I must start with an apology. I had hoped to be able to produce a full programme of ‘War Talks’ from September 2018 to March 2019 by the end of July, but unfortunately a combination of a complicated conclusion to my assignment at the First Battalion, Scots Guards, research and preparation for a guiding opportunity at Amiens100, and my work on the Adaptability JCN for DCDC have somewhat delayed the arrangements and hence the programme. Instead, I thought I’d outline the few Talks I have been able to formalise, and then talk about the speakers who have been kind enough to agree to speak but with whom I have yet to formalise firm dates.
Our first firm speaker will be Professor Jim Storr, a former infantry officer, independent defence analyst, and Professor of Defence Studies at the Norwegian Military Academy. Jim will speak on Tuesday, 25th September 2018 on the subject of his new book, ‘The Hall of Mirrors’, a study of warfare in the twentieth century. Our next speaker will be Emily Knowles, the Director of the Remote Warfare Programme of the Oxford Research Group, who will speak on the subject of ‘Remote Warfare: Lessons Learned from Contemporary Conflict’ on Monday, 8th October 2018. On Monday, 19th November 2018, ‘War Talks’ goes ‘on the Road’ in conjunction with the Tonbridge First World War Talks initiative. Our speaker, Maj Gen (Ret’d) Mungo Melvin CB OBE, a former President of the British Commission for Military History and Associate Senior Fellow at RUSI, will speak on the subject of his current book, ‘Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin‘. Our next confirmed speaker, Dr William Sheehan, is one of Ireland’s foremost military historians and will speak on the subject of ‘The Evolution of British Tactics during the Irish War of Independence 1919-21’ on Tuesday, 4th December 2018. Our final confirmed speaker, on Thursday 7th February 2019, will be Dr Mike Martin, an Army Reservist and author, who will speak on the subject of his book, ‘Why We Fight’. With the exception of Gen Melvin’s talk, all the Talks in 2018 will take place at the Aldershot Military Museum, it has yet to be decided where the Talks will be held in 2019.
I am currently discussing dates with several other speakers which will considerably fill-out the programme, in addition if readers have any other speakers they would like to hear, please let me know. In no particular order, I am hoping that Maj Gen (Ret’d) Craig Lawrence CBE, the Director of the Royal College of Defence Studies, will be able to speak to us on Strategy, perhaps aboard HMS Victory in mid-September 2018. Dr Richard Duckett, will speak on the subject of ‘The Special Operations Executive in Burma’ during the Autumn Half-Term. Dr Stuart Griffin, a Reader in Strategic Studies at King’s College London, will speak on the subject of his latest research into innovation and operational art; I am hoping he will be available to speak in late November 2018. I am also looking forward to hearing Brig (Ret’d) Allan Mallinson speak on a subject of his choosing either in early November 2018 or late January 2019. Finally, I am extremely pleased that Dr Vanda Wilcox, Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at the John Cabot University in Rome, has kindly agreed to speak to us on the subject of her book, ‘Morale and the Italian Army during the First World War’.
This programme of Talks, taking us through to our second anniversary, should mean that we will have delivered almost forty talks in two years. This year’s topics are deliberately diverse and aim at giving servicemen informal professional military education opportunities delivered by academic experts and practitioners. In this next season, we will discuss innovation, future war, historical war, morale and leadership, all of which are central to the current development of Defence. Currently, we only plan two ‘On the Road’ Talks, one at Portsmouth and a second at Tonbridge, however, it is very likely that some of the other Talks may be delivered away from our home in Aldershot, I look forward to hearing your opinions.