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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

R. Derek Finlay

Now available on Amazon Kindle: To buy on amazon click on the link.
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Derek Finlay's story covers not only his professional life, but describes, with a wonderful feel for language, his personal life from childhood in Kew, college years at Cambridge, the character building experience as a National Service Platoon Commander, to the present day. This book is informative without being prosy; touching without being sentimental; very evocative of the 1930s and 40s, while touching on times past and relating them to the present.
Derek Finlay has experienced a diverse and prestigious career within British and International Industry. After eighteen years, the last seven as a Director, with management consultants McKinsey and Company Inc., he embarked upon a highly successful 14 year career with the H J Heinz Company where he moved to the World Headquarters in Pittsburgh on his appointment as Senior Vice President - Corporate Development, and a member of the Board of Directors. It is an exciting and honest story of a career built on the foundation of early family tragedy, private ambition and the strong values of integrity and decent business ethics.
Derek Finlay was born at the home of his parents in Kew, Surrey. His education began at Kew College followed by Kingston Grammar School.
After securing a BA Degree in Economics and Law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge he embarked on a highly successful business career, first he spent eighteen years with McKinsey & Company Inc. then began a fourteen year-career with HJ. Heinz Company. He also spent three years in the textile industry when he became Chairman of Dawson International plc.
He now lives in The Mains of Grantully Castle in Scotland with his wife Una; they have a daughter, two sons and three grandchildren.

Robert Derek Finlay,  BA, MA, FInstD, FRSA, MCIM. Chairman, Dawson International PLC, 1995-98; b. 16.5.32, London; m., Una Ann Grant; 2 s.; 1 d. 

Education: Kingston Grammar School; Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 

Lt, Gordon Highlanders, 1950-52; Mobil Oil Co. UK, 1953-61; Associate, Principal, Director, McKinsey & Co., 1961-79; Managing Director, H.J. Heinz Co. Ltd., 1979-81; Senior Vice-President, World HQ, H.J. Heinz Co., 1981-93. Member, London Committee, Scottish Council Development and Industry, 1975-2003; Member: Board, US China Business Council, 1983-93, Board, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, 1986-93, US Korea Business Council, 1986-92, Board, Pittsburgh Symphony Society, 1989-93; Vice Chairman, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, 1986-93; Chairman, Board, Visitors Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1989-93. 

Recreations: tennis; rowing; music; theatre. 

Price £17.50  P & P £3.00 UK £4.50 Europe £7.50  ROW
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Lost Certainties 

Brian Wilson is a classical scholar of Christ’s College, Cambridge, for whom theology has been a lifelong interest. He taught in several leading independent schools, (Radley College, King’s Canterbury, and Eastbourne College), before becoming Headmaster of Campbell College, Belfast during a challenging period of educational and civil disturbance. He has been a guest speaker for Swan Hellenic on Mediterranean cruises, an A Level examiner in Latin and Ancient History, the co-author of several ancient history source books, a religious broadcaster, and served for a time on the joint Central Religious Advisory Committee of the BBC/ITV. The evolution of his increasingly radical view of the faith of his church will disturb traditionalists, but may encourage those of a more progressive disposition, who like him still wrestle with their faith. 

What the author says about us:
You have worked wonders. Keeping up with your speed is quite a challenge, Yet another very satisfied customer.


This is a free-thinking literary blog about current affairs, culture, society, religion, politics, atheism, humanism, the English language and literature.
Avg. Rating:  4.5 out of 5.0 ∙ 1 Reviews 

What people are saying about Lost Certainties:
In a recent sermon on his website, , John Churcher, Chair of PCN-B (The Progressive Christianity Network of Britian) writes: "Everyone who is concerned about the free falling membership of the mainline churches in this country should read Lost Certainties. It is a challenge to take up a new Reformation that will give the institutional church at least a chance of survival in our increasingly secular post-modern world." 

This is a book for those who, like Brian Wilson, are prepared to turn around. The essence is caught in his quotation from Michael Ramsey: 'Cease to think of God as a definable, supernatural person. Being the other way round. Look into the depths of human existence, and discover deep down the ultimate meaning of things. This ultimate reality is personal; it is love. Then we can say that love, the ultimate reality, is God.' 

Progressive Voices 

Lost Certainties is a sequel to A Faith Unfaithful, Brian Wilson’s previous collection of broadcasts, sermons and addresses.
In this new publication, through the medium of essays and letters to friends, he seeks to give an account of the evolution of his own faith and explores the dilemma, which he shares with many modern Christians, of how to reconcile a rational and educated modern mind with the largely mythological faith still propagated by the traditional Church. He makes no claim to having the answers. But he firmly believes that if those who are sympathetic to the Christian faith can bring themselves to recognise those elements of faith which modern scientific knowledge and biblical scholarship have rendered untenable to the modern mind, it will help them to rediscover the true value of the teaching of the historical Jesus of Nazareth, who was transformed by centuries of theological argument into the Christ of Faith. Religion, he argues, is not just an intellectual construct; but without a solid rational basis, it is as a house built upon sand.
With two archbishops, a bishop, and a monsignor in his immediate ancestry, he has found it as difficult to abandon the faith of his fathers as it is to accept the traditional teaching of the Church in the face of what we now know of Biblical scholarship, the early years of Christianity within the Roman Empire, and what modern science has told us about creation, and the evolution of our species. We are not fallen angels, he argues, but risen apes. He has found many friends and colleagues, both in his own teaching profession and further afield, who have had similar problems of belief. This book contains a selection of his essays and letters written for them.

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The Improbable Bishop 


John S. Peart-Binns, is a critically acclaimed episcopographer of fifteen prominent twentieth century subjects. In 2008 he received an M.Phil. with distinction from the University of Leeds for his thesis on Establishment and Disestablishment in the life, thought and work of Herbert Hensley Henson, Bishop of Durham. Born and brought up in Bradford, he now lives with his wife Annis in the hub of the universe, Hebden Bridge in the South Pennines.

A succession of masterful figures had the honour of serving as Bishop of Durham; saints and sages, prince-bishops, warriors and statesmen, builders and governors, reformers and controversialists. In 1966 a most unlikely candidate stepped into this mix. Born and bred in Lancashire, Ian Thomas Ramsey’s background gave few clues as to his future calling.

A brilliant and original thinker, his works on philosophy, theology and science developed and popularised new concepts in each discipline. Ordained in 1940, he served a curacy at Headington Quarry, Oxford and spent twenty three years as an academic: a lecturer and chaplain at Cambridge followed by a professorship at Oxford. Ramsey was an unexpected but inspired choice for appointment as Bishop of Durham. Ian Ramsey was immediately embraced by the people of Durham and soon the Church of England had an irrepressible and popular bishop in their midst. Focusing on Ramsey’s years in Durham The Improbable Bishop depicts a man whose compassion and work ethic made him ‘Everybody’s Bishop’ in pit villages, rural communities and secular institutions across the county. The book is a sensitive but rigorous assessment of the virtues, strengths, vulnerabilities and limitations of a man who left a lasting legacy in Durham and whose ideas influenced thinking across the country.

An affectionate and critical assessment of Ian Ramsey’s time as Bishop of Durham … one of the many good things about this book is the affectionate but shrewd memoirs by those who knew  Ramsey and worked with him.
Well researched and informative. It contains some very amusing and attractive photographs. Well worth a read.
Christ College Oxford
In his latest biography Peart-Binns has done a great service. He has reminded us of a great scholar and churchman whose work on a number of moral and ethical issues influenced the thought of a nation.
Canon Malcolm Grundy Teal Trust

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Circle Completed 

When she left the convent she had called home for almost a quarter of a century, Sister Giles faced many challenges as she readjusted to life in the secular world. Constantly surprised and moved by acts of kindness, she was able to make a new life for herself, all the while preserving strong bonds with her order and never losing her sense of vocation.
In her follow-up to The End and The Beginning, Sister Giles celebrates the simple pleasures of the day to day and reminds us to value and appreciate the things that we all too often take for granted. A constant theme of Circle Completed is love - love of God, love of each other, love of life. Sister Giles’ love for others leaps from the page as she eloquently creates portraits of some of the people that have been important to her. Their stories are valued and shared. Written with compassion and a warm sense of humour, this elegant, thoughtful and at times poignant book is a joy to behold. It is also a reminder of the richness and fullness that life has to offer, if only we take the time to look for it.


Her second book builds on the foundations of the first, illustrating how she had been able to make a new life while retaining the sense of her vocation
Midhurst & Petworth observer

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The End and The Beginning

The End and The Beginning now available in eBook format: To buy click on the link. 
Amazon Kindle

The End and The Beginning is a fascinating memoir of the later part of Sister Giles life. It relates the unexpected, often humorous, journey from an enclosed community to the secular world, without in any way jeopardising Sister Giles sense of vocation.In the early chapters the author touches briefly on her life as a nun in an enclosed order and the reader is given an insight into the austere regime of such a vocation. She is later given leave of absence when a friend asks her help to set up a retreat and Sister Giles is surprised to discover that she is called upon to offer succour in a much wider circle than she could have foreseen.
The author discovers a whole new way of life outside the order; she learns to drive, visits the hairdressers and discovers supermarkets. But there comes a time when she has to make a painful decision: should she leave her order permanently? Fortunately there had been a change in Canon Law some years previously which meant that she could ‘remain consecrated, yet released from community life.’ After three days she decided to remain in the secular world.
This is a story of courage, of the power of prayer and of a nun’s devotion to what she perceived as her duty to others in need of help. A combination of direct conversation, humour and eloquent descriptive passages means that the reader is taken with Sister Giles through her life story.
This is a unique story of an unusual person whose life is lived for other people.

An Amazing WomanHaving trained at the Webber School of acting then became a Nun. After 20 years in a contemplative community she came into the outside world to look after those who needed affection, nursing. This account is written with humour with understanding & one is never felt to be in any way a lesser mortal for failing in ones own way of life. Strongly recommended to be read - not just once but again & again.
Elspeth (Hampshire, UK)

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Listen To The Gospels 

Richard Ferguson has served as a Parish Priest for more than forty years in places as far apart as Stretford (Manchester), North Shields, Oldham, Slough and Northumberland. Now in active retirement, he not only takes services when called upon; he has translated St Mark’s Gospel and has recited it on almost fifty occasions. Most recently he has turned his attention to writing. His first book, Rocks and Breakers is a presentation of the Gospel according to St Mark, with his translation of the Gospel spoken on two CDs – so that it can be heard as well as read. In this book he takes his passion for the Gospels further, and in this original study faces the paradoxes and puzzles which the four Gospels give to twenty-first century minds. In his hands these difficulties become discoveries, and our understanding of the Gospels is greatly enriched.

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Thank You, Holy Spirit 

This is not merely a straightforward autobiography and the author has chosen to write about those aspects in particular where he has detected God's guidance. We are told how his time as a junior army officer in World War II brought about a life-changing encounter with God on the battlefield of El Alamein and how this undoubtedly influenced his career, as following this he studied theology and trained for the ministry serving throughout Britain and India. 
However it is not only in the times of crisis or desperation when the presence of the Holy Spirit is apparent, Horace Dammers also tells of the occasion in his day to day life when the Spirit has corrected him. The book conveys an overall message that the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit can be seen in many different ways and found in the most unexpected places. 

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Gordon Fallows of Sheffield 

The Anglicanism to which Fallows adhered and which he commended was wary of crisp rules, clear authority and definitive answers. His vision and conviction was to a Church, which encouraged pioneering seekers and critical thinkers; he was a realist and encourager, statesman and conciliator; his gifts of peacemaking were needed when he moved to Sheffield, then a divided and unhappy diocese. His sense of humour and restrained wit diverted many a potential crisis and he was able to hold radical views without causing offence, for charm and integrity never left him.
Being a husband and father were his greatest joys and the love he had of the natural order and walking on the fells of his native Cumbria helped to dispel the ecclesiastical cobwebs. His appeal to people from all walks of life was wide, solid and permanent and all shared his extended painful final journey suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He died in 1979.


Such a study in clerical progress develops supremely well when we see how Fallows came to be appointed to the large and significant parish church in Preston at the age of 33. He then charts, with helpful and interesting comments from Fallows' Contemporaries and parishioners how they experienced this energetic man pursuing his clerical career.
Malcolm Grundy

Earthen Vessel Holding Treasure (not for sale)

The Irish writer and poet, James Joyce, described the biographer as a biografiend. This biography is from the pen of a biografriend whilst being sufficiently
detached to be objective. Without Gordon McMullan’s generosity in placing
his private and public papers at my disposal any portrayal and evaluation of
his ministry and episcopate would have been impossible. He is not given to
self-analysis or soul-searching. As he gradually disclosed a willingness to reveal
and share those parts of his life which hitherto he kept guarded and secret it
appeared cathartic.
A biographer of a priest must recognise and respect that the real life
of a priest is invisible, measured in secret by the lives he touches and helps
heal. That so many people responded to my overtures for reflections and
memories of Gordon McMullan with candour and sensitivity is remarkable. Some correspondents wished to remain anonymous. Others were cautious, but the majority were content that their contributions may be used with their names. A number of these appear in the biography. To everyone who assisted with their insights and stories I offer heart-felt gratitude

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Military and War

Military and War 

Phil Adams Idle  and Dissolute

 Just received a copy of your book in the mail this morning and it is amazing!  I own 200+ Great War unit histories and yours has to be the best of all!  An excellent model for anyone writing a unit history to emulate.  Congratulations on a job very well done.                           Dick Flory

This book is without doubt the definitive history of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. It has been meticulously researched by the author who describes it as both a 'labour of love' to a long lost relative and a ‘debt of honour’ to all 2,500 men that served with the unit. The title of the book The Idle and Dissolute is taken from the ironic nickname given to the soldiers of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery during the early days of training in Co Durham.  The 'I & D' name stuck and was proudly worn as a badge of honour by all who served. 
It was public subscription that helped raise the Wearside Brigade in March 1915, with local miners and shipyard workers providing the backbone of the new unit. However during the course of WW1 men from all parts of the British Isles as well as from South Africa, America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, China, France, Argentina and later India would swell the ranks.
The 160th Brigade embarked for battlefields in northern France during January 1916 and proceeded to take part in the famed battles of The Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and the Great Offensives of 1918.
The author Philip W. Adams interest in the 160th Brigade dates back to his childhood, when he became fascinated by a photo of a soldier hanging on a wall. All he knew was that it showed his grandfather's brother, William Henry Adams, a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery who had been killed in the First World War. 
The old picture proved the inspiration Phil needed to start a 10 year research project into his uncle William and the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. His investigations revealed that William and 59 of his comrades were among the 38,000 casualties suffered by the British Army on the 21st March 1918 – a fateful day that would prove to be both the darkest and finest hours in the history of the Brigade.
By the end of the Great War, the Wearside Brigade had suffered many casualties. From the original 766 volunteers, that enlisted in Co Durham during 1915 and marched off to France in 1916, only 156 marched back into Sunderland, for their ‘Welcome Home’ parade in 1919.
The men of the Brigade were awarded 157 medals for gallantry. This included four Distinguished Service Orders, nineteen Military Crosses and ten Distinguished Conduct Medals. The Brigade was officially disbanded in August 1919, but those who survived remained close friends. The first of many reunions was held at the Palatine Hotel, in 1919, and the meetings continued until the 1960s. 
This book is a must have, it weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, to tell for the first time the full story of the Idle and Dissolute. Soldiers, so modest and humble about their part in  The Great War that the story of their deeds was never fully recognised in their own lifetime.

Tony Hare - Spanning the Century

Escaped Nazi Germany on the Voyage of the Damned to enjoy a successful life in England.
Born in Northern Moravia in 1915 he escaped war torn Europe in the Voyage of the Damned before serving with the allied forces during and after World War II.
In 1947 he began a long career in the textile trade then in 1968 he changed career and moved to London. He became Director of Administration in a group of hotels until retiring in 1985. He is married with four children and lives in Essex.

"[an]extraordinary and moving life story" - The Wanstead and Woodford Guardian

Harry Moses - The Faithful Sixth A History of the 6th Battalion DLI 

The Durham Light Infantry was one of our finest Country Regiments. This is the story, of the 6th Battalion DLI and of the best me from County Durham who served first as Volunteers, and later as Territorials, and who fought with such distinction in two World Wars.
The author, Harry Moses, was born in Tow Law and recently retired as a headmaster. He has long been fascinated by the history of the 6th DLI and this book is the result of his many years of meticulous research.

"If you interested in local history then this is a must. Centred around Bishop Auckland it really brings home the pride that still exists within the county. These were Territorial and they gave there best and then more. A fantastic read. Hard to come by so get one if you can." - Anne Johnson (Middlesbrough)

Harry Moses, For Your Tomorrow A History of the 2 DLI

Following re-organisation in 1919 the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry sailed to South Russia, then to Turkey before moving to India in 1920. It remained in India for 16 years. On returning to England, it was part of the BEF which moved to France in 1939. During the action on the River Dyle (Belgium) 2nd Lt. Richard Annand won the first army VC in World War II. After suffering heavy losses at St. Venant (France) in May 1939, the survivors of the Battalion returned to England. Re-organised it sailed for India in April 1942. Involved in fighting in the Arakan and at Kohima, the Battalion added to its laurels as a fine fighting unit. Following the Japanese surrender, it sailed for Singapore and took part in the disarming of the Japanese forces. For a short period it formed the guard over Japanese war criminals in Changi Jail. Its final period of service in the Far East was back in Burma in 1947 chasing Dacoit terrorists. On returning to the UK it was placed on suspended animation until re-organised in 1952. It served in Germany until final break up in 1955.
The book covers the whole of the period of history from 1919 to 1955, particularly through the eyes of those officers and soldiers who served with the Battalion in peace and war, reinforced with over 50 photographs and 9 maps.

"I thouroughly recommend this book" - Gen. Sir Peter de la Billiere KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, DL

There have been many books written about the Durham Light Infantry, not a few by Harry Moses. "For Your Tomorrow - A History of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1919 - 1955" (published by The Memoir Club 2012) fills a gap in the bibliography of the Regiment, particularly the 2nd Battallion. Although other books have superficially covered the campaigns involving the Battalion during this period none have done it to the extent and depth of this particular book. Many of the campaigns have been long forgotten but Moses spares no effort in researching them. The real power of the book however lies in the recollections of the ordinary soldiers (most of whom are no longer with us). The appendices of Commanding Officers, Young Soldiers, Roll of Honour and Awards are invaluable to anyone researching this period.
 I would strongly recommend this book to everyone, not just to those with an interest in this Regiment, it is a reminder of the costs of wars and of the resilience of ordinary men doing extraordinary things.
Major Peter Lawless - From Miner To Major 

From National Service to the regulars and into The Rifles, the author describes his experiences in Africa, Asia and Europe in this intriguing memoir. A frank account of a military career in the Royal Green Jackets, also known as The Rifles, From Miner to Major is filled with an unassuming, irreverent sense of humour rare in many army autobiographies. From Miner To Major vividly describes the nature of life in the army. The challenges of maintaining a happy marriage and a stable family life while serving around the world are captured here, as well as the often difficult transition to civilian life. The book also serves as a loving tribute to Peter’s late wife Enid, who supported him throughout his career and out onto ‘Civvi Street’.
                                                                                                                                            Mr Hornsey

"This is a very readable, honest and personal account of the early years of Major Peter Lawless" - Brigadier (Retd) Peter Lyddon MBE (late RGJ)

Bunny Cole - A Oxford Man                                                                                           

Before the War Bunny Cole began to build a career as a solicitor and then when another War seemed inevitable joining the Territorial Army and later enlisting in the Royal Artillery and was posted to Burma. Awarded DSO and presented with his ribbon in the field by Lord Louis
Mountbatten. He was to be Chief Constable of Oxford. This is a factual account of an amazing man who was loved and respected by many people.The story starts with his own history of life in Oxford as the youngest son of the Chief Constable involving the impact of the Great War upon the family.
After that War building a career as a solicitor and then when another War seemed inevitable joining the Territorial Army and later enlisting in the Royal Artillery and being posted to Burma.
Commanding British troops in the Battle of the Admin Box which led to the first defeat of the Japanese Forces. Awarded DSO and presented with his ribbon in the field by Lord Louis Mountbatten. After victory in 1945 returning “with a mission” to support others in the provision of sporting facilities in the Oxford area by the founding of the Oxford Sports Club. Returning to professional life and entering into a partnership of solicitors (Cole & Cole) which became for a time one of the largest in the country.  Continuing in the meantime the life of a family man until his death in 1991.

Described by a former Lord Mayor of Oxford as “Bunny Cole is as much a part of Oxford as Carfax” (the main crossing in the centre of Oxford).

Joan Bright Astley - The Inner Circle                                                                    

Joan Bright Astley performed two outstanding tasks for Britain and the anti-Nazi combination.  First, working in the office of General Ismay. Secondly, it was her function to make in advance the ‘housekeeping’ arrangements – what General slept where. Many women played a remarkable part during the Second World War, but certainly few more remarkable than Mrs Astley.  Her many friends in the Allied countries knew her as Joan Bright in those days – for they preceded her marriage.  She performed two outstanding tasks for Britain and the anti-Nazi combination. First, working in the office of General Ismay, who as Chief of Staff to Churchill as Minister of Defence was the lynch-pin of the British military effort, she organized and maintained a highly confidential service of information to the Commanders in the field, which enabled them to keep themselves ‘briefed’ on the secrets of what was happening or to happen.  It became habitual for, say, Wavell just back from the desert to drop into Joan Bright’s information room to ‘put himself in the picture’.  Thus she was able to observe from a very special angle, and on terms of mutual confidence, most of Britain’s leading men-of-war.

Secondly, as the war rolled on and the great Allied conferences burgeoned, it became her function to make in advance the ‘housekeeping’ arrangements – what General slept where, how the thousand necessities required for the domestic ordering of such affairs would be supplied, and so on.

"I started off reading the book for what it could tell me about the relationships between the people at the top directing the war but it soon revealed more. A must for your own Christmas stocking?" - Anne Samson

Richard Mountford - A Life in the Day of a CRA                                                                  

A Life in the Day of a C.R.A. – The Story of a Cold War Soldier” is an autobiographical account of the Cold War by a Royal Artillery officer whose 37 year military career was dominated by service in West Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine. The author served and trained in other parts of the world – his story includes action in Aden and Kenya as well as Northern Ireland, and training in many overseas locations. This is a human story – an account of a soldier’s life at a time when one miscalculation could have led the world into a nuclear holocaust. C.R.A. is the well known military abbreviation for a Commander Royal Artillery, a position the author filled twice during the Cold War with responsibilities that stretched from northern Norway to eastern Turkey, but predominated on the plains of the northern part of West Germany where the cauldron of war would have been centred should World War 3 have started. That it did not owes much to the dedication of hundreds of thousands of NATO soldiers whose presence deterred a Warsaw Pact attack. These soldiers were ready for war 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, and for over 40 years. Their life style is described in detail along with the intensive training required to remain ready for war.

"This well crafted, easy to read book will serve as a wonderful trip down memory lane for many thousands of ‘Cold War Warriors" - General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO ADC 

Peter Horsefall - Hard to Believe : Too Old At Sixteen                                                   

Chronicles the author's life in the Coldstream Guards and the House of Lords; he offers some enlightening anecdotes about the public figures he has encountered during his varied and colourful career. When Peter Horsfall tried to join the Royal Marines in 1946 he found it hard to believe that he was Too Old At Sixteen. He then turned to the Coldstream Guards and joined as a drummer boy. Thirty four illustrious years later he retired as a Major Quartermaster, having served in several ‘theatres of war’, from Malaya to Northern Ireland. Mixing humour with pathos he provides a fascinating account of his service life – his Yorkshire roots always evident. Upon retirement from the Coldstream Guards he became Staff Superintendent at the House of Lords. His numerous anecdotes of well-known public figures, including a fascinating perspective on Baroness Thatcher, give a unique behind-the-scenes picture of this great institution.
Throughout the book Peter Horsfall credits his success to the Coldstream Guards and is proud to have lived up to the regiment’s moto, Second To None.
This is a delightful and highly readable autobiography complemented beautifully by Bill Tidy’s apposite cartoons.

"A very special book written by a very special man. Go out and buy it!" - Guards Magazine

Freddie Rawding - Life as Curious Travellor                                                                

Life as a Curious Traveller” is a detailed account of the author’s travels and adventures as both Teacher and Soldier, during the last years of the British Imperium. His overseas service took him to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Malaya where he strengthened a deep attachment to Gurkha soldiers first forged in Hong Kong. He also established a warm rapport with Malays. He became fluent in both Nepali and Malay and absorbed much of the culture and spirit expressed in these very beautiful tongues.

"The reader cannot but be mightily impressed by the sheer detail of the accounts of the author's travels, not only in Nepal and Malaya during his army service but later, both as soldier and civilian, in various parts of the Arab world." - Peter Whitaker

Keith M. Taylor - Whither The Fates Call                                                            

An action packed and honest account of one young man's experience of National Service in the Far East during the 1950s, taken from letters that he wrote home. This is a true adventure story! It took place between 1950-1952 and in today's parlance might be described as a 2 year gap year. At that time, National Service, as it was known, was compulsory for all British 18 year old men, still 3 years from being entitled to vote, and lasting for up to two years. Between 1945 and 1960, some 2.3 million young men were called up in peace time. For many it was a necessary evil to be completed as soon as possible before embarking on further education or a career. For others, it was a welcome alternative to unemployment or a means,
hopefully, of deciding what to do with one's life.
The author was a prodigious letter writer and from the day he entered the Guards Depot at Caterham, Surrey, to the day he disembarked from the troopship Empire Pride in Liverpool from the Far East, he wrote 208 letters home. These letters, meticulously kept in chronological
order, together with his photographs, provide a unique record of one person's National Service experience in the British Army. The experiences, retold in these unedited letters, range from boredom to underfire action in the war in Korea as a junior infantry officer. They include vivid descriptions of arduous training at battlecamps as far from each other
as Dartmoor in Devon to Hara Mura in Japan, smuggler hunting on the Hong Kong/Chinese border, rowdy Officer's Mess nights, leave in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) via the Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, an aircraft crash landing in Manila and learning to manage men under stressful conditions.

Keith Taylor recalls his experiences with a discerning eye, a sense of humour and a great respect for British National Servicemen of all backgrounds. The motto of his Regiment, the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, (Fifth of Foot) is QUO FATA VOCANT the translation of which provides the title of the book.

"Whither the fates is quite superb and brought back to me so many memories" - Hugh Wilbraham 

Neville Pughe - Elusive Glory                                                                                          

Very personal, often intimate, account of Neville Pughe's life. A bitter sweet story of a frustrated Royal Marine who finds release in Army life. Starting with wartime Plymouth when the family home was destroyed, he tells of schooldays in Devon and the disappointment of not following family tradition into the Royal Marines. He embarks instead on an Army career, winning the Queen’s Medal at Sandhurst. Highlights include two spells of duty with Airborne Forces, enjoyed despite breaking a leg, and two periods of danger and excitement in Northern Ireland, with regrets over missed opportunities to ambush IRA gangs. After some fascinating regimental tours and command of a unique artillery regiment, the author describes his involvement with the Falklands campaign followed by a tour as a Military Attaché in Washington, including an intriguing episode with a potential Soviet defector. Then, as Brigadier and Defence Attaché at the British Embassy in Bonn, he recounts professional relations with colleagues and lasting German friendships which lead to his founding the British-German Officers’ Association. Finally, after a brief and enjoyable spell in command of a ‘mini-brigade’ in the UK, the author is appointed on retirement as Chief Executive of a Borough Council. This sense-of-humour-testing experience brings to an end forty two kaleidoscopic years of public service, the flag bravely followed by his wife. He now lives in retirement on the Wiltshire/Dorset border.
"This is a well written , entertaining and lively story"   "Would i recommend this book? Unhesitatingly" - Old Exonian Club

Oscar Craig and Alasdair Fraser - Doctors at War                                                      

A joint effort from Oscar Craig and Alasdair Fraser, Doctors At War takes the reader on a journey through the conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Letters and editorials from the archives at St Mary's Hospital Medical School are used to give the reader a range of first-hand accounts of war from the perspective of doctors. The result of hard work and diligent research, Doctors at War delivers an intriguing, interesting and sometimes horrifying record of the war experiences of doctors. A chronological approach is taken, from the end of the 19th century and the Benin expedition of 1897 through both world wars and various conflicts in between, giving a picture of the changing social climate. There are descriptions of the dreadful conditions on battlefields in the late 19th century and letters from civilians during the siege of Ladysmith. By the time of the Second World War, letter writing was significantly reduced: letters were subject to censorship and the art of letter writing considered no longer important. However, from this period are letters not only from all parts of the globe but also from prisoner-of-war camps including Belsen, the Japanese camps and the devastation of Nagasaki. The compilers of this book have worked diligently to produce an outstanding in-depth account of doctors engaged in duties during wartime.

"The dramatic readings of the letters were very moving and the book is fascinating."  Miss Janet Holland, Operational Projects Manager in the Faculty of Medicine

Ray Gerard Smith - The Silver Lining                                                                  

Ray Smith tells of his experience during the war years, from just prior to his enlistment to the last day of service. He took to flying immediately and became one of the RAF’s intrepid fighter pilots. With characteristic unassuming modesty he tells of many occasions when his life was in grave danger.  This is the real-life story of deeds which are beginning to fade from memory but it is to people like Ray Smith that we owe our country’s freedom.

"Very pleasant and interesting auto-biography" - RAF Quarterly 

Robin Fletcher - A Favouring Wind                                                                              

A picture of a boy from a privileged middle class background growing up in the shadow of three elder brothers. Robin Fletcher excelled in academic and sporting spheres. Three years of study at Oxford followed War Service. It also gave opportunity for hockey, and eventually led to a place on the British Olympic Hockey team. The last two years at Oxford were spent studying Modern Greek, which led to an appointment in that subject, held for 30 years. Fortune smiled again with the offer of a Fellowship as Domestic Bursar from Trinity College, a position he held for 24 years. His career was completed by ten years of service as Warden of Rhodes House and Secretary to the Rhodes Trust.The Second World War was spent first as an Ordinary Seaman on HMS Gambia and later as an officer on Special Service in Egypt and the Eastern Aegean, and finishing on a minesweeping trawler in home waters with the rank of Lieutenant RNVR.

David Willison - Memoirs of an intelligent Sapper                                                       

In Memoirs of an Intelligence Sapper, David Willison recalls his life as a Royal Engineer officer through the Second World War and for the subsequent forty years. He describes not only his life as a sapper but also his involvement in military intelligence from Colonel to Deputy Under Secretary. David Willison's memoirs give the observations of a man whose fifteen years as a military intelligence officer saw him travel to most parts of the world. He gives his own insight into the politico-military situation as the time of his to the likes of Egypt and Berlin at crucial points in the twentieth century. The author offers reflections on the way intelligence is gathered and the role of intelligence reporting, with particular relevance to modern events. He also gives a frank account of his five years as Chief Royal Engineer, which saw private and public meetings with Her Majesty the Queen. This is an engaging, informative memoir and will interest a wide range of readers, not only those interested in the military.

"He has produced a fascinating memoir of great personal interest and historical value" - Major-General L Scott-Bowden CBE, DSO, MC

Jeremy Mitchell - Shrapnel and whizzbangs

Shrapnel and Whizzbangs is the story of George Oswald Mitchell (G.O.M.),  one of the few British soldiers who served right through the First World War from its outbreak on 5th August 1914 up to and beyond the Armistice on 11th November 1918. His view of the war was initially that of a private in the infantry, seeing front line action in the spring and summer of 1915 with the 1/6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in and around Neuve Chapelle as well as the Ypres salient. He was then, as a corporal, one of the first members of the Royal Engineers Special Companies, launching the massive gas attack on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915. Promoted to sergeant, G.O.M. took part in many other gas attacks during the remaining three years of the war. He was finally commissioned as a second-lieutenant before being demobilised in 1919.

Written by his son, Jeremy, Shrapnel and Whizzbangs is based on the trench diary and notes that G.O.M. wrote at the time, crouched in a dug-out or lying on a pile of straw in a barn behind the lines. It brings to life the extraordinary mixture of hardship, fear, excitement and boredom experienced by the millions of ordinary soldiers who made the abrupt transition from civilian life to the mud and blood of the Western Front.

"an extraordinary testimony which adds to the canon of First World War literature"Scottish Legion News

 Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660    
                                               with card details and address

Friday, 8 March 2013

G.B Marsden

Meandering now avaiable on Kindle:


Love me always
For what I am
Not for what
I’m not.
I love the hills
The streams
And trees
Places remote
Secret private thoughts to dream.
To look at flowers
And scenes
Tall grass blowing
In the wind
I need peace
The kind that never
Seems to come
The peace from God
That says
Thy will be done.
When I look
At you
I know love
How come I never
Met you
Before old age set in
To be young again

Carefree then
I’d let you take
Me by the hand
And contentment
From heaven
Would come

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

David Hutchinson

Through a Looking Glass now also available in eBook format: To buy from amazon click on the link. 
Amazon Kindle

or order the paperback from The Memoir Club, Jasprint, 12 Tower Road, Washington. NE37 2SH 0044 191 4192288 price £14.95 + UK postage


Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo

When David Hutchinson, an Englishman in Colombia, is seized by the FARC guerrillas and held for ransom, he feels a burning sense of injustice. While being marched over mountains and through forests he faces the perils of insects, illness and injury. While in captivity he marks his sixtieth birthday. He combats boredom through conversation with guerrillas and fellow hostages, innumerable games of chess, and eventually two novels sent to the jungle by his family. On his release he suffers traumatic effects, and is ruined by the cost of raising the ransom.

It is a remarkable story. Few have Hutchinson’s experience of what the guerrillas are really like. Many of them appear simple and ignorant. Some are volatile, others kindly. They fight to overthrow their government through violent revolution. Their idealism has become submerged by the drug-dealing and kidnapping that finance their struggle. Hutchinson sees no justification for their viciousness or for wrecking his life.

He acknowledges that he is a lucky one. Large numbers who were taken hostage remain prisoners of the guerrillas today, many years later. Countless others were murdered. Kidnapping has ravaged Colombia and
destroyed thousands of families. 

It is paradoxical that Colombia, that has long abjured the death penalty, should be the victim of so much killing. It is ironic that a republic that, unusually for South America, has rarely fallen into military dictatorship should be so torn by revolution. It is tragic that cocaine – for export – should have polluted the state and society to their roots.

Colombia is a nation determined to fight back. With a combination of enlightened social programmes and measures to improve security it is bearing down on the drug-trafficking, kidnap and murder. 

Hutchinson was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was an unlucky foreigner in Colombia. But his book touches on the anguish of a whole nation. I fervently wish the people of Colombia a future that brings reconciliation and peace, and liberty for all the victims of  abduction.

Through a Looking Glass is the true story of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. David Hutchinson, 59 years old and retired from a life spent in international business, was kidnapped by criminals and sold to the FARC, the main Colombian guerrilla.

A nine-month forced march through the fierce terrain of Colombia ensued but the author makes little of this and we can only guess his feelings when he is told ‘You pay, you go free’. But this is not a one sided story. David Hutchinson incorporates his family’s side of the story; their efforts to contact him and the FARC: a whole picture of the kidnap is created. 
Because this is the story of David Hutchinson’s long march, there is a pace to the narrative. Interspersed with this are pen-portraits of the various guerrilleros with whom he comes into contact and minibiographies of other captives and the limited occupations of the captives such as chess and wildlife watching.
When he is finally allowed to make a phone call to his home, there is the constant fear that it will be traced. The whole group could then be attacked by the air force, as did happen. This is not just kidnapping; this is war. The air force flies overhead and the army constantly track the guerrilla. They run, they fight and they die, it is a constant battle for survival. Interest is added by giving details of the political and social background and of how the kidnappings first started. Half the kidnaps in the world happen in Colombia. This is an enthralling memoir, which will both fascinate and horrify the reader.
David Hutchinson was born in 1943 in Peshawar, India (now Pakistan) of British parents, John and Antonia. They returned to England in 1947, where David went to school and to Oxford. David married Graciela Busto from Argentina with whom he had two children. After her death from cancer he married his second wife Maria Cecilia (Nanette) Muñoz, from the Philippines. He was president of the Colombian-British Chamber of Commerce, Bototà 1993-97 and in 1998 was warded an MBE for services to British-Colombian Trade. He now lives in Barcelona.


I've just finished reading you book. I have to say that it makes fascinating reading and especially when you actually know the person who is going though such tortures. I have always admired you but I now find it astonishing that you are still "cuerda". It must be   incredibly difficult to put it all behind you and live a normal life. I don't know what you would have done without your love of birds, insects and plants.                                                                                                                      Charles Wordsworth

Through a Looking Glass - a great title for a great book! Memoir Club, did such a good job.

Just to say that I read and much enjoyed David’s book. As I read it I could hear him speaking.
I found the chapters on the members of the FARC that encountered, and his fellow captives (and similarities between some of them), particularly interesting and you have a phenomenal memory to describe your experiences so vividly!

What an excellent book. I wonder if I enjoyed it because it was you, and knowing you made it fun, but I think it was just well written. I liked that it wasn’t oppressive, full of violence and gore, nor depressing, as other books on this sort of subject sometimes are. The human elements, not romanticized, and appropriately brief, were appropriate as encounters in the military would be. I also like how you presented all sides without hammering the points. The wildlife made it delightful. I can’t wait for Jeff to come home and read it
Patricia Harding of The American Orchid Society