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

The Marquis of Salisbury PC DL

The Marquis of Salisbury PC, DL is a former leader of the House of Lords. Earlier, while MP for Dorset South, he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence, MOD, when he successfully took over the organisation of the Normandy commemorative celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. His father (the late Lord Salisbury) served in the Guards Armoured Division.

The Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

The Rt Hon Lord Robertson has been the 10th Secretary General of NATO since August 1999. He was Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom from 1997-1999 and Member of Parliament from 1978-1999. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1978, and throughout his five re-elections he was appointed various roles including Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Social Services (1979), Opposition Spokesman (after the 1979 General Election) on Scottish Affairs, then on Defence, and on Foreign Affairs from 1982 to 1993.

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.

Admiral Sir John Kerr GCB DL

Admiral Sir John Kerr became, in 1998, Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission responsible for graves in over 20,000 cemeteries and churchyards world-wide; he is also a Commissioner of the Museums and Galleries Commission. During his active service in the Navy (until 1994), he commanded a frigate, a guided missile destroyer and an aircraft carrier and had command of various task groups; ashore, his appointments – principally in the MOD – were involved in strategy, policy, resource allocation, future equipment allocation and intelligence, finishing as Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.

Sir Nicholas Soames

Sir Nicholas Soames has been a Conservative Member of Parliament since 1983. He was an Agriculture Minister from 1992-1994 and Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 1994-1997. Educated at Eton, he was in the Army (11th Hussars) from 1967-1972 and subsequently Equerry to HRH The Prince of Wales KG. After working in Financial Services in the City of London he was on the staff of a United States Senator in Washington D.C. for nearly two and a half years.

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.

The Baroness Flather JP DL LLB

The Baroness is currently leading the appeal for Memorial Gates to commemorate the part played in support of the Allies in both World Wars, by service personnel from the Indian Sub-Continent, the West Indies and Africa. Shreela Flather was the first ethnic minority woman to be an elected Councillor in the U.K. and the first Asian woman to hold the office of Mayor (at Windsor and Maidenhead). A Fellow of University College, London, she has served and serves on many national public and charitable bodies of central importance connected with Education, Race Relations, Refugees and Social and Community Affairs.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith was born in 1954. Iain Duncan Smith has been married to Betsy (nee Fremantle) since 1982, and they have two sons and two daughters. He was educated at HMS Conway and completed a language course at the University of Perugia before attending Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst after which he joined the Scots Guards.

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.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE

After education at Harrow and RMA Sandhurst, Lord Guthrie was commissioned into the Welsh Guards in 1959. He served in BAOR and Aden, with 22 SAS Regiment, and went on to hold battalion, brigade and divisional commands, including with the Welsh Guards, 4th Armoured Brigade, and was Commander-in-Chief BAOR. Lord Guthrie was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff in 1997 and retired from that post in 2001. He has been ADC General to HM The Queen and has been Colonel of The Life Guards since 1999. He is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers.

Major-General C. Dair Farrar-Hockley MC

The Major-General is a leading authority on defence and military training, was GOC 2nd Division from 1996 until May 1999. He was commissioned in the Parachute Regiment in 1967, serving in Malta, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. He attended the Army Staff College at Camberley. As Company Commander with the 2nd Parachute Battalion he was involved in the battles of Goose Green and Wireless Ridge in the Falklands War. Subsequently he commanded the 3rd Parachute Battalion, was Special Briefer to the Chief of Staff at SHAPE, commanded 19 Infantry Brigade at Colchester, was Commander of Infantry Training at Warminster, and assisted the Czech Chief of Defence in preparing his country’s armed forces for entry into NATO.

Professor Dennis Showalter of the University of Colorado

Professor Dennis Showalter has occupied numerous highly prestigious visiting military history lecturing posts (including, recently, Distinguished Visiting Professor, the US Military Academy). He is President of the American Military History Society. His published works include: The Wars of Frederick the Great; Tannenberg: Clash of Empires, and Little Man What Now?: Der Stürmer in the Weimar Republic. He is currently working on German military history and lectured about the American Army in 1918, at the Leeds University Conference on the Armistice in November 1998.

Dr. Diana M Henderson PhD LLB TD

Dr. Diana M Henderson lives and works in Cambridge where she is a Fellow of Queens’ College and Director of Alumni and Development managing the College’s friendraising and fundraising campaign. Diana is a graduate in Scots Law from Strathclyde University and in Scottish Military History from the University of Edinburgh. She was commissioned into the Women’s Royal Army Corps in 1970 and during her service career she gained the rank of Lt Colonel and commanded a regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. She is the author of a number of books and articles on Scottish Military History. Dr Henderson is also the Research Director of Scots at War, a web based military history programme with a substantial audience. In addition she regularly lectures, teaches and advises throughout the world on the subject of military history.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Willis GBE KCB FRAeS

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Willis GBE KCB FRAeS  was educated at Dulwich College and RAF College Cranwell. He was commissioned into the RAF in 1958 and served as a pilot in Bomber Command, flying Vulcans. After appointments to the Ministry of Defence and SHAPE, he became Director General of Training and subsequently Air Officer Commanding-in Chief of RAF Support Command. From 1995-97 he was Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. He maintains his involvement with the Bomber Command Association and is an Area President of RAFA.

Life President | Dr Peter H. Liddle FRHistS

As a teacher and then lecturer in the 1960’s, Peter Liddle developed an interest in using original material and memorabilia to bring history to life for his students. This interest led to the development of the Liddle Collection – a collection of First World War personal experience documentation and memorabilia that took 30 years to build up. The Collection was then given a permanent home by the University of Leeds and documented over 7,000 men and women who had lived through the First World War.

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 Fellows
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.