Image courtesy of the BBC
Jack Livesey - The Man (In his own words)
From Livesey's bio page (www.jacklivesey.com/aboutjack.htm):
Jack Livesey became interested in military history at an early age. At sixteen, armed with bike, tent and sketchpad, he cycled through Normandy exploring and drawing the fortifications, and the fascination of the Normandy campaigns has never left him.
Discouraged from his original ambition to work for the Imperial War Museum, he joined the Army, where, thanks to his shooting skills, he found himself in the Parachute Regiment. This was his life for the next twenty years, including five tours of duty in Northern Ireland, where he won the MM, and the Falklands War, where he served with the 2nd Battalion.
Jack's plans for a career after leaving the Army were shattered by an accident that broke his back. After a long struggle to walk again, he finally joined the Imperial War Museum at its Duxford branch: first as a volunteer and later as a permanent member of staff, where his knowledge of military history, military vehicles and weaponry was invaluable. On leaving the museum in 2006, he started a new career as a freelance military historian and researcher.
- HM Forces, 2nd Parachute Battalion, 1972-1994 MM, GSM, UNEF and SAM
- Military historian for the Imperial War Museum, 1998-2006
- Military vehicle and weapons specialist for the Imperial War Museum, 1998-2006
- Joint Services Photographic Intelligence Instructor, 1999-present
- Soviet military vehicle instructor for HM Forces, 1990-1992
NB - All of these claims were either false, or greatly exaggerated. Also note that in the image above he's wearing the UN Force In Cyprus medal, but on his own website, he claimed the UN Emergency Force Medal - outright impossible for him to have earned.
Livesey penned the following:
- Death in the Falaise Gap (The History Press, August 2009)
- Modern Armored Fighting Vehicles (Southwater, January 2008)
- Modern Armoured Fighting Vehicles: From 1946 to the Present Day
- Armored Fighting Vehicles of World Wars I and II (Southwater, October 2007)
- The World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles (Lorenz, June 2006)
- The World Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles (With George Forty. Lorenz, May 2007)
He also claims to have 'advised' on the following:
- D-Day to Berlin by Andrew Williams (BBC Books)
- The Bomber War by Robin Neillands (John Murray)
- Blue Man Falling [novel] by Frank Barnard (Headline)
... and created the maps for the following:
- D-Day Experience by Richard Holmes (Carlton Books)
- Victory in Europe by Julian Thompson (Carlton Books)
What follows is abridged from Livesey's personal website, now sadly defunct - and expanded to feature personal anecdotes and general pisstaking for purposes of fun and japery:
Jack Livesey became interested in military history at an early age. At sixteen, armed with bike, hand-cream and a dog-eared copy of Razzle he cycled through Normandy masturbating furiously over the fortifications, and the unhealthy fascination with concrete has never left him.
To Serve... down McDonald's?
Discouraged from his original ambition to be God, he joined the Army, where, thanks to his skills with the spatula, he found himself in the Army Catering Corps. Nobody beat him in the kitchen. He won the respect of his peers, striking a tyrannical superior officer, yet causing him to be subject a Court Martial.
He received his big break and the gratitude of a nation by saving Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, from a horde of French soldiers using only his wanking arm and a sack of mouldy potatoes. By way of thanks, and taking into account his expert marksmanship with the little-known laser-sighted SLR (so accurate that it was banned by the Geneva Convention), he was snapped up by the elite Imaginary Air Assault Brigade.
Oh So Ally
This was his life for the next twenty years, including five tours of duty in Cloud Fucking Cuckoo Land, where he won the MM (Mong Medal, not the Military Medal), and the Peter Falk-lands War, where he served with the 2nd Battalion, the Martian Light Dragoons. He only has a replica set of medals, because his ex-wife threw away the originals - and presumably, erased all records of him ever having received them/served in a fighting unit at all (see London Gazette, For Bravery in the Field, SAMA, PCAU, Paradata.org and so on).
Jack's plans for a career after leaving the Army were shattered by the realisation that he'd day-dreamed most of his service history. And he broke his back, or something. After a long struggle to remember which leg to limp on, he finally joined the Imperial War Museum at its Duxford branch: first as a volunteer and later conning his way onto the permanent staff, where his knowledge of military history, military vehicles and weaponry was invaluable in his role... as a fucking secretary. If he was good, they'd let him show people the tanks and 'fact' them until they farted.
Loose in the Community
On leaving the museum in 2006 having somehow acquired the status of 'Curator' , 'military historian', and 'man of good character', he started a new career as a freelance know-it-all and all-round bluffer.
Jack's military knowledge and interests would put Richard Holmes to shame. Actually, they may well do just that, when Holmes realises that the organisation of which he is president, has admitted a man of Livesey's calibre. Armoured vehicles and artillery are a particular turn-on, while his wide knowledge of fortifications has given him the nickname 'Captain Concrete' amongst his imaginary friends. His first-hand military experiences reading Alistair MacLean one-handed somehow give him insight into the role of the soldier in 20th century military operations generally.
He has appeared on television as a plausible-enough looking 'character' on a regular basis, spewing forth on topics including fortifications, armoured vehicles, armaments and major battles of the twentieth century.
The uncritical media gravy train has been good to him, casting him as what you might term a 'talking arse' on the Battlefield Detectives programmes on Arnhem, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and the Battle of Britain, on 'War Winning Weapons' and on the series The Ultimate Military Weapons. He has also redefined what it means to be a 'historical advisor' (to mean 'telling people stuff whether they want or need it or not') on the series D-Day to Berlin for the BBC and the accompanying book.
Jack was bikini advisor for the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan and for various homoerotic scenes in Band of Brothers, all sadly absent from the final cuts due to being figments of Jack's imagination.
Jack is fond of telling the story of being called by Tom Hanks himself for advice. So the fact that the actual advisor for these productions, Captain Dale Dye, USMC (Ret), has (quote) 'Never heard of him', can surely be overlooked. What's that over there? A badger, with a gun, can you see?
His most recent (and real) film work is Flyboys, released June 2007 in the UK, where he was the main military history advisor for the whole film. And boy, does it show.
Writing on the Walls
Prior to publishing a work of his own, Jack has been a military advisor on a number of books, including D-Day to Berlin, mentioned above, and The Bomber War, by Robin Neillands, published by John Murray.
He also created the maps for D-Day Experience by Richard Holmes, and Victory in Europe by Julian Thompson, both published by Carlton Books, although said company deny this - and strangely it seems only the copies in his local library feature his 'input' and this is difficult to view due to all of the pages being stuck together. He has been working with Aeroplane Monthly on a forthcoming article on the V-1 flying bomb.
For a taster of the level of scholarship, cheerful ignorance of academic convention, and unintentionally Freudian turn of phrase, see this saucy little piece with its Nazi rockets 'in danger of detonating prematurely...[in] an accident outside causing a maelstrom of explosions inside' that were 'just too large for the internal space' of those tight French 'bunkers', and how the Germans receiving them 'had to wear a form of body corset to keep their internal organs from moving around and causing internal injuries'.
And I'm spent. Wonderful stuff. You don't get that with A.J.P. Taylor.
His first book-shaped paperweight, The World Encyclopaedia of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, was published by Lorenz in June 2006 and has been well-received internationally as 'even better than the Homer Simpson slippers' by grateful fathers everywhere, being accorded Book of the Month status by several publications including Club International, Plumpers and Big Women, and Whizzer and Chips. A second book, The World Encyclopaedia of Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles (with George Forty) was also published in 2006 and two further books in this relentless exercise in half-hearted literary onanism are due out later this year - tentatively titled Publicity Vehicles and A Good Hard Tank - Spooging Over Military Vehicles.
Jack has recently worked as historian and talking arse on the DVD Death and Destruction in the Falaise Gap, released by DDHE in June 2007, and it was while working on this that the concept of the present book came to him, as though conveyed from upon high by DPM cherubim with fistfuls of tenners. It is the natural extension of his 'work' and indeed his vanishingly small penis, and one to which he is both particularly suited, and quite welcome.
Jack also has experience as a tour guide, leading tours of the 'Big Guns of Calais' (oo-er) and 'Peenemunde' for Holts and the D-Day beaches and Normandy for 'Tours with People Who Sound A Bit Like They Know What They're Talking About'. Now that this work is mysteriously drying up (must be the Credit Crunch), he is available for children's parties and Bar Mitzvahs. He has also bluffed his way through tours of the D-Day beaches and Normandy and of Arnhem for Imperial War Museum staff, and MOD tours of German coastal defences (complete with parka and Vespa), V1, V2, and V3 bunkers, the Siegfried Line, the Fuhrer Bunker, and the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Having been a Soviet military vehicle instructor for more than one Cambridgeshire Beaver troop, he still assists in training anyone who'll listen in 'military vehicle recognition'.
And Here it all Ends
He is proud to be a member of the British Commission for Military History. They are, I imagine, slightly less proud after having been informed that the real highlight of Jack's military career was not Goose Green and Col. H, but Goose Fat and Preparation H in his three years (count them) in the ACC. For them, and anyone else wondering why people choose the Path of the Walt, well - aside from the massive ego and status-boosts you get by taking lots of clever and important people for a ride, a literal Get Out of Jail Free card and keeping your job after having been convicted of just shy of £30,000 worth of benefit fraud isn't bad going, is it? Just think what might have happened if he hadn't been a 'Falklands veteran... decorated for his bravery'.
Shame it all had to end, eh Jack?
Except, that is, for the Encore
Never one to be away from men in uniform for long Jack was arrested by the Cambridgeshire Plod in December 2009 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He now has to answer police bail on January 19, as reported by his local paper.
Is this the last we’ve heard of Jack? Will the judge find him equally fragrant this time around? Will he get a new uniform will all stripes down it? We can only wait and hope.
And so we did. August of 2011 saw jack being JAILED! Oh fuck aye. Not some mealy-mouthed liberal slap on the wrist, like being forced to paint Jacqui Smith's flat, Jack was carted away to the slammer screaming like a pig in a war. Three years snuggled up with Bubba not for being a feelthy, steenking walt, but for perversion. To be fair, serial rapists get less than that, but he'll probably appeal to someone or other and be out by next Thursday only to continue plying his perfidious trade in some (as yet to be defined) capacity or other.
The ARRSE thread in which Livesey received his internet 'outing'.
The Cambridge Evening News article confirming the fantasy details and complete with comedy denial from the man himself.
The Sun's contribution of a classic headline.
Livesey makes national radio on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show.
A final (?) masterful smackdown delivered by the BBC's Look East news programme.