In Foreign Fields

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This is just a quick post to make an initial mention of a book I’m publishing in early November called In Foreign Fields, which I hope will be of interest to some Arrsers (and, indeed, the wider public).

Thanks to Mr Happy for giving me permission to mention it.

The book is a series of interviews with medal winners from Iraq and Afghanistan; there’s no politics and very little editorialising by me (just an initial introduction and then occasional explanatory paragraphs) – it’s just 25 people talking about the actions that led to their awards. (All I did really was steer the conversation and take out the repetition and some of the ums and ahs.)

Interviewing them was an amazing and very humbling experience and their stories are amazing.

It is, obviously, a commercial project (and I know that Arrsers tend to hate commercial stuff on the site, quite rightly) but just to say that I am donating half of my writing and editing fee (ongoing for every book sold) to SSAFA and that we have also taken paid-for ads on Arrse.

The interviews cover the period from the initial invasion to recent times in Afghanistan.

The MoD assisted us in locating and contacting the interviewees (after some initial help from Arrsers – several of the interviewees actually are Arrsers), and checked the manuscript for accuracy and security, but there’s been no censorship. We were contractually unable to pay any fee to any of the interviewees or anyone else - though I don't think any of them would have taken one - so decided to make the SSAFA donation instead.

We have involvement from all three services but, obviously given the situation, the great majority of the interviewees are Army.

The interviewees are (in chronological order):

Lieutenant Ollie Campbell, MC (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers)

Lieutenant Chris Head, MC (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers)

Sergeant Mark Heley, MC (Royal Engineers)

Lieutenant Simon Farebrother, MC (Queen’s Dragoon Guards)

Lance Corporal Justin Thomas, CGC (Royal Marines)

Corporal Of Horse Glynn Bell, MC (Blues and Royals)

Corporal Shaun Jardine, CGC (King’s Own Scottish Borderers)

Lance Corporal Chris Balmforth, MC (Queen’s Royal Hussars)

Major Justin Featherstone, MC (Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment)

Warrant Officer Class 2 Mark Evans, MC (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Sergeant Chris Broome, CGC (Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment)

Lance Corporal Darren Dickson, MC (Royal Logistic Corps, Territorial Army)

Sergeant Terry Bryan, CGC (Royal Horse Artillery)

Corporal Terry Thomson, CGC (Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment)

Colour Sergeant Matt Tomlinson, CGC (Royal Marines)

Captain Simon Bratcher, MC (Royal Logistic Corps)

Major James Woodham, MC (Royal Anglian Regiment)

Colour Sergeant James Harkess, CGC (Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment)

Private Michelle Norris, MC (Royal Army Medical Corps)

Wing Commander Sammy Sampson, DSO (Royal Air Force)

Flight Lieutenant Matt Carter, MC (RAF Regiment)

Lt Hugo Farmer, CGC (Parachute Regiment)

Lance Corporal Of Horse Andrew Radford, CGC (Life Guards)

Major Mark Hammond, DFC (Royal Marines)

Lieutenant Tim Illingworth, CGC (Light Infantry/The Rifles)

The book will be published on November 19 and will be in all good bookstores, on Amazon and is also available here.

A full image of the cover is at our blog, here; the front cover shows Royal Marines in recent action in Afghanistan, and the back cover extracted words from some of the interviews.

Thanks for your time all.

Dan Collins.
I'm actually going to buy this one. I work in the book industry so tend to get books free, but I'm going to make an exception here. :salut:
Pleasure Mr H and thanks Supermark.
I was thinking of offering say five Arrse readers a free copy for review purposes, in a cynical attempt to get some positive feedback.
If anyone is interested in reading it and reviewing it (obviously no strings attached, be as critical as you like and if you hate it, say so) please PM me and I'll send copies to the first five people?

Mr Happy

bung a tenner inside the front cover and post the book with a 4 pack of strongbow and 20 rothmans and I'm sure you'll have some pretty good reviews...
Just a quick note to say that the Daily Mail is carrying the story of Colour Sergeant Chris Broome CGC (1PWRR) today - link here for anyone interested in reading.
Chris was one of the most impressive interviewees in a very impressive list. What it doesn't say in the article - where it talks about his court martial - is that his CO, Col Matt Maer, said of him: ‘This is a man who repeatedly, in the face of mortal danger, put his life before that of his soldiers. If I was to command Colour Sgt Broome again, I would consider it an honour.’
Got the Book today, thanks NSB, very good indeed so far, I'll phone you later on in week Dan.
Nice to see that you have included a TA MC winner
The TA bloke, Darren Dickson, actually got shot during the action for which he won his award. Was sent back to the UK but badgered his CO to be able to come back out again to finish the tour, which I thought was quite impressive.

I've had a few people emailing and ringing about the best way to buy the book.

The cheapest way will be via Amazon or Amazon is currently saying 'available in 4-6 weeks' but this is going to change imminently. They have a lot of stock in their warehouse now.

You can order direct from us but it is more expensive (we'll send out in 24 hrs).

Alternatively it is in every Waterstones and Borders (or should be), and most of the major independent shops.

Doesn't matter how you buy, SSAFA will still get the same amount (5% of cover price).


Just got my copy today. Can't wait for the train home to read it tonight.

If you don't see it in your local bookshop then ask them for it. Most places will order it for you and if it isn't there in a day or two will give it to you half price.

Mr Happy

supermark500 said:
Just got my copy today. Can't wait for the train home to read it tonight.
If you don't see it in your local bookshop then ask them for it. Most places will order it for you and if it isn't there in a day or two will give it to you half price.
Dan's forward at the front of the book - a the cost of sounding like a fawning twat - is a very well written humble few paragraphs that nicely put the book in context and his reasons for writing it. Reading it sets the scene for the rest of the book and I fear Super500 you'll just want to travel to the end of the line so you can keep reading..

I haven't read too much further, just the first few 'actions'.
Certainly have now read it twice, glad to see its out on the streets now, id agree about the opening paragraphs, and very nice to see and read.
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