Book launch

The other day I held my book launch and table sale at my local church hall. Whilst not as many people turned up as I hoped for it was still a success.

Here are a few pictures from my launch

Thanks for reading 🙂

9/11 20th anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 one of the worst terrorist attacks in which nearly 3000 people died. Remembering all those who lost their lives or were injured in the tragic events and their families along with the hero emergency service people.

Here is a poem I wrote especially for the anniversary

Thanks for reading 🙂

Book review

A while ago after discovering that SOE agent Diana Rowden was a distant relative of mine, an article appeared in my local paper about SOE training at Beaulieu. I contacted the author of the article who it turned out gives talks at Beaulieu about the training that happened at Beaulieu and he recommended the following books

I had never heard of Diana prior to discovering she was a distant relative and she appears to be not as well known as other SOE agents. The book details her life prior to war, her training and her time as an SOE agent and subsequent death and whilst it obviously had greater significance for me due to her being a relative, it’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in the war and soe agents

I was amazed when I read that Diana trained at Beaulieu as it is only a few miles from where I live and somewhere I drive past frequently.after finding this out I obviously wanted to know more about what went on at Beaulieu and the type of training that took place there and this is the perfect book as it gives a great in depth insight into how it was run, the staff/instructors, the acclamation and the training that took place

Would definitely recommend these books for anyone interested in the war and in particular about soe agents

Thanks for reading 🙂

Siblings who served

Recently whilst researching my relatives I came across a family where 8 siblings served in ww1, of which only four made it back alive

Edmund and Mary Maxwell-Stuart had 7 sons and four daughters of which two daughters and 6 sons served in the First World War.

Francis was the eldest son and served with the East Riding Yorkshire Yeomanry in ww1 and then with the Royal Engineers in ww2.

Henry was the second eldest son and would be the third brother to be killed in action. He initially joined the Rhodesian rifle corps as he was living in Rhodesia at the time but when this was disbanded he returned to England and served with the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards. He was killed on 9th October 1917 aged 30 during the Battle of Poecappelle

Marcia was the third daughter and served as a VAD attached to Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service and served on the western front from November 1915 to December 1917.

Emily served as a sister with the British committee part of the French Red Cross serving from March 1915 to July 1917.

The third son Edmund, named after his father, initially joined the East Yorkshire regiment before being transferred to the 175th tunnelling company the Royal Engineers and was killed by shell fire on 26th April 1916 aged 23. His death came about 7 weeks after his younger brother was killed

William served with the Royal Sussex Regiment and served in Gallipoli

Joseph was the first of the brothers to be killed. He served with 9th battalion Duke of Wellingtons West Riding regiment and was killed on 2nd March 1917 aged just 19.

Alfred was the second youngest son and was the last of the brothers to be killed. He served with the Coldstream Guards and was was taking part in the Battle of Albert when he was wounded on 21st august 1918 and subsequently died 3 days later aged 20.

The war service did not end there for the family. The youngest son Philip who was too young to serve in ww1 served with the Royal Artillery in ww2 and became a Japanese prisoner of war. whilst he survived the war he suffered from health problems the rest of his life due to his time spent as a POW.

In 1920 a memorial to the four brothers who died was unveiled in Arundel which was later amended to include Philip after his death

A truly remarkable family

Thanks for reading 🙂

Afghanistan crisis

With Afghanistan in the news a lot lately here is a poem I’ve written for the Afghan people

We’re seeing on the news, pictures and reports on Afghanistan

A country in turmoil, now it’s been taken over by the Taliban

All we feel is sympathy, for the people and families in plight

A country where not so long ago, our troops were sent to fight

Where women were allowed to work and children could go to school

All that could be changed, now that the Tabilan rule

The way of life Afghans knew is gone, their lives won’t be the same

Fleeing to the airport is their only option, in the hope they’ll get transport on a plane

Fleeing from a country, that is now a war zone

Fleeing from their lives and the place they call home

Leaving behind all their belongings and with just the clothes they wear

Reaching a place of safety, is their only care

Clinging to the planes, in their desperation to flee

Hoping for a fresh start, beginning life as a refugee


Thanks for reading 🙂

VJ Day

Today marks 76 years since Japan surrendered effectively ending World War Two. Here is a poem I wrote for the 75th anniversary last year which obviously still relates.

thinking particularly of three of my relatives who were prisoners of war in the Far East and sadly died whilst in captivity.

Major General Merton Beckwith Smith who was commanding the 18th division. He was captured in Singapore, transported to Taiwan as part of the Special Party of Senior Officers on August 16th 1942 and died of Diphtheria in Karenko POW Camp on 11/11/42.

Trooper Edwin Gregory of the 18th Division Reece Battalion (5th Loyal Regiment). He left River Valley Road Camp, Singapore on 9/10/42, and became part of Work Group 4, 10(C) Battalion on the Thai-Burma Railway. He was taken ill at Tonchan South Camp on 30/6/43, and died on 9/7/43 of cholera. His father had been killed in action during ww1 when Edwin was just a baby.

Lance Corporal Albert Edward Prior of the 18th Division, Corps of Military Police. He left Changi POW Camp as part of F Force on 24/4/43, Train 7, the first British train and worked on the Thai-Burma Railway in the Changaraya area. He was taken ill at Kami Songkurai Camp on 4/8/43, and died 12/11/43 of dysentery.

Thanks for reading 🙂

War display project

I am already looking ahead to Remembrance Day and my next project.

Firstly I am hoping that last years project which was a giant poppy with names of local people who died, will be put up at the church again as due to covid restrictions not many people sweet able to see it.

This year I hope to hire my local hall and do a display of all my war memorabilia along with information on either local people who died or my Hampshire relatives who died in the war.

I will also be selling my war poetry books and bookmarks and making some knitted and felt poppy keyrings and brooches as well as a raffle to raise money for an armed forces charity

Thanks for reading 🙂

Silk postcards

I love collecting ww1/2 silk postcards, particularly ones with flags, butterflies, animals on or ones relating to regiments as well as more unusual ones and so far have around 150 in my collection. I thought I would share some of my latest acquisitions

Thanks for reading 🙂

Book launch

At long last I am finally having a book launch for the six books I have written in the past year and a half and which I haven’t been able to have a launch for due to covid. I will be selling and signing all my books and combining it with selling some poetry related gifts as well as some of my handmade crafts.

So if you are near Everton Village in Hampshire or near Lymington and the New Forest on 11th September please feel free to pop along – details below

Thanks for reading 🙂

Jersey Military Museum

2 years ago I visited a military museum in St Ouen in Jersey which is housed in a German bunker overlooking the sea. Whilst it is a small museum it is a fascinating one full of German military artefacts and civilian items relating to the German occupation that happened in Jersey. Here are some photos from my trip and it is well worth a visit if you are in the area

Thanks for reading 🙂