Great Britain's Maritime Power: how best developed as regards -                                                  1st. Fighting Ships. 2nd. Protection of Commerce. 3rd.  Naval Volunteer, or Supplemental Force.   4th. Colonial and Home Defence;  - the Classes, Armament, and description of the Vessels needed; and the organization required to secure a Powerful and Economic Imperial Naval Force."

1876: J.F.G. Ross of Bladensburg
"On the Causes which have led to the Pre-eminence of Nations in War."

1875: Commander Gerard H.U Noel
On the best type of War-Vessels for the British Navy

1874: Captain H.W.L. Hime
Universal Conscription: The Only Answer to the Recruiting Question  

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