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Mr Matthew Heaslip




I joined the University of Portsmouth as a Lecturer in Naval History in 2018, having previously been working on my PhD at the University of Exeter's Centre for Maritime Historical Studies.

My research focuses upon the twentieth century Royal Navy and its role within Britain's wider imperial system, during both peace and war. In particular, my doctoral thesis explores the Royal Navy's China Station and Britain's East Asian Empire during the 1920s. It examines the reasons behind a number of the most violent clashes involving British service personnel in interwar Asia and reveals how the Admiralty secretly sought to circumvent the Washington Treaty. I have also recently had a journal article entitled 'Britain's armed forces and amphibious operations in peace and war 1919-1939: A Gallipoli Curse?' published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

Research Interests

The main focus of my research is on the application of naval power in littoral environments, both in peace and war. In particular, I am interested in the use of the nineteenth and twentieth century Royal Navy in defending and maintaining the British Empire. Looking at how the Royal Navy actually made use of its dominance through gunboat diplomacy, amphibious operations, and imperial policing, I explore the importance of naval power in Britain's efforts to exert influence over other nations and groups of people on a day-to-day basis.

I am a member of Portsmouth's Port Towns and Urban Cultures research group (

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach on the MA in Naval History course as part of which I am the module coordinator for the Rise & Fall module and regularly supervise student research-led dissertations.

Media Availability

I am happy to take calls and emails from media on my research, and am aware of the need to respond to journalists in a timely manner. Please feel free to contact me via: or 02392846083.

Interested journalists can also contact the University's Media and Communications team for support and advice on all media engagement, including out of hours.

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