Patrick Mercer OBE

Patrick Mercer OBE

Retired Army Colonel Worcester and Sherwood Foresters

Patrick Mercer OBE read History at Oxford University before joining his family’s regiment, The Sherwood Foresters. He completed many operational tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, for which he was decorated several times. After leaving the army he became a defence correspondent for the BBC. His first love, however, is military history. Having walked many of the battlefields of the British Army, his greatest expertise lies in the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the Afghan Wars, The First World War and in the Second World War particularly the Italian Campaign. Published several times, he has just completed his first trio of novels concerning the mid Victorian period and he is now working on another three revolving around Casino, Anzio and Gothic Line fighting of 1944.

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Q&A with Patrick

Who would you regard as the greatest military commander of all time?

Napoleon - He shrouded ruthless ambition in a cloak of political and social reason - and he survived!

What is your favourite battlefield and why?

Inkermann - Untouched and misunderstood

What piece of weaponry has been the most influential on the battlefield throughout history?

Breech Loading Artillery

What is the best book on military history you have ever read?

'Quartered Safe Out Here' - George Macdonald Fraser.
Splendid tactical descriptions
'On War ' by Clausewitz
Splendid strategic descriptions

What is the most memorable event that has ever happened to you on a tour?

Finding the sandbag battery at Inkermann after 70 years.

What do you regard as the greatest mistake a military commander has ever made?

Hitler's invasion of Russia.

What is your favourite military anecdote?

Why Hitler kept his toothbrush moustache.

What do you consider as the greatest military quotation?

'Place no trust in the enthusiasm of recruits for battle.To those who don't know it there is something agreeable in killing another man. VEGETIUS.

What is your favourite historical film?

'Tunes of Glory' Understated. Excellent acting.

What do you consider as the greatest military myth that requires 'de-bunking'?

Nelson at the Nile.
2/24th foot at Isandlwana.

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