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Talks for book clubs, historical and special interest groups

All of these talks can be adjusted to last from 30 to 60 minutes and are supported by a wide range of illustrations, photographs and original documents. Some also have video available.

They are presented in an engaging style, perfectly tailored to the different interests of a wide variety of groups and audiences.

Talks based on Fighting for the Empire, the story of an Irish doctor’s adventures through Imperial campaigns and two World Wars

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The Kelly Story
• From Galway to Empire
• Ireland, India, NW Frontier, Persia, Tibet
• WW1: Egypt, Aden and Mesopotamia
• Marriage and family
• WW2: Ship’s surgeon

The North West Frontier
Defending the Khyber Pass
• The Afghan Wars
• The Relief of Chitral
• Churchill and Kipling
• Day-to-day life

Tibet Mission through the eyes of a Medical Officer
The 1904 Mission: purpose and politics
• The characters: Macdonald, Younghusband, Waddell
• The challenges: Himalayas, cold, altitude
• Mission creep
• Massacre at Guru: treating the Tibetans
• Attacked in Lhasa
• Letters from the frontline

WW1: Fighting the Turks
The Ottoman Empire in 1914
• Egypt
• Aden
• Gallipoli
• Mesopotamia and the Siege of Kut

 WW1: Mesopotamia
From disaster to triumph
• Defending the oilfields
• Thrust to Baghdad
• Siege of Kut: defeat and chaos
• General Maude and re-organisation
• Medical services: failures, re-building and nurses
• Advances up the Tigris and Euphrates

Ship’s Surgeon between the wars and WW2
Passenger lines to South America – first “radio doctor”
• Voyage of the Dammed
• Volunteers for Royal Navy, aged 69
• France 1940: Bordeaux and the SS Madura
• Troopships to North Africa
• Atlantic convoys

More on Fighting for the Empire


Talks based on Operation Aerial, the last great untold story of WW2, currently being researched and written. Due for publication in 2020


Rescuing the British Expeditionary Force from France after Dunkirk
• Dunkirk: the BEF cut in two
• Breton Redoubt and Canadian reinforcements
• Operation Cycle and Cherbourg evacuation
• Operation Aerial and the Biscay evacuations
• Highland Division surrenders at St Valery
• St Malo, Dieppe and Lorient – and the Channel islands
• St Nazaire and the Lancastria disaster
• Bordeaux: collapse of the French government and the SS Madura
• Evacuations continue after the Fall of France

Fleeing Hitler – The Civilian stories
• “Go South” – the exodus to the Atlantic ports
• Who were the 20,000? Brits, Jews, politicians, press
• Their stories from 10 year old girl to the world’s richest man
• SS Madura’s famous passengers
• Secret mission to recuse Mme de Gaulle



Historical talks derived from extensive research for books and articles


Voyage of the Dammed
• 1938-39 – Jews leaving Germany for south America after Kristallnacht
• The SS St Louis and its German captain
• Refused entry to Cuba, USA and Canada
• Other ships come to the rescue – British welcome
• German captain Gustav Schroder becomes Righteous Among the Nations

The Indian Medical Service
• Origins with the East India Company
• Role and structure under the Raj
• Stories of British and Irish doctors
• In peace
• In war
• Heroes of the IMS


General interest talks about researching and writing using examples from book writing and from journalism


Turning family history into historical biography
• Creating a narrative
• Building the context
• Making personal interest into general interest
• Planning the structure and focusing your writing

Researching historical stories, people and events
• Kelly book across four continents and 20 countries
• Sources: conventional and unconventional
• Military sources
• Local sources
• Foreign records
• Identifying the gaps

Download a list of talks Book talks

Contact David Worsfold on 01277 221445, 07885 348982 or to discuss your group’s specific requirements in terms of topics, style of talk and possible dates.

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