Dr Craig Stockings

Margaret George Award 2007

Topic: A groundbreaking investigation into the Battle of Bardia in World War II
Dr Stockings presented his findings at a public lecture at the National Archives in Canberra.

Biographical note

Dr Craig Stockings is Lecturer in History and Strategic Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy. He currently teaches first-year undergraduate courses in world and 20th century history.

Dr Stockings was born in Sydney in 1974 and graduated from the ADFA with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History and Politics in 1995. After graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1996, he was commissioned as an infantry officer and posted to the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. While at this unit he was operationally deployed to East Timor as part of the INTERFET force in 1999–2000.

He holds a Grad Dip Ed (Monash), a MEd (Deakin), a MA (International Relations) (Deakin) and a PhD in History (UNSW). His areas of academic and research interest concern Australian military history in general, and operational analysis in particular. He has recently published a history of the army cadet movement in Australia from 1866–2006, The Torch and the Sword (UNSW Press).

Outcome

Dr Craig Stockings, Lecturer in History and Strategic Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, used his 2007 Margaret George Award to undertake a groundbreaking investigation into the neglected Battle of Bardia in World War II.

Using records in the National Archives collection, along with other sources, Dr Stockings worked to provide a balanced, analytical account of the battle, which was the first engagement of the 2nd AIF. The project considered the battle from Australian, British and Italian perspectives.

Dr Stockings’ research provided a battle history that has a double benefit for Australians. On one hand he conducted an investigation into the important but largely neglected Battle of Bardia on the Libyan coast. On top of that, Dr Stockings looked beyond Anzac mythology to uncover why the Australian troops were so successful. He sought the real factors behind Allied victory and Italian defeat – taking it beyond popular and romantic misconceptions.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017