Winners of the 2022 RAF Museum Academic Awards Announced

Published on: 22 February 2023

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce the winners of its academic awards to Doctoral, Masters and Undergraduate students. They are David Spruce, Jack Read and Matthew Bruce.

These awards are made to final year students, without regard to nationality or academic affiliation, on the recommendation of a selection panel composed of members of the RAF Museum’s Research Board. The bursary and prizes are awarded for writing in the field of ‘air power studies’ in the broadest sense, encompassing not only the history of air warfare, but also related fields such as archaeology, international relations, strategic studies and others. This year’s applications were assessed during the course of 2022.

Full length studio monochrome portrait print of a pilot in a flying helmet and leather flying coat.

The winner of the 2022 Royal Air Force Museum Doctoral Bursary is David Spruce (University of Wolverhampton). David’s thesis examines recruitment and training in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during the First World War.

David’s research seeks to address significant deficiencies in the historiography of the RFC, and to tackle persistent stereotypes and errors that pervade, even in recent works. Further, David’s research offers to explore the lives and wartime contributions of the men on the ground who accounted for some 90% of the RFC. The contribution of ground personnel has frequently been underrepresented in the RFC’s history.

David has previously presented parts of his research via the Royal Air Force Museum’s Research Programme lecture series.

The winner of the Royal Air Force Museum Masters Prize is Jack Read (University of Birmingham). Jack’s dissertation is entitled ‘”Seven men against the Reich”: How was aircrew cohesion developed and sustained within RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War?’.

Jack’s dissertation is empirically and conceptually rich, demonstrates a clear grasp of existing literature, and makes excellent use of primary source material. Jack’s dissertation effectively demonstrated the complexity of aircrew cohesion, giving us a clear insight into the lives of Bomber Command aircrews. In doing so, Jack’s research contributes to the social and cultural history of the Second World War, and deepens our understanding of the RAF’s story.

The winner of the Royal Air Force Museum Undergraduate Prize is Matthew Bruce (Staffordshire University). Matthew’s final undergraduate project comprised a collection of essays on ‘Issues in European Security, Intelligence in Peace and War, and Conflict Analysis’.

Matthew’s submission provided interesting explorations of International Relations, Strategic Studies and the application of Intelligence. Matthew’s essays demonstrate a high degree of competency in utilising primary source material and conducting independent research. He also demonstrates an ability to compile and critically analyse relevant academic literature, and to challenge prevailing scholarly narratives.

The winners of the RAF Museum Awards will be invited to attend the RAF Museum’s 2023 Conference, where they will be formally presented with their awards.

Details of how to apply for one of the RAF Museum’s 2023 Academic Awards will be shared later in the year. If you would like further information, then email the RAF Museum’s historian Samuel Hollins (

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