Monday, 15 August 2022

British Modern Military History Society

FORMED in 2019, the society organises monthly talks for anyone interested in military history over the last 200 years from Nelson’s times to the present day.

These are top quality talks given by writers, academics, former military personnel and experts in their field and with a wide variety of topics.

We are based at Woodcote village hall and can accommodate up to 100 people at each talk in pleasant surroundings, offering a warm and welcoming evening out.

We have now been able to resume live meetings in the hall but are also continuing our monthly Zoom talks.

Our next Zoom talk is on Tuesday, April 5 at 7.30pm when Patrick Mercer will speak on “The Indian Mutiny”.

With Victorian eyes barely lifted from the Crimean Campaign, Britain was shocked to the core by the mutiny of the Bengal army, a crisis that was unequalled in the Queen’s reign.

While the reasons for the uprising were complex and diverse, the Crown’s response was simple: overwhelming brutality.

Now, while the bloody operations around Meerut, Delhi, Cawnpore and Lucknow are well known, one of the few touches of romance occurred in the latter part of the campaign around the exotic, mystical fortresses of Gwalior and Kalpi.

It was here that the beautiful, glamorous, gallant Mahratta queen, the Rhani of Jhansi, gave Sir Hugh Rose and his Central India Field Force a run for their money.

With the uprising in its death throes, the Rhani and her followers breathed life into it for one last time and almost got away with it.

Patrick has tramped over these far-off, almost forgotten battlefields and has seen how the Rhani lives to this day.

By his own confession, the speaker has an obsession with military history.

Having read modern history at Oxford, he served in the army for 25 years, mostly in Northern Ireland, Uganda and Bosnia, before leaving to become the defence correspondent for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and then an MP.

In 2014 he returned to his first love, military history.

Widely travelled over many of the British army’s most dramatic battlefields, he is credited with being the first Briton to return to the Crimean battlefields in 1993. Since then, he has shared his experience and enthusiasm with many people.

He has written extensively on the Crimea and the Italian Campaign of 1943 to 1945 and has had a trilogy of historical novels published as well as a litany of magazine articles.

Once you have registered on our website,, the Zoom link will be emailed to you on the day of the talk.

The next meeting in the hall will be on Wednesday, April 13 at 7.30pm when Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry will speak on “From the sea, freedom: the Falklands conflict”. He will combine both historical and personal insights to describe the extraordinarily complex and difficult operation of this conflict.

Final success on land in the Falklands War would not have been possible without the ability to deploy and sustain forces over a distance of 8,000 miles or without the maritime and air capability to deter, disrupt and destroy Argentinian forces.

Dr Parry CBE PhD read modern history at Jesus College Oxford and then spent 36 years in the Royal Navy as an aviator and warfare officer.

He commanded the destroyer HMS Gloucester, the amphibious assault ship HMS Fearless, the UK’s amphibious task group and the Maritime Warfare Centre.

He experienced regular operational tours and combat operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf and the Falklands, where he rescued 16 SAS troopers from a glacier during a hurricane in South Georgia and disabled the Argentinian submarine Santa Fe.

His Falklands War diary was published as the best- selling Down South in 2012.

Now he runs his own strategic forecasting and trouble-shooting company, advising governments and companies.

If you would like to join us, then please book your seat in advance by emailing us on

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