ISSUE 21, April 2007
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

 Previous Page 
 Next Page 


Your acclaimed book 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands – No Picnic has been revised and updated to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the war this year. What initially prompted you to decide to write about your experiences and the war?

I wanted to tell the story of my Brigade in the Falklands War while it was still fresh in my mind. At the time I wrote the first edition, I was still serving and had access to my Brigade War Diary, battle logs, and other sources that would help me to tell the story as accurately as possible. I could not quote from them, but check what I wrote against the record. These documents are now in the National Archive and closed until 2012. I also had access to a large number of the participants, whose memories were fresh, and who let me read reports and other documents in their possession.

How does the new edition differ from the earlier version?

I have added about 10,000 words of new text, to give a more personal view of some of the events I describe. I can also express my opinions more frankly now that I am no longer a serving officer. In addition, the passage of time has allowed me to gain a better insight into some of the events, and reasons behind decisions made at a higher level than mine.

You have written many military history books. Which do you look back on with most satisfaction?

I still look back on No Picnic with most satisfaction, as it was my first, and at the time was a best seller.

There is currently a Royal Marine Commando in Afghanistan involved in some heavy ground fighting, how do you feel about the war and how difficult do you believe conditions to be for the troops?

I am very proud of what the Royal Marines are achieving in Afghanistan against a very formidable enemy. The invasion of Iraq took the British and American ‘eye off the ball’ in Afghanistan, enabling the Taliban to stage a come-back, hence the problems the troops are experiencing now. The strength of the initial deployment into Helmand province was too small for the task. The fault lies with government ministers whose naivety, intellectual arrogance, and reluctance to listen to military advice led to them underestimating the scale of the threat, and making foolish statements to the effect that they hoped that British troops would return without having fired a shot. How wrong they were!

Have you planned your next project?

I am currently working on two: a book on 30 great commanders from Alexander to the present, and an account of the campaign in France and Flanders in 1940, leading to the evacuation from Dunkirk.

Where do you write and have you got a preferred writing routine?

I write at home, and usually start at about 8am, have a break for exercise and lunch and continue until about 7pm. I do not write every day, as I have other interests.

Who are your favourite authors?

Richard Holmes for military history, Patrick O’Brian and Bernard Cornwell for fiction

Which book are you currently reading?

The Thirteen Gun Salute, by Patrick O’Brian (for the second time) and The Battle of the River Plate, by Dudley Pope. I usually keep two or three books on the go at any one time.


 Previous Page 
 Next Page