Sunday 1 May 2011

Richard Holmes R.I.P.

By now I am sure that many readers in the blogasphere will be aware of the very sad passing of Richard Holmes at the age of 65.

I never met him; not did I attend any of his legendary lectures - but his approach to military history through both his writing and his television work was such that you almost felt as though you knew him. His writing and broadcasting were very 'human' in their approach and his enthusiasm was infectious, his knowledge, exceptional.

I am sure that most readers will have their own particular favourite amongst his writing and television work but for me it will always be 'Riding the Retreat' his combined history and first hand guide to the retreat to Mons in 1914. In this book he undertook to ride the route taken by the BEF with some members of the Guards and what struck me about the story was how effortlessly he was able to switch from serious history to amusing personal anecdote at the drop of a hat. Usually, I hasten to add, with descriptions of long and boozy roadside lunches! A quite superb read.

He also introduced the reader to 'Thatch' - the horse that ate Europe and terror of the topiary with an unreasonable dislike of black polythene dustbin bags.

Of such writings are legends made and if ever a military historian deserved that accolade then it has to be Richard Holmes.


Paul O'G said...

He will be sadly missed, but fortumnately for all his works live on

David Crook said...

Hi Tas,

That is very true - I recently read Redcoats and that is a superb read.

All the best,