Friday, July 06, 2007

Richard Holmes and some other bits and pieces...

Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure of listening to military historian Richard Holmes give a talk on his recent book "Dusty Heroes".

The book is basically about an infantry regiment (1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment) in Iraq in 2004. At the time he had been their colonel, and had visited them in that role a number of times. He spoke about the difficulties, the heat, the complexity of the local politics, and the amazing variance of tasks that a modern military unit is called on to do in a peace keeping role - he spoke about one of the RSM's (regimental sergeant major) whose job in the war role was plotting mortar strikes, and whose peace role was to advise the locals on building projects - and that he was sometimes called on to do both roles in the same day.... he also spke about what it's like to be an ordinary, normal, frontline, regular infantryman - not a special unit, not a para, or SAS, or Guards, or Marine - just the backbone of the army... I thought it was excellent.

He's very much interested in the life of the individual soldier, what makes them tick... so very absorbing to listen to; if you get the chance to see him speak I would recommend it wholeheartedly. He has a very dry wit, a wicked sense of humour, and is amazingly understated when you consider everything he has managed to fit into his life.. lecturer at Sandhurst, Cranfield, brigadier in the Territorial army (the highest rank you could achieve in the Territorials by the way) horsemen, author of 24 books (amongst many of which my favourite is "Redcoat"). I got to meet him afterwards and have to say that he is the same in the flesh as when up on stage... definitely one of the good guys! J

In addition to that, I've also overhauled the War of the Spanish Succession Project and have transferred the content to Blogger. I've also corrected the photo's in the "Assault" post so that you can click on them for a bigger, clearer view...

1 comment:

  1. Steve,

    Thank you very much for the larger WSS pictures. It really helps to be able to see them better . . . lots more detail becomes visible.

    Also sounds like your author's talk was a big hit. I'm glad that you got a chance to hear and meet him.

    -- Jeff