The Trustees and staff of The Second World War Experience Centre are honoured to have as its Patrons an exceptional list of men and women eminent in the armed services, education and public life whose support has been invaluable in its successful establishment. All perceive the importance of preserving evidence of this most terrible of all conflicts, and their immediate interest re-affirmed our conviction that the Centre has a vital role.
Patrons and Honorary Fellows
He became Chief Spokesman on Europe in 1983 and served as the principal Opposition Spokesman on Scotland in the Shadow Cabinet from 1983-1997. After the 1997 General Election, Prime Minister Blair appointed him Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom, a position he held until his departure in October 1999. He is a former Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party, was Vice-Chairman of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, served as Vice-Chairman of the British Council for nine years and was Vice-Chairman of the Britain/Russia Centre.
He was on the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) where he now serves as Joint President. He is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, an Honorary Vice-President of the British German Association and a Trustee of the 21st Century Trust. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Order of Merit by the Federal German President in 1991 and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania in 2000, and was named joint Parliamentarian of the Year in 1993 for his role during the Maastricht Treaty ratification. He is Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish (Volunteers). He has been awarded several Honorary Doctorates, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Elder Brother of Trinity House. He is married to Sandra, and has three children. His hobbies include photography, golf and reading.
Following the 1997 General Election he became a member of the Executive of the 1922 Committee. He takes a keen interest in defence, foreign affairs, trade and industry and the countryside. Nicholas Soames is Chairman of the Framlington Second Dual Trust and the Property Merchant Group and a Director of Asprey & Garrard Limited. He is a Senior Vice President of MMC and an adviser to a number of other companies. He is a Trustee of the Amber Foundation and he is a member of the Court of the University of Sussex.
Married with two sons and a daughter, he is also the son of Lord Soames, a former Leader of the House of Lords, Ambassador to France, British Commissioner in Brussels and the last Governor of Southern Rhodesia. Nicholas Soames is the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.
After leaving the army, he worked for GEC-Marconi and was a director of a property company before becoming the Publishing Director of Jane’s Information Group. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Chingford in April 1992 and for Chingford and Woodford Green in May 1997, and contested the Bradford West seat in the 1987 General Election. In September 2001, at the age of 47, Iain Duncan Smith was elected Leader of the Conservative Party in the first ever ballot of the Party’s membership.
He was the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence from 1999-2001. From 1997-1999 he was the Shadow Social Security Secretary. In the 1992-97 Parliament membership of committees included the Standards in Public Life (Nolan) Select Committee and the Members’ Interests Select Committee. His interests include family, football, rugby, cricket, painting and fishing.
Peter Liddle worked as Keeper of the Liddle Collection for 10 years and during that time became an Associate Lecturer at the School of History and was awarded a PhD by the University on the basis of his published work on the interpretation of documentation of personal experiences in the First World War. Although his work focused on the First World War, he – and others – felt that an archive must be established to play a role in the vital rescue of material relating to the Second World War. Consequently, Peter took early retirement from the University in 1998 to become the Director of The Second World War Experience Centre.
Peter is the author or editor of many books on the First and Second World Wars and has been centrally involved in related television programmes, exhibitions and conferences. The two publications with which he has been involved most recently make extensive use of material from the Centre’s archives. They are The Great War 1914-1945: Lightning Strikes Twice (examining points of contrast and comparison in kindred aspects of experience in the two World Wars) and For Five Shillings a Day: Experiencing War 1939-45.
Honorary Fellowships are intended to acknowledge individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the Second World War in the widest sense, and have or will support the aims and work of the Centre through the contribution of work for publication, lectures or significant archival material and financial assistance, leading to the enhancement of the Centre’s reputation as an organisation of historical and academic significance.