Hugh McManners is the Director of the Scars of War research foundation at the University of Oxford, a cutting-edge neuroscience unit dedicated to studying the psychological effects of warfare.
He has written over fifteen books, and numerous press articles which focus mainly on military related subjects and outdoor activities. He was The Sunday Time’s Defence Correspondent, and also has extensive broadcast experience as a presenter, co-producer and expert “pundit”.
He was born into an academic family in Oxford, the son of historian Rev Prof John McManners FBA, and was brought up in Australia. He was educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Shore – Magdalen College School Oxford, and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He read Geography at St Edmund Hall Oxford.
Hugh spent 18 years in the British Army, the majority of his time serving with 3 Commando Brigade, spending five years with 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery. He qualified as a commando, paratrooper, and an army diving supervisor. During the Falklands War, he fought with the Special Boat Service and worked with the SAS, and was awarded a “Mention in Despatches”. He also ran the British Army’s jungle warfare training school in Belize.
Hugh passed the year-long Army Staff College course at Camberley, and survived two tours of duty behind a desk inside the MoD in London. He has served at Fort Ord California with the US Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (Light), on counter terrorist duties in Armagh, Northern Ireland, and with the United Nations in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of 1974.
Hugh was the Defence Correspondent of London’s Sunday Times newspaper from 1995 to 2000, and has co-produced a list of television documentaries and series on military subjects. He co-presented the BBC2 Bare Necessities survival series. He is the author of many military books, and several very successful Dorling Kindersley titles, including the Outdoor Training Manual and the Commando Survival Guide.
One year after Hugh left the Army (in 1989), he was diagnosed as having PTSD, and so began a media career campaigning for greater awareness of the psychological effects of combat on military people. His book “The Scars of War” about the psychology of modern professional soldiers, became the basis of the six-month PTSD test case in the High Court of veterans against the MoD. He also co-produced several television series, including a UK Channel Four Despatches in 1991, about the psychological effects of combat called “Thinking of the Soldier”.
In partnership with Prof Morten Kringelbach since 2007, after four years developing the “Scars of War” research foundation, The Queen’s College Oxford admitted the Foundation to college membership in November 2011.
Hugh lives in Oxford, and has two very musical sons.