Talks and Lectures

As a trained advocate, I love to talk about the historical subjects that I have written about. I do not normally charge a fee for this, but do usually offer copies of the relevant book for sale after the talk. If the talk is far from my home, I will ask for travelling expenses. In London or the West Country, this will usually not apply. The talks are accompanied by a Power Point presentation where appropriate. I adapt the talks according to my audience [e.g. schools or historical societies]. The length of a talk can also vary according to need. An hour is the recommended length, but anything is possible! I am happy to take questions after the talk. The subjects that I cover are:

  1. Maid Honor Force and Operation Postmaster – the true story behind James Bond
    This tells the story of the real M’s “licensed to kill secret agents”, and their daring raid upon the volcanic island of Fernando Po in Spanish Guinea in 1942. It is taken from my book: Ian Fleming and SOE’s Operation Postmaster
  2. The Small Scale Raiding Force
    This is the sequel to Operation Postmaster, and describes the next commando force that M set up. It follows the lives of the four central “James Bonds” to their conclusion. The last of them died winning the VC. It is taken from my book: The Small Scale Raiding Force.
  3. SAS Operation Speedwell 2
    This was a heroic but ill-fated operation by the 2nd Special Air Service behind enemy lines in Italy in September 1943. Of the six paratroopers who dropped, only one successfully ex-filtrated to Allied territory after the operation [having escaped the Germans dressed as a woman, fully equipped with a false bust]. Four were caught and were executed by firing squad by the Germans. After the war, those murders formed the subject of a War Crimes trial. The story of the operation and the eventual War Crimes trial are told in my book: SAS in Tuscany 1943-5.
  4. SAS Operation Galia
    This was a dramatically successful operation by the 2nd Special Air Service Regiment behind enemy lines in northern Italy in 1944/5. They worked in co-operation with the Special Operations Executive [SOE] and the Italian partisans. They inflicted considerable damage on the enemy, and tied up ten thousand enemy troops at a vital period of the war, despite heavy snow and the toughest of weather conditions. The story of Operation Galia is told in detail in my book: SAS in Tuscany 1943-5.
  5. Prisoner of War in Italy – capture, imprisonment and escape
    Between 75-80,000 young and not so young soldiers were captured and imprisoned in camps throughout Italy between 1940 and 1943. This talk, based mainly on the notorious “Campo 21” prisoner of war camp at Chieti, deals with the impact of capture, conditions for prisoners in the camps, and various methods of escape. Sport and education were essential to maintaining morale, and the talk features a famed cricket match in the Chieti camp, in which England’s Bill Bowes and Freddie Brown both took part. The story of “Campo 21” is the subject of the book that I am currently working on which will be published in 2014..

Prison camp wall

Site by