I would like to undertake a PhD at Warwick to... higher education. I was the best student on my MA...

I would like to undertake a PhD at Warwick to secure my future employment in
higher education. I was the best student on my MA course, I achieved the highest
average mark to date at the university and at my recent graduation I found out I had
won The Lincoln Record Society Prize for Best Dissertation in the MA Historical
Studies. I am a mature student and I have never missed a deadline or needed an
extension; I think the challenge of studying while working and bringing up a family
has taught me the motivation and self discipline I will require for further years of
study. I believe I have the necessary aptitude to undertake a PhD, I am in the process
of submitting a proposal to The Lincoln Record Society for a conference in May, my
chapter “North Lincolnshire’s County Carriers” in Lincoln Connections has recently
been published by the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, and I hope
to have more of my research published in the future.
My thesis, The many behind the few: Erks and WAAFs of the RAF Bomber Command
1939 -1945, will examine the emotions and coping strategies of Royal Air Force
ground crew (colloquially known as ‘erks’) and Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
personnel (‘WAAFs’) in Bomber Command during the Second World War. In so
doing, the thesis will overhaul existing scholarship on the experiences, attitudes,
behaviour and medical and psychiatric treatment of air crew by placing them, for the
first time, in the context of the ninety per cent of Bomber Command’s personnel
who remained on the ground. To borrow a phrase from an RAF driver during the
war, ground-crew had no Brylcreem and no medals, yet it fell to them to hose down
aircraft gun turrets after the gunners had been killed or wounded. However, previous
historiographic interest has often been focused on aircrew; WAAFs and RAF groundcrew, the “wingless wonders” or flightless “penguins” are frequently marginalised.
My study will use a similar methodology to several scholars of World War One and
that employed by Martin Francis in The Flyer, but I will incorporate more official and
medical documentation and a more nuanced approach to emotion and gender. Official
RAF documentation from the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum and the
RAF Museum will be balanced against the private testimony of the aircrew
themselves in diaries, letters and autobiographies. As well as considering the
implications of male constructions of technical and military expertise and heroism,
my study will also consider the corresponding emotions and internal conflicts of
women of the WAAF serving on operational airbases. The main body of the thesis
will apply a holistic approach to the study of emotions, including the impact of class,
race and gender on identity, and through an examination of the lives of a previously
under represented majority, contribute to our understanding of the treatment of
aircrew as well as wider historiographies of the Second World War.