Only twice in English history has a full-scale sea-borne invasion of France been attempted. On both occasions, at the height of summer, a huge invasion fleet appeared off the Normandy coast south-west of Cherbourg. D-Day in 1944 was an unparalleled operation, with a huge range of ships of all sizes, and involved landings on a wide front along the Baie de la Seine. Six hundred years before, Edward III’s fleet in 1346 had landed from ships more similar in size to those of the armada of ‘little ships’ that rescued the survivors of Dunkirk in 1940. There are some extraordinary similarities between the two operations, as well of course as the sharp contrasts brought about by the six centuries that had passed. The D-Day invasion has been called the ‘largest seaborne invasion in history’, but remarkably, in proportion to the population of the British Isles at the time, Edward III’s operation involved a much higher share of the men available. In 1944, the first invasion force deployed 61,000 British troops out of a total of 19 million, while Edward’s 15,000 troops were drawn from a total of 1.9 million.
The aim of Edward III’s invasion is surprisingly hard to define. Edward claimed to be rightful king of France through his mother, the granddaughter of Louis IX of France, whose brothers had all died without heirs; but the succession had never passed through the female line before, and Philip VI had established himself as king. Though his relationship to Louis IX was more distant his claim was through the male line. Edward had proclaimed himself king in 1340, and had already attempted, unsuccessfully, to invade France. As far as we can tell, he was not aiming to conquer the territory through which he passed, but to demonstrate that his military capacity was superior to that of Philip, and that if the French wanted security from English invasion, they should switch their allegiance to him. He was particularly anxious to challenge Philip to a battle, knowing that his forces might be smaller, but that he had a huge advantage in the English archers, who had never been seen in action on the continent. He intended to march through Normandy and join up with his allies in the north eastern corner of France, and mount a combined attack from there. Whether he intended from the outset to besiege of Calais is very unclear: it was probably an opportunist attack which he undertook after the victory at Crécy once he knew that there was little immediate threat from the French if he began such a siege.
The D-Day invasion, codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’ – an interesting use of a feudal term from Edward’s time – had a much clearer primary aim: to liberate a country which had been recently conquered. The object was to clear the territory of enemy troops and to hold it against counter-attacks, from a foothold to be established on the Normandy coast. Its first targets – Carentan, St Lô, Bayeux and Caen – were all towns taken by Edward in the first days of his campaign. But the aim was to secure all the territory north of a line between Avranches and Falaise in three weeks, and to push forward to Paris in three months. Edward also marched on Paris, but this was not his original intention. He reached Paris because he was unable to cross the Seine as he had planned; it was only when he repaired the bridge at Poissy, now in the Paris suburbs, that he was able to march north to join his allies.
The invasion site
The same problem faced the planners of the D-Day invasion and Edward’s commanders: the obvious place to attack, with the shortest sea routes and a potentially excellent harbour was across the straits of Dover. However, in both cases, the enemy anticipated that this would be the chosen route, and the coast was heavily defended. The French coast offers very little in the way of substantial harbours, but this was less of a difficulty for Edward, whose small ships could come close inshore and could be beached to disembark the troops, their horses and the supplies. For this he needed a large sheltered bay.
Edward’s choice of the little harbour of St Vaast-la-Hougue was precisely the same as that of the ‘Utah beach’ landing. What made it highly suitable as his landing place was the shallow sloping beach of firm sand, relatively free from rocks, on which he could beach his ships on a falling tide, unload them and refloat them on the next tide. The process took five days, and he was fortunate in the absence of French troops in any number during this time. This beach was only one element in the D-Day plan, where the certainty of enemy opposition meant that landings had to be on a very broad front and very quickly executed, so the neighbouring beaches of the Baie de la Seine were brought into play, including the much less suitable Omaha beach, with soft sand and exposure to westerly winds.
The D-Day planners had also considered Brittany, the Cherbourg area and the Pas de Calais. Both Brittany and Cherbourg were peninsulas, and a strong defence across a relatively small line would mean that the Allies would have difficulty breaking through; neither were really suitable in terms of port capacity and beaches. The Calais area had been heavily fortified by the Germans, anticipating that an invasion might be attempted there, and was therefore out of the question.
The first issue was to get the fleet safely across the Channel, and to try to conceal the intended target from the enemy. It was impossible to conceal the preparations, but Edward was able to keep any news of the possible landing place from the French by tight control of all travel to and from England, and by taking precautions. He said in a letter to his ministers in London that he was aware of spies in London, and the contents of the letter are very vague. Furthermore, he either decided on the destination at the last minute, or kept it secret from his own commanders, as a letter from his close companion Bartholomew Burghersh the elder, written ten days later, was positive that the king had intended to go to Gascony.
In the run-up to D-Day, the Allies put in place carefully planned disinformation campaigns aimed at concealing the true destination of the assembled troops. One of these used false radio messages to create the idea that the actual target was not France at all but Norway; another used the fact that all German agents in England had been arrested or had come over to the Allied side. The biggest fiction of all was the supposed existence of the ‘First United States Army Group’ in the south-east of England, under the command of General Patton, which would open the campaign with an attack on Calais; even after the invasion had begun, messages were maintained in order to persuade the Germans that a second front at Calais was planned and an attack was imminent.
Gathering troop and supplies
The provisioning and shipping of an expedition was a mammoth task even without the raising of the army itself. There was no standing army in medieval England, and for each new campaign, a new army had to be raised. Edward had a great deal of experience of bringing together an army, but an invasion of the kind that he now had in mind was a novelty. In Scotland in the 1330s he had used tried and trusted methods of recruitment, which harked back to the old duties of defence of the realm which were part of the duties of all who held land by feudal service. In the campaigns in Flanders and Brittany from 1337 to 1342, he had relied heavily on local allies, which had not served him well. He had tried to recruit princes like mercenaries, for pay, and they had failed to deliver when their political interests outweighed the money on offer.
By 1346, Edward had determined to rely exclusively on his own resources. To do this, he had begun to move towards a new system, since the traditional feudal service did not carry the obligation to serve outside England. Edward therefore took a different approach and arguing that he was responding to a threat of invasion by France, raised what was in effect a tax according to income to pay for a hired army. Income of £5 a year meant that a mounted archer had to be sent; twice that, and a hobelar or lightly armed horseman was required. Over £25, a man-at-arms was to be provided and from then on the scale was in proportion to income: a lord with an income of £1000 would provide forty men-at-arms. The cost to the landowners was either that of hiring men to serve, or losing the value of their labour for the duration of the campaign. The men themselves would be paid the king’s wages, and would either be led by their lord or would be attached to another lord’s retinue if their own lord was not serving in person. The king also used commissions of array, the traditional method of raising foot soldiers for royal service. The commissions were sent to the local officials, and requested specific numbers of archers or spearmen.
As to the total strength of the army, we can only estimate this. The best guess from a recent study is that the commissions of array raised a total of 8,000 men, of whom 5,000 were archers. We then have to add to these the great lords and their retinues, which consisted in broad terms of equal numbers of men at arms and knights, and mounted and foot archers. Again, we have to use estimates, and the best guess is 2,800 men at arms and knights, and the same number of archers. If this is correct, we are looking at a total of 13,600 men who boarded ship at Portsmouth. The driving force behind this army were the retinues raised by the king himself, his great magnates and the lesser barons and bannerets. It was around these retinues that the three divisions of the army were arranged, and they were in effect the building blocks of the force.
An even more formidable bureaucratic effort had been in process to purchase the necessary provisions and cart them to Portsmouth. Relatively little was held in the royal depots such as the Tower of London, and although many of those recruited for the army came with their own weapons and all the mounted men had their own horses, a great deal of material had to be specially purchased, such as the equipment for the army’s engineers, and even coracles for the king’s fishermen. Huge numbers of bows and arrows were needed, and these had to be manufactured to order. Although we lack any secure idea of what sort of total number was involved, one suggestion is that at the rate of 70 per man, half a million arrows weighing four ounces each would be the kind of quantity involved, and that they would weigh 55 tons, which in turn required fifty to sixty carts to carry them – and the carts also had to be shipped from England. At the end of the day the archers in the field would be permanently reliant on being able to retrieve spent shafts, and on a regular further supply of arrows made en route. Similarly, guns, which had only been used experimentally in Scotland before, had to be made. Instructions were sent to the head of the Tower in 1345 to supply a hundred ‘ribalds’, small multi-barrelled guns firing lead shot. These were experimental weapons at the cutting edge of a new technology: even so, Edward seems to have had some ‘guns’, i.e. cannons, and as much as 2000 lbs of gunpowder, a substantial amount.
Alongside the archers and the handful of gunners there were forty carpenters, the engineers of the army, led by William of Winchelsea. Although there is no surviving record of what materials were supplied for their use, in Brittany three years earlier, enough timber for three complete bridges had been shipped, the medieval equivalent of the Bailey Bridge of the second world war. The engineers played a vital role in the progress of the army when they succeeded in repairing the bridge at Poissy. The gap was sixty feet, and they threw a single beam, a foot wide, across it, from which they built up a roadway strong enough for the army to cross.
Another vital element in the army’s composition does not appear separately in the accounts. A huge number of carts must have been needed to convey the stores overland once the army reached Normandy. Quite apart from the fifty or sixty carts carrying bows and arrows, there were the vital provisions which the army needed to supplement what it could find by foraging, and the cooking equipment with which to feed the troops. A medieval army on the march did not consist of serried ranks of horsemen and footsoldiers marching in tight formation: it was more like a huge straggling merchant caravanserai. It included live beasts and birds who were slaughtered for food en route. Feeding the army was probably the greatest concern after the levying of the troops. The operation to provision the forces on this campaign was huge, on an unprecedented scale, because once the army was on French soil, opportunities for sending further provisions would depend on the weather and the whereabouts of the king and his men, and would therefore be highly unreliable. In effect, an English force fighting in France had to take as large a supply as it could, because the availability of local provisions was uncertain in the extreme. Foraging was a constant preoccupation, but deliberate burning of crops and slaughter of cattle by the defenders was a recognised technique for starving out a raiding force and ensuring that it would not remain in the area for long.
Recruitment and supplies offer the strongest contrast between 1346 and 1944. At D-Day, there were highly organised supply chains and an army which had been at war for the previous five years. The huge operation of raising forces from scratch and levying provisions for one particular campaign throughout the country which Edward had to undertake was not required. However, huge numbers of troops had to be moved, particularly Americans – one and a half million American troops were brought into England between 1942 and 1944. And the landing craft needed for the operation had to be manufactured in large quantities. More specialised equipment specific to beach landings and the lack of port facilities was also designed and made: the artificial ‘Mulberry harbours’ and the ‘Pluto’ fuel line under the Channel. And existing tanks had to be modified to deal with the likely fighting conditions.
Assembling Edward’s fleet was an elaborate operation, because there was no royal navy.The king owned a number of ships, but they were not organised in any way. Indeed there were only twenty-five royal vessels in the entire fleet that gathered at Portsmouth. The bulk of the fleet was therefore created by summoning ordinary trading and fishing vessels from the ports around the country, to serve at the king’s wages. The total for the 1346 flotilla was over a thousand ships, the largest seen in England before the sixteenth century. All this was organised by the admiralty, a highly efficient government department whose task it was to gather this enormous quantity of shipping. There were usually two admirals, and the country was divided into the admiralty of the north and the admiralty of the west; the dividing line was Dover, so the admiral of the north was in effect in charge of the ports on the east coast, and the admiral of the west covered everything from London round to Cornwall. The admirals had overall responsibility for the operation: their lieutenants oversaw a substantial staff devoted to the task of organising the requisition of ships, and the coast was subdivided into smaller sections for this purpose. Officials would be sent to individual ports to ‘arrest’ ships for the king’s service, and to contract the shipmaster to be at Portsmouth at the agreed time. However, contracting for a ship to be at Portsmouth was one thing; getting it there, particularly from the admiralty of the north, was another matter. The prevailing westerly winds meant that the voyage from major ports north of Dover through the straits of Dover was likely to be much slower than a voyage from the south-western ports, and distances were greater.
In the event, despite generally excellent organisation, there was the inevitable delay in assembling the ships. The summons for the fleet was issued rather hopefully for the end of February, and then postponed to the end of March. The equinoctial gales, usual at that time of year, again forced a delay, and it was the end of April before the first ships began to appear in the Solent. Once they arrived at Portsmouth, they were under the admiral’s command, and they were provisioned and allocated a mooring, while they waited for the rest of the fleet to assemble. The process of gathering the ships was as usual a long affair; the king would have known that the earliest that he could expect to sail would be in April, in time for a spring campaign. In the event, it was the end of June before the ships were ready.
All the troops brought their own weapons, armour and personal equipment, but the men at arms and knights also brought horses; many knights would have two or more horses, so the total was probably well over 5,000 for these two elements of the army. We have to add another 3,000 or so for mounted archers, so something in the region of 10,000 horses would have needed transport. Shipping horses presented a huge number of problems, from getting them on board ship to making sure that they were rested after the voyage and in good condition for the arduous life of the campaign. The ships which had been collected were similar in type, usually about eighty feet long, but each would have to be adapted individually for transporting horses. The hold was divided into stalls by hurdles, and thousands of these were ordered as part of the supplies, as well as feed racks, and barrels of water. It seems that relatively small ships were used: we have detailed specifications for the building of horse-transports used in the kingdom of Sicily in the late thirteenth century, which carried thirty horses each in specially constructed stalls.
Moving horses by sea was a skilled and specialist operation, commensurate with the value of the horses, and the vital role they played in the expedition.Obviously the adaptation of existing ships was a less satisfactory method, but the Channel crossing was usually quite rapid. When in 1344 Reginald Cobham raised a fleet for an expedition to Brittany, the smaller ships were specifically reserved for horse-transport. In similar circumstances in 1303, the number of horses ranged from 10 to 32 per ship; if we allow twenty horses on average per ship, this would mean that there were 500 boats to be loaded and unloaded, an immensely slow process even when each of the great warhorses might have its own groom. Methods of loading were cumbersome: each horse had to be led up a gangplank, either over the full height of the side of the boat or through a loading door specially cut in the stern, which would then be sealed for the voyage. Sometimes the horses had to be put in a sling and winched aboard on a crane. Once the horse was on board, it would have to be manoeuvred in a confined space into its stall.
Fortunately, the voyage in 1346 was relatively brief, though even the horses were on board for a week or more from loading to unloading. Often horses had to be rested for several days before the army could begin its march: when Richard I landed in Cyprus in 1190, ‘the horses were walked about, because they were all stiff and lame and dazed after being at a sea for a month, standing the whole time, unable to lie down. The next day, without giving them any more rest than they had had (although they deserved more), the king … mounted’.
Edward’s fleet had no need of defence against attacks by the enemy, as the French channel fleet would not have been able to find them before they landed, as the news would only have reached them well after that time. The D-Day fleet, by contrast, needed roughly one warship for every five other ships, the bulk of which were about 4000 relatively unseaworthy landing craft. Two thirds of the fleet was either British or Canadian, and they had been gathering over a period of a little more than a week, as the number of men to be carried made it difficult to keep them on board for any length of time.
Troops were disembarked on the beaches using landing craft, which had been developed during the First World War. They were relatively unseaworthy, but in calm weather the larger types were capable of crossing the Channel under their own power. These were mostly used on the easterly beaches, and the assault on Utah Beach seems to have used the smaller type which took the troops from the ships lying offshore to land. The larger craft were 120 feet in length, and the smaller ones around eighty feet, not dissimilar from the average size of ship in Edward’s fleet.
Weather was critical in both invasions. Edward had no real weather forecasts, other than visual observation of the local conditions, and the general knowledge of the prevailing winds. Indeed, by assembling his fleet off the Isle of Wight, Edward reduced the likelihood of a landing near Calais, and the possible destinations were effectively Brittany or the Cherbourg peninsula, because of the limited capability of the ships. Medieval ships could not sail to windward, that is, into the prevailing wind. If the wind was south-westerly, the prevailing wind direction in the English Channel in June, they can head north-west, through north and east, to southeast. Their range, so to speak, is only 180˚ or half of the compass. By contrast, a modern yacht, under the same conditions, can head within 30 degrees of the wind direction and use 300˚, five-sixths of the compass, from south of west through north, east and south to west of south. So expeditions for Gascony left from Plymouth, in the hope of catching at least a north-westerly wind; even so they would need a wind in the east to clear the Breton peninsula. To get to Brittany from Portsmouth a westerly or northwesterly was needed, and Normandy could just about be reached in a westerly. Anything from the north or east made these journeys easy, but these are not the usual Channel winds in summer. Because the timing of the crossing was so uncertain, tides could only be used to certain advantage at the outset of the voyage: going to Normandy from the Solent, to get as far to windward as possible. This would mean leaving at the beginning of the ebb for a west wind, the beginning of the flood for an east wind, since the tides flood towards Dover and ebb away from it.
In 1944, weather forecasting was more advanced, but delays such as the six weeks Edward spent waiting would have meant the detection of the fleet, and severe difficulties in keeping it in place. There was a limited window of opportunity, and once the ships were in place, the operation had to move forward quickly. The initial date chosen was June 5, but the previous day it was clear that the weather was too adverse, with stormy winds preventing landing, and cloud obscuring the full moon which was needed for safe beaching of the landing craft and for the supporting air cover. Fortunately, the weather forecasters saw an opportunity the following day; the Germans, without access to information coming from the Atlantic to the Allied forecasters, believed that there would be two weeks of storms, and had to an extent stood down their troops. Rommel, in overall command, had actually left for Berlin.
Edward, with fewer problems about the actual landing, simply had to wait for the right wind. It was a long wait, given that the fleet had started to gather at the end of April. It was not until July 5 that the ships were ready to sail. That day they got as far as the Needles, off the western end of the isle of Wight, but contrary winds made it impossible to proceed further, and the king ordered the ships back to Portsmouth. The weather changed for the better by July 10, and on July 11 the expedition set sail for Normandy. The crossing was very swift, and in the morning of July 12 the ships moored in the anchorage of the Grande Rade off St Vaast-la-Hougue close to Cherbourg itself, the place in the Baie which offered the best shelter .
What is less easy to see is how Edward’s disparate mass of men was organised, both on the march and on the battlefield. There were three divisions in the army, and it seems that these may have been used as an organisational scheme from the start of the journey. The problem was that there was no clear chain of command. At one extreme, men from the towns were under the command of a relatively humble leader, whose authority was probably not very strong; at the other extreme, there were the battle-hardened and reliable men at the heart of the noblemen’s retinues. How all these were welded into an effective fighting force is also something we know almost nothing about. Nonetheless, on landing in France
‘. . . the English king appointed the earl of Northampton constable, and the earl of Warwick marshal of the army, to check the rashness of the troops. Then they divided the army into three divisions: the vanguard under the prince of Wales, the centre under the king, and the rearguard under the bishop of Durham.’
The author goes on to name the leaders of retinues who ‘raised their banners’ in each division, so we have a picture of three separate bodies of men with the banners as visual rallying points and rendezvous for the members of the retinues within each division.
On Edward’s arrival off the Norman coast on July 12 the length of time it took to unload the ships seems to have been determined by the sheer amount of material that was involved. The day by day diaries of the clerks of the army all agree that five nights were spent at La Hogue, which would mean that around 200 ships were unloaded each day. It is unlikely that they were all taken into the small harbour at St Vaast-la-Hogue for the purpose, which even today is about 500 metres by 200 metres overall. In the medieval period there would probably have been little more than a small jetty, to allow four or five ships at most to moor alongside. The shallowness of the bays to the north and south of St Vaast, protected from the westerly wind which had probably brought the fleet across, meant that a good number of ships could be moored so that they dried out at low tide. High water was at about 11 a.m. on July 12, and the first ships would have been moored inshore at that point, and unloaded in the afternoon. The same pattern would apply to the following days, with the time of high tide moving on by about an hour a day. The tidal range is on average around five metres, and the beach is largely firm sand with smooth rocks. Unloading could then have been done across the beach, with plenty of space to work on a number of ships at the same time. The selection of this landing place, ideal for a large fleet, points to good local knowledge, and thus almost certainly to the advice of Godfrey d’Harcourt and his companions, since the Harcourt lands lay only a short distance away: his base was the great castle at St Sauveur-le-Vicomte. The English fleet came into the bay early in the morning, at low water, and the leaders of the army only disembarked when the tide was nearly high, at noon.
The D-Day landings took place across a much wider front involving almost the whole of the Baie de la Seine. A much higher level of local knowledge was needed, and this was obtained by daring reconnaissance raids combined with aerial reconnaissance flights. Vital information such as the fact that the sand on Omaha beach would be very difficult for tanks to cross could only be obtained by landing small parties to survey the area. The northernmost beach, codenamed Utah, corresponded to Edward’s landing place. Before the troops landed, there had been intense naval and aerial activity, for which there was obviously no equivalent in 1346. At Utah beach, the 4th Infantry Division landed successfully, but the landing craft – which were relatively primitive craft – were taken a mile south of their target by the strong current which sweeps along the coast in the Baie. They met little resistance on the beach itself, and one gun emplacement on a nearby headland was quickly disabled. They had also landed out of range of a battery to the north, and other defences had been largely destroyed by bombing raids. The situation was so favourable that further landings were diverted from the original area, and by the end of the day 21,000 troops had landed with less than 200 casualties, far better than the results anywhere else.
Engagement with the enemy
Edward’s expedition achieved its first objective: complete surprise. It was only at the end of June that the French government in Paris had realised what the destination of the English force was likely to be. Preparations for raising a fleet to challenge any sea-borne invasion had been made as early as March, but this relied on hiring galleys from Genoa, which had to make the long Atlantic sea voyage to reach the channel: in early July they had got only as far as Lisbon, and there was no French force at sea because the local shipping (including seventy-eight galleys built in Normandy) was to be under the command of the absent Genoese. Although the French should have been able to deduce that the only likely objectives were Brittany or Normandy, because the fleet had assembled at Portsmouth,no real provision had been made for the defence of the north. This was because the French had their attention focussed elsewhere because of English armies in action; in Brittany, Thomas Dagworth had defeated the troops of Charles of Blois on 9 June, and in south west France Henry of Grosmont was harassing the French besiegers of the great fortress at Aiguillon on the river Lot. As soon as it became apparent that the English fleet was ready to move, the constable of France, Raoul count of Eu, was ordered to return from the army in the south west to take command of Harfleur, the port on the mouth of the Seine. The garrisons along the coast to the north of Harfleur were reinforced; from all this, it is clear that the French believed that the landing would take place in the Seine estuary. The Cherbourg peninsula, over a hundred miles away, was only defended by local militias and a few mercenaries. At St Vaast itself, the only troops in the neighbourhood, five hundred Genoese crossbowmen, had withdrawn because they had not been paid. A handful of local men attempted to ambush Thomas Beauchamp and his party, but were quickly driven off. Robert Bertrand, one of the two marshals of France, who had summoned the militia to resist the English landing, withdrew once he saw the overwhelming size of the English force.
Edward was thus able, as his clerk Michael Northburgh reported later in the month, ‘to disembark the horses, to rest himself and his men and to bake bread until the following Tuesday’. Raids were carried out on nearby towns and villages on the first night after landing, after which Edward issued his proclamation that the inhabitants of his new kingdom were not to be harmed, unless they resisted him. However, this did not prevent further raids across the peninsula, and an attack on the port of Barfleur, which was burnt: this was a legitimate target, as the port contained ‘seven curiously fitted-out warships’. Destruction of shipping along the coast, to prevent it being used in naval operations, was a regular feature of operations while the army was within reach of the sea.
German response to the D-Day invasion was much swifter, and there were German armoured divisions along the coast. The landing at Utah encountered the least resistance, while that at Omaha was quickly engaged by a Panzer division. The beach obstacles at Utah had partly been swept away by strong currents. It took six days for the Allied landing groups to join up because of German resistance. In this respect, D-Day was very different from Edward’s experience, and the absence of French forces in the area in 1346 is underlined by the experience of the two armies at Caen. Caen was besieged on both occasions: Edward was able to take it in two days, though the citadel held out successfully until his departure. In 1944, the siege was long and highly destructive, and lasted for five weeks. Edward did not engage seriously with French forces until the battle of Crécy; it was only at the end of August that the French army was able to assemble at Amiens. Before that, he had faced nothing more than local militias and the retinues of local knights.
There are striking parallels between the invasions of 1346 and 1944. This is mostly due to the geography of the Channel coast of France; the considerations – landing large numbers of troops in a hostile country, where no base had yet been established – meant that the same destination was chosen. From that, the further parallels follow. But it is clear that the D-Day command was conscious of following in Edward’s footsteps. The area around Utah beach was code-named ‘Black Prince’, a salute to the success of their forebears six centuries earlier.
Richard Barber has had a huge influence on the study of medieval history and literature, both as a writer and as a publisher. His books include The Knight and Chivalry (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Edward Prince of Wales and Aquitaine and The Holy Grail: The History of a Legend. He is currently Honorary Visiting Professor in the department of history at York University.
His CVHF talk ‘ EDWARD III AND THE TRIUMPH OF ENGLAND’ is on 26th June 2014