Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Independent Scholar
Website URL
Military history, aviation, airpower, British, German, Norwegian, social, cultural, First World War, Second World War, Royal Flying Corps, RAF, Arthur Rhys Davids, James McCudden, Albert Ball, Manfred von Richthofen, Lothar von Richthofen, Luftstreitkräfte, Luftwaffe, airborne operations, Victorian, Imperialism, Colonialism, war, literature, film, music, military welfare, mental health, psychology, psychiatry, shell shock, masculinity, popular culture, legacies of war
Additional Contact Information
Free to take on media, consultancy, and research enquiries.

Personal Info

About Me

Abby Whitlock is a museum professional and independent cultural and military historian who recently completed her MSc dissertation on hegemonic masculinity and physical space on Royal Flying Corps aerodromes at the University of Edinburgh. Her main historical focus is on British and German aviation during the First World War, but has extensive research and programming experience  related to aviation and combat medicine during both World Wars, the Victorian Era, and British imperialism.

She earned a B.A. in History and European Studies at the College of William and Mary in 2019, graduating Summa Cum Laude, a member of Phi Alpha Theta, and a funded Honors Fellow for the 2018-2019 year. Her undergraduate honors thesis “A Return to Camelot?: British Identity, The Masculine Ideal, and the Romanticization of the Royal Flying Corps Image” focused on the factors contributing to the masculine ideal of the flying ace for media and official use during the First World War and received the department’s highest honors. During her undergraduate career, she conducted independent research on topics such as shell shock treatment, the intersection of war and memory in popular culture, and representations of post-war coping mechanisms in Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929) and Der Weg zurück (The Road Back, 1931).

She completed her Masters with Distinction in History from the University of Edinburgh in October 2022. Her dissertation, “It’s a rum life”: Physical Space, Group Dynamics, and Morale Amongst Royal Flying Corps Scout Pilots, 1914-1918″, explored how the infant nature of aviation during the First World War allowed for the maintenance of hegemonic masculine ideals through the creation of physical spaces on aerodromes.

She’s contributed to archival research and public programming at the Louisa County Historical Society and National D-Day Memorial. At the National D-Day Memorial, she assisted with the planning and execution of educational programming for K-12 groups regarding experiences of Army personnel during the D-Day invasion, as well as updating the tour offerings for various tour groups. She conducted archival research in the foundation’s collection regarding Nordic Waffen-SS divisions, as well as the development of combat medicine practices for airborne operations from 1942-1946.

She’s currently conducting research into the role cultural/heritage organizations played in the upkeep of morale and creation of American identity through offered wartime amenities during the Second World War through a close analysis of the National Gallery of Art’s 1942-1946 guest registers and news coverage.

Recent Publications

Academic Qualifications

  • Masters in History (MSc dissertation), University of Edinburgh: ‘“It’s a rum life”: Physical Space, Group Dynamics, and Morale Amongst Royal Flying Corps Scout Pilots, 1914-1918″. Awarded with Distinction November 2022.
  • BA (Summa Cum Laude, Honors Thesis) in History and European Studies, College of William and Mary: “A Return to Camelot?: British Identity, The Masculine Ideal, and the Romanticization of the Royal Flying Corps Image”. Awarded Highest Honors, May 2019.


Academic Publications

  • Review of Greene, Rebecca Schwartz, Breaking Point: The Ironic Evolution of Psychiatry in World War II. H-Sci-Med-Tech, H-Net Reviews, June 2023.
  • Review of Wilkins, Mark C., Aero-Neurosis Pilots of the First World War and the Psychological Legacies of Combat. First World War Studies, December 2023. .
  • Upcoming book review on aviators from Texas A&M in the First World War. (Winter 2023)
  • Upcoming book chapter on physical space and masculinity on First World War British aerodromes. (Date TBD)
  • Upcoming book chapter on art galleries, cultural education, and morale during the Second World War. (Date TBD)
  • “Setting the Sun on the British Empire: British Economic Interests and the Decolonization of Hong Kong,” James Blair Historical Review: Vol. 9: Iss. 2, Article 3.

Other Publications

Conferences and Presentations 

  • “The “Super-cultural USO”: Wartime Amenities, Morale, and American Identity at the National Gallery of Art, 1941-1946″, Society for Military History: Part of panel on ‘Drivng and Maintaining Military Morale” (April 2024).
  •  ‘“Perfect Health, Mechanical Mind”: Morale, Mental Health, and Judgments of Character in the Royal Flying Corps, 1914-1918’, Online Symposium: Military Welfare History: How Welfare Impacted Warfare in Twentieth-Century Conflicts (February 2024).

  • ““It’s a rum life”: Physical Space and Morale Amongst Royal Flying Corps Scout Pilots”, RAF Museum Lecture Series (April 2023).

  • “The Flying Ace on the Silver Screen: Film Portrayals as an Illustration of the Evolving Masculine Ideal and the Reality of the First World War”, RAF Museum Annual Conference (September 2022).
  • “Against the ‘Mischievous Device’: The Berlin Blockade as a case for collective defence in the Western Bloc”, RAF Museum Annual Conference (September 2020:
  • Twitter Presenter: International Society for First World War Studies Twitter Conference (#LegaciesFWW2019) (September 2019)
    • Presented “A Return to Camelot?: British Identity, The Masculine Ideal, and the Romanticization of the Royal Flying Corps Image”, analyzing the role of late Victorian and Edwardian ideals about masculinity and class in the creation of the Royal Flying Corps and fighter pilots during World War One.
  • “Setting the Sun on the British Empire: A History of British Economic Interests in the Colonization and Decolonization of Hong Kong”, College of William and Mary Student-Faculty Conference in European Studies (Decolonization: March 2019).

Blog Contributions


  • Society for Military History (Member)
  • Royal Aeronautical Society, Aeronautical Heritage Specialist Group (Committee Member)
  • Imperial War Museum’s War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network (Member)
  • Military History Welfare Network (Member)
  • International Society for First World War Studies (Member)
  • Second World War Research Group, North America (Member)
  • Second World War Network (Scotland) (Member)
  • American Alliance of Museums (Member)
  • Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society (Theta-Theta Chapter) (Member and former Historian, 2018-2019)
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Britain, Germany, Norway, United States
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, Germany, North America, Scandinavia, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Diplomacy, Genocide, Holocaust & Nazi Persecution, Literary History, Medicine, Military, Museums, Public History, World War I, World War II