Master’s graduate wins prestigious award for Naval History dissertation

University of Portsmouth, MA Naval History graduate, Peter Garland has won the British Commission for Maritime History’s Master's Dissertation Prize for his dissertation, The Ionosphere: Undermining Britain’s Imperial Power - Wireless and Its Impact on Geopolitics and Naval Operations 1919-45.

The Master’s Dissertation Prize is an annual award  given to an outstanding dissertation on maritime history. Peter’s winning research  was praised for bringing together the technological, operational and political factors that contributed to the Royal Navy failing to establish a lead in wireless communications. Peter’s work balanced the factors and presented a trajectory that should simulate further research.

As a mature student who did not have an undergraduate degree in History before starting with us as a distance learner, this is an incredible achievement for Peter, and we are delighted to see his success recognised with this prestigious award.

Dr Matthew Heaslip, Lecturer in Naval History

Peter’s career in communications started when he became an apprentice at a short wave wireless transmitting station aged sixteen. In 1980 Peter moved to Canada where he worked on satellite communications for more than three decades, before beginning his postgraduate studies at the University of Portsmouth in 2019. Peter was also awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) award for achievement in Aerospace Communications in 2014.

“I will always be grateful for the opportunity that the University of Portsmouth gave me to complete my Masters in this subject area.” Peter Garland said. “I believe that my working experience and interest in naval history came together in a way that gave me the ability to contribute to this field of study.”

Peter is now a PhD student at the University of Carleton in Canada, where his doctoral research will take a wider view and deeper dive into the history of wireless communications and the impacts of communications technology on geopolitics and society.

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