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Sir Hew Strachan
Born 1 September 1949(1949-09-01) (age 73)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Military historian, author
Spouse(s) Pamela Symes

Sir Hew Francis Anthony Strachan, DL, FRSE, FRHistS (born 1 September 1949 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish military historian, well known for his work on the administration of the British Army and the history of the First World War. He is a brigadier and member of council of the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers).

As a merchant seaman for three months in 1968, Strachan worked his passage around the world on Ben Line Steamers Ltd. In 1973, he worked as a member of a Sudan antiquities survey. He was educated at Rugby School, then Corpus Christi College, Cambridge with a B.A., 1971 and M.A. 1975. He was elected a research fellow of the college 1975, and after a one year stint as senior lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1978/79 he returned to the college and became admissions tutor and then senior tutor. He has been a life fellow of the college since 1992.

His early work focused on the History of the British Army, and he was awarded the Templer Medal for "From Waterloo to Balaclava" and the Westminster Medal for "The Politics of the British Army". Commissioned by Oxford University Press to write a history of the First World War to replace C.R.M.F Cruttwell's one-volume A History of the Great War, 1914-1918, Strachan completed the first of three volumes, The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms in 2001 to wide acclaim and is acknowledged as one of the world's authorities on the subject. Accompanying the print publication of his one volume survey The First World War (2004) was a multi-part documentary series for television entitled The First World War, with some episodes being titled after the chapters in the written work. This set was also released on DVD by Image Entertainment.

Since 2004 he has been director of the Oxford Programme on the Changing Character of War, and has published a series of important articles on strategy, as well as editing books which have arisen from the project.

Strachan is Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford. He was Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow from 1992 to 2000.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Historical Society. He holds an honorary D.Univ from the University of Paisley. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Tweeddale in 2006. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Panel of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies.[1] In addition, he is on the Chief of the Defence Staff's strategic advisory panel, the UK Defence Academy Advisory Board, and is an advisory fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center at the University of North Texas. He was on the council of the National Army Museum and is currently a trustee of the Imperial War Museum. He is a visiting professor of the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim and in 2009 was the Sir Howard Kippenberger Professor at Victoria University Wellington.

He was married to Catherine Margaret Blackburn and they had two children. He then married Pamela Symes and together they have a son.

Strachan was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to the Ministry of Defence.[2]


  • British Military Uniforms, 1768–1796 (Arms and Armour, 1975)
  • History of the Cambridge University Officers Training Corps (1976) ISBN 0-85936-059-8
  • European Armies and the Conduct of War (London, 1983) ISBN 0-415-07863-6
  • Wellington's Legacy: The Reform of the British Army 1830–54 (Manchester, 1984) ISBN 0-7190-0994-4
  • From Waterloo to Balaclava: Tactics, Technology and the British Army (Cambridge, 1985) ISBN 0-521-30439-3
  • The Politics of the British Army (Oxford, 1997) ISBN 0-19-820670-4
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (ed.) (Oxford, 1998) ISBN 0-19-820614-3
  • The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms (Oxford, 2001) ISBN 0-19-926191-1 (first of an expected three volume history)
  • The First World War: A New Illustrated History (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
  • The First World War (Viking, 2004 ISBN 0-670-03295-6 (single volume survey of the war)
  • The First World War in Africa (Oxford, 2004)
  • German Strategy in the First World War in Wolfgang Elz/Sönke Neitzel: Internationale Beziehungen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, pages 127–144 (2003) ISBN 3-506-70140-1
  • Clausewitz's On War: a Biography (Atlantic Monthly Press 2007) ISBN 0-87113-956-1.
  • with Holger Afflerbach: How Fighting Ends. A History of Surrender. Oxford University Press, Oxford/New York 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-969362-7.


  • Channel 4 DVD: The First World War – The Complete Series ASIN: B0009S2K9C (based on his book)


  • Contemporary Authors Online, 2007
  • Debrett's People of Today, 2007
  • Who's who, 2009

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