Entries invited: Bill Braham Memorial Essay Competition

The Pike and Shot Society, in conjunction with Helion and Company, are very pleased to announce the inauguration of the annual Bill Braham Memorial Essay Writing Competition.

The Pike and Shot Society is an international organisation promoting the study of the military history of the Renaissance and Early Modern world. For the Society, these are the years 1400 to 1721 (approximately from the introduction of early firearms to the abandonment of the pike as a front-line weapon). The Society is run entirely by, and for the benefit of, its members.

Bill Braham was the Society‘s Librarian who sadly passed away in July 2016. To many who knew Bill, he can be described in every sense of the word as a true polymath, a Renaissance man – truly a Gentleman – and a stalwart friend. A big part of Bill’s life was his passion for history, of which he had an extensive knowledge, and particularly the English Civil War. He read books on every aspect and detail.

A visit to a battle site with Bill was a revelation; a history lesson that brought a muddy field to life. This passion for history also led to a house so full of books that you could hardly move (we won’t mention the storage unit!). Beneficiaries for part of his collection have been the National Army Museum, which received his outstanding collection of American War of Independence books, and the Pike and Shot Society – thus fulfilling his role as the Society’s Librarian to the end.

For us, Bill will be particularly remembered for his generosity of spirit (especially obvious when he represented the Society on the recruiting stand at shows around the country) and his dry sense of humour, sense of the absurd and encouragement of outrageous conversations.

Prizes (Supplied by the Sponsors)

First prize – £100’s worth of Helion publications and a one-year subscription to the Pike and Shot Society.

Second prize – A one-year subscription to the Pike and Shot Society.

Competition Rules

  1. All essays should be on a military topic within the defined boundaries of the Society’s research period, which is 1400 to 1721.
  2. Any essays outside this period will be rejected.
  3. The closing date for submissions will be 31 December 2017 and any entries received after this date will be entered into the next year’s competition.
  4. The result will be announced on 31 March 2018.
  5. The essay must be written and submitted on Microsoft Word.
  6. The essay must be written in English.
  7. All essays must be between 2,500 and 3,000 words long excluding references, bibliography and notes. A word count must be provided with each entry. All pages should be numbered.
  8. Any essay longer than 3,000 words will be rejected for the competition.
  9. Where a quotation is used, or author referenced, it should be marked in the text by a superscript number. These can either be referenced in end page notes or a full set of notes at the end of the essay. Notes are excluded from the word count.
  10. A list of all reference sources (book, article or online) must be provided at the end of the essay.
  11. Any evidence of plagiarism will result in the essay being disqualified from the competition.
  12. The decision of the judges will be final.
  13. The judges will not be allowed to submit any essay.
  14. On submitting the essay, the writer automatically gives permission to the Pike and Shot Society to publish the essay in the Society’s magazine (first publication rights only).
  15. On submitting the essay, the writer automatically gives permission for their contact details to be passed to Helion and Company.

In judging the competition, weight will be given to primary research and originality. Other judging criteria will include a structured approach, good grammar and syntax, as well as fluency and the ability to engage the reader.

How to Enter

Entries and full contact details for the author should be sent to the following email address:


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