Patrons / Honorary Fellows

About Us: Patrons and Honorary Fellows
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The Trustees and Staff of The Second World War Experience Centre are honoured to have as its Patrons an exceptional list of men and women eminent in the armed services, education and public life whose support has been invaluable in its successful establishment. All perceive the importance of preserving evidence of this most terrible of all conflicts, and their immediate interest re-affirmed our conviction that the Centre has a vital role.

Life President: Dr Peter H. Liddle F.R.Hist.S.
Peter H. Liddle

As a teacher and then lecturer in the 1960's, Peter Liddle developed an interest in using original material and memorabilia to bring history to life for his students. This interest led to the development of the Liddle Collection - a collection of First World War personal experience documentation and memorabilia that took 30 years to build up. The Collection was then given a permanent home by the University of Leeds and documented over 7,000 men and women who had lived through the First World War.

Peter Liddle worked as Keeper of the Liddle Collection for 10 years and during that time became an Associate Lecturer at the School of History and was awarded a PhD by the University on the basis of his published work on the interpretation of documentation of personal experiences in the First World War. Although his work focused on the First World War, he - and others - felt that an archive must be established to play a role in the vital rescue of material relating to the Second World War. Consequently, Peter took early retirement from the University in 1998 to become the Director of The Second World War Experience Centre.

Peter is the author or editor of many books on the First and Second World Wars and has been centrally involved in related television programmes, exhibitions and conferences. The two publications with which he has been involved most recently make extensive use of material from the Centre's archives. They are The Great War 1914-1945: Lightning Strikes Twice (examining points of contrast and comparison in kindred aspects of experience in the two World Wars) and For Five Shillings a Day: Experiencing War 1939-45.

The Marquis of Salisbury attends the Centre's 2001 lecture series.
The Marquis of Salisbury attends the Centre's 2001 lecture series.
Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith

The Marquis of Salisbury PC, DL is a former leader of the House of Lords. Earlier, while MP for Dorset South, he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence, MOD, when he successfully took over the organisation of the Normandy commemorative celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. His father (the late Lord Salisbury) served in the Guards Armoured Division.

Iain Duncan Smith was born in 1954. Iain Duncan Smith has been married to Betsy (nee Fremantle) since 1982, and they have two sons and two daughters. He was educated at HMS Conway and completed a language course at the University of Perugia before attending Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst after which he joined the Scots Guards. After leaving the army, he worked for GEC-Marconi and was a director of a property company before becoming the Publishing Director of Jane's Information Group. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Chingford in April 1992 and for Chingford and Woodford Green in May 1997, and contested the Bradford West seat in the 1987 General Election. In September 2001, at the age of 47, Iain Duncan Smith was elected Leader of the Conservative Party in the first ever ballot of the Party's membership. He was the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence from 1999-2001. From 1997-1999 he was the Shadow Social Security Secretary. In the 1992-97 Parliament membership of committees included the Standards in Public Life (Nolan) Select Committee and the Members' Interests Select Committee. His interests include family, football, rugby, cricket, painting and fishing.

Major-General C. Dair Farrar-Hockley MC, a leading authority on defence and military training, was GOC 2nd Division from 1996 until May 1999. He was commissioned in the Parachute Regiment in 1967, serving in Malta, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. He attended the Army Staff College at Camberley. As Company Commander with the 2nd Parachute Battalion he was involved in the battles of Goose Green and Wireless Ridge in the Falklands War. Subsequently he commanded the 3rd Parachute Battalion, was Special Briefer to the Chief of Staff at SHAPE, commanded 19 Infantry Brigade at Colchester, was Commander of Infantry Training at Warminster, and assisted the Czech Chief of Defence in preparing his country's armed forces for entry into NATO.

The Baroness Flather JP, DL, LLB is currently leading the appeal for Memorial Gates to commemorate the part played in support of the Allies in both World Wars, by service personnel from the Indian Sub-Continent, the West Indies and Africa. Shreela Flather was the first ethnic minority woman to be an elected Councillor in the U.K. and the first Asian woman to hold the office of Mayor (at Windsor and Maidenhead). A Fellow of University College, London, she has served and serves on many national public and charitable bodies of central importance connected with Education, Race Relations, Refugees and Social and Community Affairs.

Sir Denis Forman Kt, OBE, DU, LLD a past Chairman of Granada Television. He served in the Second World War in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from 1940 to 1945. He was a Commandant, The Orkney & Shetland Defences battle school, 1942 and was wounded at Monte Cassino, 1944. Sir Denis's contributions to the British Film and Television Industry, to education and to music have been outstanding. The Centre is honoured to hold Sir Denis's wartime experiences within its archives, including his memoir and photographs. Details about Sir Denis's wartime service can be viewed at War on Land: Allied British.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE. After education at Harrow and RMA Sandhurst, Lord Guthrie was commissioned into the Welsh Guards in 1959. He served in BAOR and Aden, with 22 SAS Regiment, and went on to hold battalion, brigade and divisional commands, including with the Welsh Guards, 4th Armoured Brigade, and was Commander-in-Chief BAOR. Lord Guthrie was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff in 1997 and retired from that post in 2001. He has been ADC General to HM The Queen and has been Colonel of The Life Guards since 1999. He is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers.

Dr Diana Henderson at the Centre's 2002 Edinburgh lecture
Dr Diana Henderson at the Centre's 2002 Edinburgh lecture
Admiral Sir John Kerr at the official launch of the Centre in 1999
Admiral Sir John Kerr at the official launch of the Centre in 1999

Dr Diana M Henderson PhD, LLB, TD lives and works in Edinburgh. She is at present the Director of Development at St George's School for Girls, an independent school with 950 students located in the City. Diana is a graduate in Scots Law from Strathclyde University and in Scottish Military History from the University of Edinburgh. She was commissioned into the Women's Royal Army Corps in 1970 and during her service career she gained the rank of Lt Colonel and commanded a regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. She is the author of a number of books and articles on Scottish Military History. Dr Henderson is also the Research Director of Scots at War, a web based military history programme with a substantial audience. In addition she regularly lectures, teaches and advises throughout the world on the subject of military history.

Admiral Sir John Kerr GCB, DL became, in 1998, Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission responsible for graves in over 20,000 cemeteries and churchyards world-wide; he is also a Commissioner of the Museums and Galleries Commission. During his active service in the Navy (until 1994), he commanded a frigate, a guided missile destroyer and an aircraft carrier and had command of various task groups; ashore, his appointments - principally in the MOD - were involved in strategy, policy, resource allocation, future equipment allocation and intelligence, finishing as Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.

The Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen has been the 10th Secretary General of NATO since August 1999. He was Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom from 1997-1999 and Member of Parliament from 1978-1999. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1978, and throughout his five re-elections he was appointed various roles including Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Social Services (1979), Opposition Spokesman (after the 1979 General Election) on Scottish Affairs, then on Defence, and on Foreign Affairs from 1982 to 1993. He became Chief Spokesman on Europe in 1983 and served as the principal Opposition Spokesman on Scotland in the Shadow Cabinet from 1983-1997. After the 1997 General Election, Prime Minister Blair appointed him Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom, a position he held until his departure in October 1999. He is a former Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party, was Vice-Chairman of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, served as Vice-Chairman of the British Council for nine years and was Vice-Chairman of the Britain/Russia Centre. He was on the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) where he now serves as Joint President. He is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, an Honorary Vice-President of the British German Association and a Trustee of the 21st Century Trust. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Order of Merit by the Federal German President in 1991 and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania in 2000, and was named joint Parliamentarian of the Year in 1993 for his role during the Maastricht Treaty ratification. He is Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish (Volunteers). He has been awarded several Honorary Doctorates, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Elder Brother of Trinity House. He is married to Sandra, and has three children. His hobbies include photography, golf and reading.

Professor Dennis Showalter of the University of Colorado has occupied numerous highly prestigious visiting military history lecturing posts (including, recently, Distinguished Visiting Professor, the US Military Academy). He is President of the American Military History Society. His published works include: The Wars of Frederick the Great; Tannenberg: Clash of Empires, and Little Man What Now?: Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic. He is currently working on German military history and lectured about the American Army in 1918, at the Leeds University Conference on the Armistice in November 1998.

Nicholas Soames
Nicholas Soames

Nicholas Soames has been a Conservative Member of Parliament since 1983. He was an Agriculture Minister from 1992-1994 and Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 1994-1997. Educated at Eton, he was in the Army (11th Hussars) from 1967-1972 and subsequently Equerry to HRH The Prince of Wales KG. After working in Financial Services in the City of London he was on the staff of a United States Senator in Washington D.C. for nearly two and a half years. Following the 1997 General Election he became a member of the Executive of the 1922 Committee. He takes a keen interest in defence, foreign affairs, trade and industry and the countryside. Nicholas Soames is Chairman of the Framlington Second Dual Trust and the Property Merchant Group and a Director of Asprey & Garrard Limited. He is a Senior Vice President of MMC and an adviser to a number of other companies. He is a Trustee of the Amber Foundation and he is a member of the Court of the University of Sussex. Married with two sons and a daughter, he is also the son of Lord Soames, a former Leader of the House of Lords, Ambassador to France, British Commissioner in Brussels and the last Governor of Southern Rhodesia. Nicholas Soames is the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.

Honorary Fellows

Honorary Fellowships are intended to acknowledge individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the Second World War in the widest sense, and have or will support the aims and work of the Centre through the contribution of work for publication, lectures or significant archival material and financial assistance, leading to the enhancement of the Centre's reputation as an organisation of historical and academic significance.

Richard Campbell Begg MBBCh., DObst., RCOG, DPH, DIH, MCCM was born in New Zealand in 1924 and educated there, and in South Africa, to which the family immigrated in 1937. He matriculated in 1939 and worked as a junior clerk at the Chamber of mines in Johannesburg, leaving in June 1941 to join the Royal Navy. Richard spent six months training as a Special Entry Cadet at Dartmouth Naval College and then went to sea as a Midshipman serving in the cruisers Norfolk, Kent and then the Destroyer Orwell in the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow. Operations included a number of Russian convoys starting with the ill-fated PQ 17, patrols in the Denmark Straits north of Iceland, Operation Torch and escorting the Queen Mary with Mr Churchill onboard to Canada. In June 1944 as a Sub Lieutenant and then as a Lieutenant, he served in the destroyer HMS Paladin as navigator and signals officer. The Paladin was attached to the East Indies Fleet, which was based at Trincomalee in Ceylon. In October 1945 the Paladin returned to the United Kingdom but Lieutenant Begg remained behind as a Watch-keeping Officer in the Destroyer Depot Ship HMS Woolwich and finally in May 1946 returned to South Africa where his application to resign his commission was finally accepted in October of that year.

Richard qualified as a medical practitioner in 1952, and then in 1953 returned to New Zealand where he practiced as a General Practitioner for a number of years before specialising into Public Health where he worked in various parts of the country as Medical Officer of Health, eventually being appointed Director of the newly formed Division of Health Promotion at the Head Office of the Health Department in Wellington. He retired in 1986. His association with Dr Peter Liddle commenced in the early nineties and Richard tape-records interviews with Veterans from New Zealand for the Centre. He is married to Margaret and has five children and now nine grandchildren.

Brigadier General Dr James J. Cooke
Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Mississippi and former Visiting Professor of History and Strategy at the US Air Force War College.
As the author of many books on 20th century war history, James Cooke has collaborated with both Peter Liddle and Hugh Cecil in historical works and is a contributor to the Centre's journal, Everyone's War. Associated with the Centre since its inception, he has donated many sets of documents to the collection covering US Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force, as well as the Home Front. Professor Cooke is a valued supporter of the Centre's aims in the United States.

Professor Richard Overy after his lecture on the Nazi Elite in Allied Hands
Professor Richard Overy after his lecture on the Nazi Elite in Allied Hands.

Professor Richard Overy
Professor of Modern History at King's College London.
Professor Overy is the author of some 17 major works in war studies including The Air War 1939-45, Goering, Why the Allies Won, Russia's War, The Battle and more recently, Interrogations. He lectured on the latter at the Centre's 2001 Lecture Series at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. His peers acknowledge him as a first-class military historian and a world-class scholar. In addition he proved a persuasive advocate of the value of the Centre's work when one of our applications to a charitable foundation was called in for peer-review. As a result the Centre secured a substantial donation to fund the development of the Website. We are sure that Richard Overy is the first of many eminent British academics who recognise the value of the collection being assembled by the Second World War Experience Centre and who actively promote and support our aims and objectives.

Ken Pugh has been elected by the trustees as an Honorary Fellow in recognition of his consistently supportive involvement in the Centre's development. Ken has facilitated our work in many ways, the actual move from the centre of Leeds to Horsforth, its computer equipment, sponsorship of the D-Day issue of the journal and its need for off site museum approved storage. Ken's passion for restored military vehicles and for bringing to children at least some knowledge of the war have made him an ideal partner. He hopes to be able to open his considerable and growing collection of material relating to the American Army in Europe during the second world war, to a wider audience, as a means of continuing to ensure that at least ‘some’ of what happened is ‘known’.

Graham Stow
Graham Stow

Graham Stow FCIB, FCIPD was a Member and first Chairman of the Board of Trustees until April 2002 when he decided to step down due to increasing work commitments, not least his appointment as Chairman of the Building Societies Association. Graham rejoined as a Trustee from 2003 until November 2006. Graham is a former Territorial Army Officer and a frequent - and popular - lecturer on war history topics, notably about Arnhem. He is a former member of the Court of Leeds University, and through this he came to hear of Peter Liddle's work in the Liddle Collection, of which he is a long-standing supporter. In 1996 he took up post as Chief Executive of Britannia Building Society and previous to that he was a former Main Board Director of ASDA plc. He has now taken office as High Sheriff of Staffordshire. The Centre’s Trustees have recognized his energetic leadership and wise council thereafter, by awarding him an honorary fellowship.

David Talbot working on his father, Godfrey Talbot's diaries
David Talbot working on his father, Godfrey Talbot's diaries

David Talbot MA (Cantab) Cert Ed
Retired education professional
David Talbot graduated in History from Trinity College, Cambridge after National Service in the Royal Air Force. He taught History and Economics in Suffolk, Sussex and at St Luke's College, Exeter and subsequently became Assistant Director of Education for two London boroughs. David Talbot donated an important collection of wartime documents, comprising letters, diaries, photographs and official papers to the Centre relating to his late father, the BBC War Correspondent, Godfrey Talbot. He has also made a major contribution to the Centre's library by donating over a hundred books. As a Centre volunteer he is actively involved in developing the collection and has personally interviewed on tape over three hundred men and women. His intellectual, practical and emotional commitment to the Centre's aims has also been evidenced by a significant financial contribution.