Dr Oliver Wilkinson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Oliver Wilkinson
Email address: O.Wilkinson@wlv.ac.uk Phone number: 01902 321572 Location: Mary Seacole Building Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences School/Institute: School of Social, Historical and Political Studies Areas of expertise: Twentieth Century conflict with a focus on the history of war captivity/prisoner of war experiences


Oliver Wilkinson is a researcher in the social and cultural history of modern warfare. His areas of expertise focus on British & European experiences of ‘Total Warfare’ in the Twentieth Century. Therein he has specialised on the history of captivity during the First World War, exploring the experiences of British servicemen captured by the Germans during the conflict. He traces how such POWs were challenged by their wartime fate and how they found ways to respond in their efforts to ‘cope with captivity’. His work explores themes such as power, control, authority, repression, resistance, agency, and identity (with a focus on gender identities and military masculinities). His current research investigates two areas. First, he is examining allied experiences within German captivity. Second, he is working on the experiences of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen in Britain and Ireland after the First World War.

Oliver is the conference co-ordinator for 1918 – 2018: The End of the War & The Reshaping of a Century, an international conference being hosted by the Centre for Historical Research, University of Wolverhampton, 6-8 September 2018.

Research interests

Core research interests include: Total War (esp The First World War); Total Institutions; Prisoners of War (POW) & Captivity; Gender; Masculinities; Identity; Agency; War, Commemoration & Memory; & Veterans.

Oliver is happy to supervise students interested in these areas. He is also happy to hear from community projects relevant to experiences of captivity during the First World War.


Oliver Wilkinson, British Prisoners of War in First World War Germany (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Oliver Wilkinson, ‘A Fate Worse Than Death? Lamenting Capture’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Feb, 2015), pp. 24-40.

Review Article: Stephen Wood, The Leeds Pals (British Association For Local History) Oct 2014

Oliver Wilkinson, ‘Diluting Displacement: Letters from Captivity’ in S. Barkhof & A. Smith (eds), War and Displacement in the Twentieth Century: Global Conflicts (New York, Routledge, April 2014), pp. 70-88.

Review Article: Panikos Panayi, Prisoners of Britain: German Civilian and Combatant Internees during the First World War (Reviews in History, Review No. 1455). 

Oliver Wilkinson, ‘Captivity in Print: The Form and Function of POW Camp Magazines’ in G. Carr and H. Mytum (eds), Cultural Heritage and Prisoners of War: Creativity Behind Barbed Wire (New York, Routledge, 2012), pp. 227-43.

Further information

External academic roles

Steering Committee Member of the AHRC funded First World War Network (FWWNetwork) for Early Career & Postgraduate Researchers