About me

I am a successful writer on aviation and modern military matters, and have a substantial number of authoritative titles to my credit. I am also a specialist military editor who improves the accuracy of the edited text and introduces a ‘value added’ dimension while at the same time enhancing the overall readability of the edited work.

I was born at Adlington Hall near Macclesfield in Cheshire during December 1945 and spent most of my early childhood in East Africa, where my father was an officer in the Colonial Service. I returned to the UK for my secondary education at The King’s School, Canterbury (1959-64) and then higher education at Oriel College, Oxford (1964-68). At Oxford I gained my degree in Literae Humaniores (otherwise known as ‘Greats’ and involving Greek and Latin language, ancient history and philosophy), and was also heavily involved in various aspects of my college’s rowing club as an oarsman and coach.

Aviation in particular and military matters in general have been a passion ever since I was given my first model aeroplane kit at about the age of 11. After taking my degree I moved to London as an assistant editor on the Purnell partworks History of the Second World War (1968-69) and History of the First World War (1969-72), and on the completion of the latter I moved to Orbis Publishing as editor of the partwork World War II (1972-74). As this partwork approached its conclusion, I decided on a half-shift of career direction to become a freelance writer and editor.

I lived at first in London, but married in 1978 and moved to Lincolnshire. It was while living there that Clarinda and I had our two sons, Robert and Timothy, and as the younger of these approached the end of his university career we decided in 2001 to move farther from London for considerably better quality of life. After considering Northumberland, we finally opted for Sutherland in the extreme north-west of Scotland. Here I continue to write extensively on military and aviation subjects, and have also contributed as editor and writer to the partworks The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft, War Machine, Warplane, Take-Off, World Aircraft Information Files and World Weapons, and to the magazine World Air Power Journal. In more recent years I became involved in the creation of a five-disk CR-ROM series covering the majority of the world’s military aircraft from World War I to the present, and also in the writing of scripts for a number of video cassettes, TV programmes and DVD programmes.

  • More than 90 books as sole author, many of them into multiple editions and co-editions, including more than 50 on aviation subjects
  • More than 15 co-authored books, including 10 on aviation subjects
  • Writer of historical narrative and technical database for a five-disk History of Warplanes CD-ROM series
  • Writer of numerous video cassette and DVD programmes on military and aviation matters for companies such as the Allegro Corporation, i|m|p and Arts Magic
  • Writer of scripts for several TV programmes on military and aviation matters
  • Writer of A-Z ‘All the World’s Aircraft’ section in Aerospace/Bright Star World Aircraft Information Files partwork (and now its offshoots for the Polish and Soviet markets
  • Contributing editor to a number of books on naval, military and aviation matters
  • Contributing writer to numerous partworks concerned with military history and technology
  • Writer of several continuity card sets on aircraft for publishers such as Agostini, Del Prado, Eaglemoss, Edito-Service and Osprey
  • Major ongoing projects: Codenames of World War II (currently more than 4,500 listed) and a database of the world’s aircraft (currently more than 6,750 types listed)