Dr Alex  Mayhew

Dr Alex Mayhew

Assistant Professor

Department of International History

Room No
Connect with me

Key Expertise
First World War; Military History; Cultural History.

About me

Alex is a historian of modern warfare and is particularly interested in the ways in which individuals navigate crises – the First World War providing an excellent case study of this. His work has explored soldiers’ morale, their sensemaking and psychologies, as well as their relationship with society and the environment. This is the topic of his first book, Making Sense of the Great War, and has informed much of his work to date.  

His early contributions to the field meant that the International Society for First World War Studies chose him to deliver their second annual Denis Showalter Memorial Lecture for an Emerging Scholar. His next project will investigate individuals’ perceptions of the past and of history in the Great War. 
Between 2014 and 2018, Alex undertook his doctorate at the LSE after graduating from King’s College London in 2013 with the top first in modern history. At the LSE, he held an LSE PhD scholarship with his PhD being awarded a further international prize by the Historial de la Grande Guerre, France, in 2017. During this time, he also taught in the Department of International History and on LSE100.  
After completing his doctorate in 2018, he worked as an LSE Fellow for LSE100, helping to redesign the programme entirely in 2020-21. Following this, he spent a year working as a Learning Developer in LSE LIFE. In 2022, he moved to the University of Birmingham as an Assistant Professor in the Social and Cultural History of the First World War. At Birmingham he convened (and helped to design) their innovative MA in First World War Studies, which was taught at the National Army Museum. He returned to the Department of International History in September 2023.  
Beyond the LSE, Alex is an external examiner on the MA (Distance Learning) in War Studies at King’s College London and has worked as an educational consultant, helping organisations develop courses on topics such as historical and academic skills, educational development, and sustainability. At present, he is a historical consultant for BBC Bitesize and works with secondary educators through the PTI (formerly the Prince’s Trust). 

Expertise Details

First World War; Modern Warfare; Morale; Crisis; Identity; Modern Britain

News and Media

  1. Who Do You Think You Are, BBC Television, 20 July 2023 

    Alex was an expert on series 20 of the BBC’s flagship family history programme where he helped comedian Chris Ramsey uncover his great-grandfather’s experiences on the Western Front during the First World War.   

  1. Morale in the BEF on the Western Front, 1917-1918, Combat Morale Podcast, Season 2 Ep. 3, 29 June 2023 

    Alex talks about his research into the morale of the British soldier in the final 18 months of the Great War. He and the host talk about their respective perspectives on morale and motivation of the British soldier in the last two years of the war. They consider the respective importance of hope, small group cohesion, social norms, junior leadership, and ideology. 

  1. The State of Great War Scholarship, Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, Ep. 300, 15 May 2023 with Prof. John Bourne and Prof. Jonathan Boff

    Alex joins Prof. John Bourne and Prof. Jonathan Boff (both of the University of Birmingham) to discuss the current state of academic research on the First World War.  

  1. Invited Speaker, ‘WW1 and WW2 through a different lens’, CPD Subject Day, The PTI, 17 March 2023 

    Alex was invited to contribute to a PTI subject day. He ran a lecture and workshop in which he and a group of secondary school teachers considered how to teach the history of the First World War in new and exciting ways.  

  1. Invited Speaker, ‘Love and War’, In Conversation with JC Niala, PoliNations Festival, Birmingham, 4 September 2022

    Alex took part in a lunchtime talk hosted by Claire Ratinon at PoliNations Festival, Birmingham. Alongside JC Niala he discussed how people draw closer to nations in times of crisis, be they pandemics or war.   

  1. Morale in the British Army during 1917 and 1918, Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, ep. 267, 8 August 2022

    Alex talked about his research into the morale of the British soldier in the final 18 months of the Great War.  

  1. Invited Speaker, Fig.studio presents - JC Niala: 1918 Allotment, TORCH Oxford and Art Council England, Oxford, 19 March 2022

    This event marked the launch of JC Niala’s book of poetry entitled ‘Portal: 1918 Allotment’ which comprised poetic, photographic and narrative domentation of her project recreating a 1918 style allotment in Oxford. As one of the speakers at the event, Alex explored allotments, vegetable shows, and coping during the Great War.   

  1. ‘A Noisy Noise Annoys an Oyster’, Podcast from the Past, Season 4 ep. 22, 26 January 2022

    Alex and fellow historian Karen Averby joined Tom Jackson to discuss the postcards from their pasts. We meet the Brummies of North Devon, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez at the Albert Hall, Mr George next door, and look for a better picture of ruins. Taking a closer look at the postcards of the First World War and seaside Grand Hotels, our guests share cards from their collections.   

  1. ‘Alex Mayhew on British WW1 Wartime Myths’, Real Time History Podcast, Episode 4, 15 July 2021

    Alex joins the Real Time History Podcast discusses how British ‘myths’ of the First World War formed. Some are fabrications, others are the product of more modern concerns and retrospections, whilst the origin of others can be found in the experience of 1917 in Belgium and France.  

  1. ‘British Army Allotments during the First World War’, The Times and Times Radio, 3 February 2021. 

    Alex’s research into the proliferation of allotments and vegetable shows on the Western Front was covered by The Times’ historical correspondent and Times Radio. 

  1. ‘Making Sense of the Western Front: English Infantrymen’s Morale and Perception of Crisis during the First World War,’ Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, ep. 115, 27 May 2018. 

    Alex joined the Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast to discuss English infantryman’s morale and perception of crisis on the Western Front.  



Accepted / In Press:


In Preparation:

  • ‘The First World War and the Anatomy of Crisis.’ To be published in First World War Studies. 
  • ‘Morale and the Trench Experience’, in N. Lloyd (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Western Front, Cambridge University Press. Estimated publication: 2025.



  • 2022 Dennis Showalter Lecture for an Emerging Scholar, International Society for First World War Studies 

  • 2021 Highly Commended. LSE Excellence in Education Award, Department of International History.  

  • 2021 Shortlisted. LSE Student Led Teaching Awards: Inspirational Teaching & Exceptional Teaching in an Unprecedented Year 

  • 2020 Shortlisted. LSE Student Led Teaching Awards: Sharing Subject Knowledge & Mentoring and Personal Development 

  • 2017 Bourse Gerda Henkel du Centre International de Recherche de l’Historial de la Grande Guerre, France. 

  • 2017 LSE Class Teacher Award 

  • 2014-18 LSE PhD Scholarship 2013 Brewer Prize for Modern History, King’s College London