Marc Milner   2010 University Research Scholar Recipient

One of Canada’s preeminent scholars of the Second World War, Dr. Marc Milner is a remarkably prolific scholar with an enviable reputation as one of Canada’s most influential military historians. He has also been instrumental in the growth of the military history program at UNB and is the key architect behind the recently launched Brigadier Milton F. Gregg, VC, Centre for the Study of War and Society. 

Author of several acclaimed, award winning scholarly monographs, Dr. Milner has also produced a truly impressive number of still rigorous but more popular books and articles that have almost single-handedly elevated the quality of Canadian naval military historiography. These publications reveal Dr. Milner’s rare skill to reach and educate the wider audience while at the same time maintaining high scholarly standards. All three of his refereed, scholarly monographs have been praised in leading journals: North Atlantic Run: The Royal Canadian Navy and the Battle for the Convoys, which first appeared with the University of Toronto Press in 1985 and has gone through two paperback editions, the last in 2006; The U-boat Hunters: The Royal Canadian Navy and the Offensive Against Germany’s Submarines (University of Toronto) in 1994; and Canada’s Navy: The First Century (University of Toronto), in 1999.  Together these works have forced a reevaluation of Canada’s neglected but important role in the Battle of the Atlantic.  Building on these foundational studies, Dr. Milner has produced four excellent books intended for both a specialist and broader audience, including Battle of the Atlantic (Vanwell, 2003, with paperback in 2005), which won the prestigious CP Stacey Prize in Military History. He is also author of dozens of academic and more popular essays, articles and chapters, as well as an editor of the acclaimed book series on New Brunswick Military Heritage.

Dr. Milner began his career in UNB’s History Department in 1986, throwing himself with great energy and enthusiasm into the task of transforming the military history field into one of the most important and popular ones in the department and university.  Promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 and Full Professor in 1994, Dr. Milner has also served as Director of UNB’s Military and Strategic Studies Program (1986-2005), Co-Director of the New Brunswick Military Heritage Project (2003-), Acting Director for the Centre for Conflict Studies (2005-2006) and, since 2006, Director of the Milton Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society.  He has sat on a long list of national and international research committees and societies, been a consultant and advisor to numerous programs and educational institutions and initiatives, and been an important contributor to the annual Canadian Battlefields Foundation tours to Europe. In support of the Military and Strategic Studies Program and now the Milton Gregg Centre, he has applied for and administered over one and a half million dollars in grants from the Department of National Defence, along with winning external research funds for his own projects. And, for six years (2002-2008), he was chair of the Department of History. On top of this impressive scholarly activity, Dr. Milner has excelled in teaching large undergraduate classes while maintaining a graduate teaching and supervisory load second to none.

His current research program – submitted also as a SSHRC Standard Research Grant – “Normandy: Memory and Meaning,” is an innovative project fusing current scholarly interest in the “making of memory” with the study of the enduring legacy of the Allied invasion of Normandy.  In particular, the project looks at the way in which Normandy was “anticipated” by the various combatants, how this anticipated meaning informed contemporary understanding of events as they unfolded, and finally how the clash between what was anticipated and what actually occurred was reconciled in the post war literature.  The scholarly world is eagerly awaiting the results of this research.

Dr. Milner is therefore the kind of productive and creative scholar who has shaped the scholarly discourse and informed the broader society both.  With this URS designation, UNB proudly acknowledges his major contributions to the research culture of the university, New Brunswick, and Canadian society as a whole.