The History Boys: Top placings for Churchill essays

Three Tonbridge boys earned prizes and plaudits following a national essay-writing competition on the subject of Sir Winston Churchill.

After entering the Sir Martin Gilbert History Prize earlier this year, Eddie Adams (OH4) came runner-up in the Year 11 category, while Hector Money (HS5) and Tom Pitts-Tucker (CH5) both gained a top ten finish in the Year 12 section.

The competition, run in honour of Sir Martin, the renowned late historian and biographer, invited students from across the country to give their assessment of an aspect of Churchill’s life.

Those taking part had to do their own independent research and use at least three primary sources of information, including the vast resources available at the national Churchill Archives. In their essays, students were given the freedom to present Churchill in either a positive or negative light, so long as they displayed many of the qualities of a historian: original research, thoughtful analysis, factual accuracy and attention to detail.

In his essay, Eddie considered the extent of Churchill’s responsibility for the Bengal Famine of 1942, an event which led to the starvation of approximately three million people in India. 

Hector combined history with the modern day, examining how Boris Johnson could learn from Winston Churchill’s foreign policy by overcoming authoritarian regimes whilst simultaneously prioritising strong relationships with the US and Europe. 

Tom addressed the infamous Gallipoli Campaign of 1915 and argued that, ultimately, responsibility for its failure must be placed on Churchill, while considering other factors such as the incompetence of other British military leaders.  

Eddie has earned a cash prize both for himself and for the school, while Hector and Tom will receive a book written by Sir Martin Gilbert. The boys will also attend a prize-giving ceremony at Churchill College, Cambridge, which will include a tour of the Churchill Archives.

Noah Hillyard, the School’s Head of History, congratulated the boys. He said: “It is very pleasing that the high standard of the boys’ independent study, carried out above and beyond normal school commitments. has been recognised in this way.  

“A high placing in a national essay competition certainly marks candidates out from the field. These accolades will now form part of their university applications, and are very timely as they prepare to enter the world of higher education.”

All three boys are planning on reading History at university.

The competition was judged by a panel of secondary school teachers and experts from organisations including The Churchill Archives, University College London, the Historical Association and Anglia Ruskin University.

Pictured, above and below: From left, Eddie, Hector and Tom, by the Smythe Library. 


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