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Peter McLaughlin

Peter McLaughlin (born 1956) is a British academic, historian, and educator who was Headmaster of The Doon School. Before joining Doon in 2009, he served as Headmaster of Douai School, and Principal of the British International School in Cairo and of Casterton School in England. McLaughlin retired from Doon in May, 2016.

Peter McLaughlin
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Peter McLaughlin in The Doon School (cropped).jpg
Born1956 (age 62–63)
Northern Ireland
OccupationScholar, academic, writer, Headmaster of the Doon School
EducationM.A., PhD
Alma materUniversity of Rhodesia
London School of Economics
SubjectWar studies, Political history, International relations, Economics
Notable worksThe Rhodesian War: A Military History
The Occupation of Mashonaland
Ragtime Soldiers: The Rhodesian experience in The Great War
SpouseElizabeth McLaughlin



McLaughlin was born in Northern Ireland and raised in Africa. He was educated at Prince Edward School in Salisbury, Rhodesia and University of Rhodesia in Salisbury, where he read history.[1] He then studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom.



Peter McLaughlin welcoming the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, to Doon in April 2013.

McLaughlin's doctorate was a study of the role of British Imperial defence policy in shaping the Rhodesian armed forces from the 1890s to the 1950s. During the Rhodesian Bush War, he served in operational areas as a field reservist in the British South Africa Police. He set up the War Studies course at the University of Rhodesia (now the University of Zimbabwe) and was awarded an Association of Commonwealth Universities Post-doctoral Fellowship to the London School of Economics to study the British munitions industry in the First World War.[2] He left the world of research and lecturing to carve out a varied career as a headmaster at major Independent schools in England. From 1999 to 2005 he was the Principal of the British International School in Cairo before his departure to head Casterton School.

In 2009, departing Casterton School (Cumbria, UK) in a storm of controversy, having failed to correctly inform the school governors of his intention to depart his role, McLaughlin moved to India to head an independent boarding school, The Doon School, succeeding Kanti Bajpai where his introductions of new policies regarding the running of school were hotly opposed by the students. He has lived in Dehradun in India ever since.[3][4]


McLaughlin's departure from Casterton School (Cumbria, UK) was, at the time, deemed highly inappropriate due to its nature. McLaughlin failed to inform the Casterton School governors of his intention to depart his role at the end of the year. This failure lead to the governors being unable to find a replacement Head for the school in time for the next school year, causing notable disruption to both pupils and staff.

This failure to follow protocol, alongside the ongoing failure of McLaughlin to increase attendance at Casterton while simultaneously overseeing ambitious renovation projects to the appearance but not educational facilities of the school, caused a storm of outcry when his acceptance of the Doon school role was finally formally announced to parents, staff and pupils.

The leaves of absence taken by McLaughlin during the school year prior to his departure were claimed to have been to care for an ill relative in the south of England, but this claim was exposed as false when a member of Casterton School staff discovered an article on the Doon school website showing McLaughlin attending an event at the school in question, celebrating his appointment as the incoming Headmaster. It was then revealed through communication between Casterton and Doon school pupils and teachers that McLaughlin had already visited the school several times before accepting the position. These visits coincided with his leaves of absence from Casterton.

Other appointmentsEdit


McLaughlin is married to Elizabeth McLaughlin and has two sons both of whom are studying in the United Kingdom.


  • Ragtime Soldiers: The Rhodesian experience in The Great War (1980), by Peter McLaughlin. Books of Zimbabwe, ISBN 978-0-86920-234-0.
  • The Occupation of Mashonaland (1982), by Peter McLaughlin. Books of Zimbabwe, ISBN 978-0-86920-192-3.
  • The Rhodesian War: A Military History(2008), by Peter McLaughlin. Stackpole Books, ISBN 978-0-8117-0725-1.


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Kanti Bajpai
Head master of The Doon School
Succeeded by
Matthew Raggett