Peter Doyle

Peter Doyle
London South Bank University | LSBU · Research, Enterprise, Innovation

BSc, PhD, FGS, FRHistS

About

163
Publications
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2,640
Citations
Citations since 2017
19 Research Items
806 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
Introduction
Peter Doyle is a geologist and military historian who specialises in the understanding and interpretation of military terrain, with special reference to the two world wars. He is also an author examining the experience and material culture of war, and is Secretary of the Parliamentary All Party War Heritage Group. He has twice been an invited lecturer in military terrain at the US Military Academy, West Point, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - April 2019
London South Bank University
Position
  • Head of Department

Publications

Publications (163)
Book
In October 1914, Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V, was just seventeen. Yet with the world war barely two months old, the young Princess was destined to make her mark. She would send a Christmas gift to all those serving in uniform, 'afloat and at the front'. Set against the backdrop of the Christmas Truce of 1914, this is the first...
Chapter
Popular memory holds that the volunteer army raised by Lord Kitchener in the opening weeks of the First World War was formed in the wake of a great recruiting campaign; that thousands lined up outside the recruiting offices; and that Kitchener’s Army, as it came to be known, was an army of Pals battalions whose engagement on the Somme in 1916 was t...
Article
In 1940, with the fall of France imminent, Britain prepared secret ‘Auxiliary Units’ tasked with guerrilla activities [Scallywagging] in the invading army’s rear. Patrols of four to eight highly skilled men used below-ground Operational Bases (OBs) in remote locations to avoid detection. No official records are released, but OBs were ‘Mark I’, enla...
Article
The Battle of Messines (Wytschaete Bogen) of June 1917 is hailed as a triumph of military geology, with the simultaneous explosion of some 19 mines leading to the Allied destruction of the German frontline positions. This story is well known and rightly celebrated; but less well understood and often overshadowed by this success is the story of the...
Preprint
In 1940, with the fall of France imminent, Britain prepared for invasion. After Dunkirk, with most armour and transport lost, a defence ‘stop line’ (GHQ Line) was prepared. Local Defence Volunteers (later Home Guard) were raised to buy time for the Home Army to deploy. Secret ‘Auxiliary Units’ were also formed, tasked with ‘Scallywagging’ – guerril...
Chapter
Belemnites are relatively straightforward fossils. The most commonly encountered part is just a small component of the total body mass of the living animal-the form of which was confirmed by examples discovered with soft parts in the 1980s from the German Toarcian Lagerstätte, the Posidonienschiefer (e.g. Reitner and Urlichs 1983). These and other...
Article
Full-text available
Just before WWII, the British government prepared for an aerial onslaught that was predicted to raze cities and cause mass casualties. By 1938, the Air Raid Precautions Act officially stated that population protection would be through dispersal, meaning evacuation and small-scale protection, local authority responsibility often devolving to househo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An important biostratigraphical reference section across the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary is documented from Perisphinctes Ravine, eastern Kuhn Ø, Northeast Greenland. A continuous section extends for some 220m from the Bernbjerg Formation (early Volgian-Ryazanian) up into the Cretaceous Sandy Shales (Valanginian-Hauterivian). The mudstone-dominate...
Chapter
This chapter examines the impact of terrain on the outcome of the Gallipoli landings. The landings of April 25th 1915 were made at Cape Helles and Anzac Cove, with objectives to take the heights and dominate the Dardandelles shore, neutralising the Ottoman defences. Analysis demonstrates that these landing places were disadvantaged by terrain. The...
Preprint
Full-text available
Just before WW2, the British government prepared for an aerial onslaught that was predicted to raze cities and cause mass casualties. By 1938, the Air Raid Precautions Act officially stated that population protection would be through dispersal, meaning evacuation and small-scale protection, local authority responsibility often devolving to househol...
Article
Trench warfare became associated with the First World War from late 1914. Where possible, British and German trenches were laid out by military engineers in line with the most recent military manuals. The effectiveness of individual trenches was to a large extent controlled by the nature of the ground conditions. Engineering geology had a major par...
Poster
Full-text available
The largest escape of German Prisoner of War (PoW) in WW2 was in March 1945 from Camp 198, situated in Bridgend, South Wales, UK. Since camp closure the site has become derelict, and has not been scientifically investigated. This paper reports on the search to locate the PoW escape tunnel that was dug from Hut 9. This hut remains in remarkable cond...
Preprint
Full-text available
The largest escape of German Prisoner of War (PoW) in WW2 was in March 1945 from Camp 198, situated in Bridgend, South Wales, UK. Since camp closure the site has become derelict, and has not been scientifically investigated. This paper reports on the search to locate the PoW escape tunnel that was dug from Hut 9. This hut remains in remarkable cond...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster outlining the role of terrain in the development of trench warfare on the Western Front, 1914-18, and a summary of the results of my book Disputed Earth (2017)
Article
Full-text available
The largest escape of German Prisoner of War (PoW) in WW2 was in March 1945 from Camp 198, situated in Bridgend, South Wales, UK. Since camp closure the site has become derelict, and has not been scientifically investigated. This paper reports on the search to locate the PoW escape tunnel that was dug from Hut 9. This hut remains in remarkable cond...
Article
On 16 July 1969, three men set off for the Moon; just four days later, two of them planted their feet on its surface. Their objectives: to explore the lunar surface, carry out experiments, and gather geological samples for study. Geology was at the very centre of the Moon missions, and recovery of Moon rocks one of the measures of success. The samp...
Chapter
Gallipoli continues to be a cause célèbre for those seeking to assign blame for this ill-fated military campaign fought against the Ottoman Empire from April to December 1915. Variously blamed are weak generals, poor planning and preparation—and even inadequate topographical mapping. Intended to assist the Allied naval fleet in breaking through the...
Chapter
The war between ‘Fritz’ and ‘Tommy’ — respectively German and British soldiers1 — commenced once the British Expeditionary Force, landing in France in early August 1914, took up its pre-determined position in the line in support of the French. From this point on, the armies of both nations would develop their own soldiers’ speech — Soldatensprache...
Chapter
Interest in the Soldatensprache or ‘trench slang’ was evident before the end of the Great War. In Britain, ‘trench slang’ quickly moved from the front to the newspapers in 1914, and later featured in compilations and early dictionaries from 1916 concurrent with the growth of the citizen armies, who adopted a mix of slang derived from India and the...
Article
The First World War started a hundred years ago this year. On 4 August 2014 the United Kingdom marked the anniversary of involvement in this war with a remembrance event at Mons, and over the next four years there will be new museums and exhibitions, services and events, conferences and colloquia world-wide. The aim of this collective recognition o...
Article
Full-text available
The Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, δ18O and δ13C compositions are given for well-preserved specimens of ten belemnite species/genera from three stratigraphic intervals. The data help assess the use of these proxies for palaeo-oceanography. Samples are from Dorset, UK (Pliensbachian; 5 species); Cambridgeshire, UK (Callovian; 1 species); and the Vocontian Basin, SE...
Chapter
Full-text available
Stalag Luft III was a German prisoner of war camp for Allied aviators during World War II. Situated at Zagan, Poland, in what was once eastern Germany, the site is famous for repeated escape attempts, particularly the mass escape of 79 PoWs in March 1944. Though made famous by the 1964 John Sturges film, “The Great Escape,” little attention has foc...
Article
Full-text available
The success of military mining is inherently controlled by subsurface conditions. Military mining may be offensive (i.e. intended to breach enemy fortifications at the ground surface by explosive detonation), defensive (counter-mining to destroy enemy mine galleries) or passive (to provide troops with underground protection from bombardment). The g...
Chapter
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Chapter
Full-text available
To many people, knowledge of "The Great Escape", in which 76 officers of the Allied air forces attempted to escape from a Nazi prisoner of war (POW) camp during the Second World War, is derived from the 1963 John Sturges Hollywood blockbuster of the same name. Sturges film (starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough) was in turn...
Conference Paper
From September 7, 1940, when the first force of German bombers attacked the docks and the East End, until March 27, 1945 when the last V2 rocket landed in Stepney, London was an area of conflict; effectively a battlefield. Despite the fact that the majority of buildings in the city suffered damage that ranged from broken windows to complete obliter...
Article
In 1953, R. G. Carruthers, a respected geologist, published a private scientific pamphlet which challenged the established view of British Quaternary stratigraphy. Carruthers had no other route but private publication. Why was this, and what was the foundation for his ideas? We explore Carruthers' theory in the light of current knowledge and consid...
Article
Limestone pavement is a unique part of Britain's physical landscape. Along with other forms of naturally weathered rock, it is under threat from exploitation for the horticultural market. Valued for its delicate and sculptured form, limestone pavement has been frequently used as decorative stone in rockeries and other landscaped ground. If this uni...
Article
Full-text available
Crystal Palace Park in the London Borough of Bromley is a masterpiece of park design by the visionary Sir Joseph Paxton. Created to house the iron and glass ‘Crystal Palace’ (the temporary structure built for the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park), the park was developed on a series of themed terraces, with the palace itself at the top of Sydenham...
Article
Full-text available
Mass accumulations of belemnite rostra (‘belemnite battlefields’) are common in Mesozoic sediments, and accumulations of belemnoids are also known from older rocks. Many Recent teuthid species suffer mortality immediately after spawning, and some authors have suggested that belemnite accumulations record a similar phenomenon. Conversely, it is clea...
Article
The Tabernas Basin in southeast Spain is a Neogene intermontane basin which filled with sub-aerial and submarine fan conglomerates grading into turbidite sandstones towards the basin centre. The basin history involved the development of Seravallian-Tortonian subaerial fans which coalesced southwards from the basin margin. Increasing water depth in...
Article
Stalag Luft III, situated in Zagan, Poland (formerly eastern Germany), was the site of a World War II Allied aviator prisoner of war (POW) camp famous for repeat escape attempts—notably the mass escape of 76 POWs in March 1944, shown in the 1963 film “The Great Escape.” The site has had little attention to date because it was within restricted mili...
Article
We test the hypothesis that the noise in belemnite records through time results from changing climate. We do so by comparing palaeo-proxies (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Na/Ca, δ18O, δ13C) in two species of Toarcian belemnites, Acrocoelites (Odontobelus) vulgaris (14 specimens) and Acrocoelites (Acrocoelites) subtenuis (10 specimens), deposited in a period of tim...
Article
Traditionally, the Cretaceous has been considered as a long period of global warmth, a ‘greenhouse’ world. This view has been challenged in recent years by several lines of evidence; palaeobotany, stable isotopes, and palaeoclimatic modelling in particular. However, although these data demonstrate that cooling is likely, the only first-hand evidenc...
Conference Paper
Documentation of historic buildings and battlefield sites is often understood as mapping and seen as an end in itself, the products of which are 2D drawings. While this is certainly one goal for the involvement of the Historical Resources Imaging Lab at Pointe du Hoc it would be misleading to let it rest there. Documentation of existing physical co...
Article
Full-text available
Gettysburg – the most costly of all battles of the American Civil War, and one of the most significant battles ever fought. Contested in rural Pennsylvania, the Battle of Gettysburg took place after a chance encounter by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (General Robert E. Lee) with the Union Army of the Potomac (Major-General George Meade)...
Article
Beecham Dugout is situated on the lower slopes of the Passchendaele Ridge, to the north-east of the Belgian town of Ypres (Ieper). Fears over the stability of the structure created the need for emergency archaeological investigations. The dugout is shallow (2 m deep) and was constructed in a basic 'T' shape, with accommodation for 66 men and four o...
Article
Full-text available
Organic-rich sediments were deposited in the deeper sectors of the Neuquén Basin during the latest Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous. This paper presents the results of a detailed examination of these deposits in the northern-most extension of the basin, in the Mendoza Province, and explores their wider significance for palaeo-oxygenation studies....
Article
Full-text available
The Belemnotheutina is a monophyletic group of mostly late Jurassic belemnites that possess largely plesiomorphic characters of ten subequal arms with hooks, a simple, conical, rostrum, a narrow breviconic phragmocone and a spatulate pro-ostracum. Although some of the best-preserved belemnites with soft parts have been described from this group, un...
Article
Previous studies on the stable isotope geochemistry of dimitobelid belemnites from Antarctica and Australia indicated cool climatic conditions during the early Albian in the shelf seas around the Gondwanan margin. In this paper new analyses from diagenetically unaltered specimens of Dimitobelus cf. stimulus from early Albian deposits of the Rio May...
Chapter
In its broadest sense, environmental geology may be defined as the interaction of humans with their environment. Around 50% of the Earth's population live in urban centers, places that cover just 1% of the Earth's surface. The development of these centers, and the increased level of industrialization are putting severe strains on the natural enviro...
Article
Pohlsepia mazonensis gen. et sp. nov. from the Mazon Creek Konservat Lagersta¨tte (Carboniferous) of Illinois is an exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil coleoid, with well-defined body and arms. Lacking an internal shell and possessing eight subequal and two modified arms, Pohlsepia can be compared with both the living cirrate octopods and th...
Article
Full-text available
Martin Simpson was curator of the Whitby Museum in the mid- to late-19th century and was influential in systematically collecting and describing the fossils of the North Yorkshire Lower Jurassic (Lias), exposed in mostly excellent coastal sections still accessible today. His species were published in a range of publications between 1843-1884, but,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Stalag Luft III was a German POW camp for Allied aviators during WW II. Situated at Zagan, Poland, in what was once eastern Germany, the site is famous for repeated escape attempts, particularly the mass escape of 79 POWs in March 1944. Although made famous by the film, ‘The Great Escape,’ little attention has focused on the site. Three tunnels wer...
Article
Full-text available
Military mining is an ancient procedure that has often been used in the reduction of fortresses during siege warfare. During the First World War (1914-1918), the Western Front that crossed western Europe was effectively a linear fortress. Military mining was employed by all protagonists and involved the construction of dugouts - underground shelter...
Article
An analysis of consecutive trench maps for the Messines Ridge in Belgium, from 1915–1918, was carried out as a pilot study to examine the role of GIS as a historical tool for considering military operations. The project involved digitising original trench maps held at the Public Record Office, London, and comprised three components: a time-series a...
Chapter
According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, terrain is defined as a ‘tract of land as regarded by the physical geographer or the military tactician’. Military considerations are therefore at heart of any definition or exploration of terrain &it is therefore unsurprising that most of the methods of terrain evaluation are born from military n...
Chapter
The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 was one of the most strategically significant theatres during the Great War of 1914–1918. A land system analysis of the Gallipoli Peninsula was carried out, and five land systems, based on aspects of geology, geomorphology, hydrogeology and vegetation, were identified. The landings of 25th April 1915 were made at Cape...
Book
Terrain has a profound effect upon the strategy and tactics of any military engagement and has consequently played an important role in determining history. In addition, the landscapes of battle, and the geology which underlies them, has helped shape the cultural iconography of battle certainly within the 20th century. In the last few years this ha...
Article
Full-text available
The Beecham dugout is situated close to the crest of the Passchendaele Ridge to the east of the Belgian town of Ypres (Ieper). Fears over the stability of the excavation, which was discovered by accident, created an opportunity for emergency archaeological and geological investigations. This provided a unique opportunity to examine the geological c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Belemnite battlefields are accumulations of belemnite rostra forming distinct shell beds in the fossil record. Although often dismissed as the product of time-averaging, recent studies suggest primary inputs to such accumulates from mass-mortality, or the action of predators. Bed 13 of the Peterborough Member, Oxford Clay Formation (Jasoni Zone, Ca...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: The Lower Cretaceous marine sediments of the Neuquén Basin (west-central Argentina) show very well preseived cyclic successions. The upper member of the Agrio Formation (Hauterivian - Barremian) is composed of severa1 siliciclastic facies (dark grey shales, heterolithic couplets, silty sandstones, massive sandstones, medium-scale ripple-b...
Article
Liassic ammonites from the Nong Son basin are rare, and little diversified. The fossil record is restricted to two fossiliferous beds. The ammonites display original features with the genera Ectocentrites (E. dommerguesi nov. sp. et E. kherucensis nov. sp.) et Tongdzuyites nov. gen. (T. nongsonensis nov. sp.). These new ammonites are with difficult...
Article
The Late Miocene Sorbas Member of the Sorbas Basin, Almería Province, southeast Spain contains an extensive avian ichnofauna preserved in lagoonal marls. Three distinctive avian ichnotaxa can be identified: Antarctichnusfuenzalidae Covacevich and Lamperein, 1970; Iranipedamillumi n. ichnosp.; and Roepichnusgrahami n. ichnogen, n. ichnosp. In common...
Article
Full-text available
The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 was one of the most strategically significant theatres during the Great War of 1914-1918. The land campaign followed the failure of the naval expedition which was intended to force the Dardanelles by sea power alone, silencing the Turkish forts on the narrows and forcing entry to the Sea of Marmara and ultimately to C...
Chapter
Belemnites are nekto-pelagic cephalopods which developed a widespread pattern of distribution in the Jurassic, and most authors have accepted that their centre of origin was Europe. Available data suggest that the belemnites developed a global distribution only in the Toarcian, some 15 Ma after their first appearance in the European Hettangian. Dev...

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