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My Canadian back-woods friend Chad Clifford has just started up his own bushcraft and nature lore school “Wilderness Rhythms” in Ontario, having returned south after five years in the Arctic with the Inuktiut eskimos, learning directly from them how to build kayaks, igloos and survive in the harshest of all environments.

I first met Chad during filming of the BBC 2 Bare Necessities series, when he made fire-making using a fire bow look literally as easy as striking matches.  (The secret is using Nature’s own fire lighters – tiny scraps of the right varieties of lichen which flash up very quickly into a flame).

For a really interesting holiday and learning experience second-to-none, I recommend getting in touch with Chad. It’s equally fun in the winter snow, or just plain messing about in boats (canoes) during those long, hot summers in the lakes.

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29 Responses

  1. liz scott says:

    Dear Mr. McManners,

    The story of the three teens adrift in the South Pacific caught my attention yesterday and I believe I heard you commenting on the BBC World Service.

    My father, Freddie Fuller (1911-1993) sailed for the Alfred Holt shipping line out of Liverpool. In August 1943, his ship the MV Medon was torpedoed in the South Atlantic and he and 16 crew were adrift in a lifeboat for 35 days. The ship that rescued them was in turn torpedoed, and he and his crew spent four more days in a life-raft before being picked up by a sailing ship out of the Caribbean. Freddie Fuller was decorated for leadership and safeguarding the lives of his men.

    The reason that I am contacting you is that I have my father’s original hand-written log of this experience, together with his reflections and suggestions for improving survival for sailors in the merchant fleet. I wonder if you would have any interest in these materials? I would love to share them with someone who might have a professional interest. The wartime stories of the Merchant Marine have received little attention in the history-telling of WW2.

    Freddie Fuller went on to be warden at Outward Bound, Aberdyfi.

    Yours sincerely,
    Liz Scott

    • Hi Liz,
      We’re tried to email you, but the address we’ve got for you bounces back. COuld you confirm the email address you gave us please?
      All best, Hugh

      • Ros says:

        Hi
        I’m the granddaughter of one of the merchant navy sailors on the Medon , George Edge, and would love to get in touch with Liz Scott if at all possible. I also have some interesting info about the 35 days they spent in a lifeboat. Are you able to share her email address with me?
        Thanks
        Ros

  2. Dear Mr. McManners,
    i’m joe, i bought the book backpacker’s handbook about a month ago. it’s quite good. i’ve always wanted to travel somewhere but i just don’t have the time.
    you know what i’m preparing for my college entrance examination to be held in June, and i’m so tired.
    thank you for your book which take me out of that stress. and i’m planing to go to Australia after the big exam.
    could you give me some advice on where to go and what hotels i should select or something. i’ll go with three other people.
    sorry for my poor english.

  3. Phil Eyers says:

    hello Hugh,i don,t know if you are the right man to talk to but its a start,an old uncle of mine(sadly no longer with us)was one of the orinagal sbs members,he told me some fantastic stories from learning to jump out of a plane to sailing an old converted trawler making into a gunboat.He trained with Anders Larsen and was with him when Larsen was killed,if this and a few more stories are of any intrest to you please let me know as i am trying to find out more about his wartime escapades which were many,his name was Jack(john)Brewerton.i hope i may hear from you,
    regards. phil eyers.

    • Hi Phil,
      Sorry not to get back to you until now.

      The best thing to do would be to write down all you can remember, then do your own research. If it’s any help to you, I could post your results here on my site, which might in turn attract the attention of others who might have other pieces of the story. They could do the same thing, and the story could grow – a bit like WIkipedia.

      Let me know if you think that might help,

      All best,

      Hugh

  4. Martin carroll says:

    Hello Hugh ,
    I was just wondering if you are going to do another forgotten voices of the Falklands? I was on hms avenger during the conflict working on the bridge I have some fantastic stories if you are going to do another book? I witnessed the last exocet attack on the task group and other action during that time
    Thanks for your time and regards
    Martin

    • Hello Martin,

      I am thinking of adding to it. BUt there are so many stories to be told, and all you can achieve in a 130k word book is a terribly small part of it.

      You could write your story down and email it to me. I’m thinking of creating a website where people could post their stories. I’m sure by using ARRSe for example to encourage others to do the same, a much better story archive could be created.

      Would you be interested in contributing to that – and maybe getting your comrades to do the same?

      Very best,

      Hugh

  5. John Grant says:

    Hi , I hope you can help, I believe you wrote the Royal Marines book following 638 troop , ??

    I am desperately looking for a copy , can you give me any help ????

    Many thanks
    John

    • Hi John,

      Sorry not to have picked this up until now. I’ve got some hardbacks and paperbacks. Let me know which you’d like. I’ll have to work out a price including postage/package so let me know your address. As the commando course remains the same (you can never get too much of a good thing), this book is still avidly read at Lympstone!

      All best, Hugh

  6. Nick van der Bijl says:

    Dear McManners

    By way of intro, I am former Int Corps and was posted to HQ 3 Cdo Bde during Op Corporate. I am also an author with about ten books published, all military history and numerous articles in security and military periodicals. I am also a Trustee of the Mil Int Museum.

    I have been asked by the periodical Britain At War, who are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the campaign, to describe the action against Argentine Combat Team Eagle at Port San Carlos and on Fanning Head. I shall be basing the article on the handwritten account of Lt Esteban, which we found in Stanley after the surrender and orders given to him at Goose Green. I didn’t question any of the Fanning Hill Mob until 3 Para picked up a sergeant the following day. He gave a substantial amount of of info on Goose Green. To support the article, I wonder if I could use the series of photos p96 to 97 and also the sketch facing p99. I would be happy to pay.

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Nick van der Bijl BEM .

    • Dear Nick,
      I thought we were on first name terms – from when we met at the IWM reception.
      An interesting article. If you’re talking about the photos of my team waiting in HMS Plymouth to be flown in, they were taken by Lt Col Keith Eave. so he’d be the man to talk with.
      But haven’t you got my email address – maybe you could scan the pics you need and email them to me,
      All best,
      Hugh

  7. Manuel Lempa says:

    Dear Mr. McManners,
    I am a German and lived near Münster in North Rhine Westphalia. In my youth I have had frequent contact with British soldiers. 1989 was a great exercise of the 1st Armoured Division (UK) “White Rhino” and British guests were with us (RECCE Land Rover). One soldier showed me his SA80. Was a great experience. Since I employed the former British Army of the Rhine. Accordingly, I am also interested the Falklands War. My question: Is there any literature in German on the Falklands conflict and BAOR?
    I’m interested in the British Army, but my english is bad anyway 🙁
    Thank you, though.
    best regards
    Manuel

    • Dear Mr Lempa,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I don’t know if there is anything about the Falklands in German. There’s quite a lot in Spanish, but not much of this is about the British side of things! How do you feel about the British Army finally leaving Germany?

      • Manuel Lempa says:

        Hello Mr. McManner,
        Thank you for your reply. I find it very sad that the British Army is leaving Germany. She had become a part of our society. The exit of the British army will leave a hole. The young people in Germany find it ok. They do not know why there are British troops in Germany because it is a young generation. Also during my four years as a soldier, I have been in contact with British soldiers. But that just passes the time and life is change. Nice that the memories remain.
        They were stationed in Germany? When and where? I’ve lived in the vicinity of Soest, between Munster and Paderborn. There was the 3rd Armoured Division (UK) in Körbeke – North Rhine Westphalia.

  8. Barry says:

    Hi Hugh,

    i was a recruit in 652 troop(1991,1992) when West Country TV shot a documentary on commando training at Lympstone barracks. i remember watching the doco when it was later released only to see myself in a couple of the episodes. im not sure if you remember but i was the recruit from N.Ireland who asked to have his features ‘pixelated’ for the good of my health;) .
    Is this series available for sale anywhere or are there downloads on the web where i can view it?

    thanks
    Baz

    • Hi Baz – I remember. The trouble was, whenever we were filming instead of getting out of the way, you seemed to want to be in the movie, so you were! You obviously knew best…

      The production company was Folio run by Charles Thompson. He’d know.

      Hugh

  9. tony ryall says:

    I would be interested why you where on the bridge of hms avenger. it was manned by sailors!

  10. Mike Seear says:

    Hugh,

    We met in Norway a few years ago after a Falkland War presentation you gave.
    The sequel to my first book (With the Gurkhas in the Falklands: A War Journal) was published in June. Return to Tumbledown: The Falklands-Malvinas War Revisted is a near-600 page book on the Battle of Tumbledown. Do you want to review it?

  11. PATRICIA ROBERTS says:

    Hello to Mr. McManners and Ms. Scott

    I was pleased to come across Ms. Scott’s reference to Freddie Fuller – clearly an inspirational man – in my attempts to research the death of my father’s brother, Robert Roberts, which occurred whilst he was serving as a seaman in the Merchant Navy in WW2. I would be grateful for any information on whether Robert Roberts was amongst those who lost their lives on Freddie Fuller’s merchant vessel MV Medon, when it was torpedoed off Brazil. There have been a few curious twists and turns in my attempt to track down the correct information and I fear this might be because Robert Roberts was regarded as merely one more merchant seaman, amongst the many, whose lives were sacrificed without memorial during wartime.

    According to nugatory information given by my parents, now deceased, `Bobby’ Roberts lost his life when his ship was torpedoed off the coast of Brazil by a German U-boat and according to my basic research there seems to have been only a limited number of Merchant Vessels which went down in this specific area during the Battle of the Atlantic, hence my interest in the fate of the crew of the Medon. Another Merchant Vessel torpedoed in the area, and to which I found reference on a site dedicated to listing such ships, was the `Cressington Court’, but it was impossible to progress the search because this ship appears not to have been built until 1944, nor was she lost at sea.

    I calculate that Bobby was probably about 21 years old or younger when he died, off the coast of Brazil, and I am guessing from the context that the month and year of his death would have been shortly before or after my parents’ marriage in September 1942. Thus the circumstances of the attack on the Medon, in August 1942, match those of his death.

    Curiously, my mother always maintained that his ship had been called the `Regent Tiger’, but on researching this on the internet over recent years,
    I have found that the Regent Tiger was not torpedoed off Brazil, but in the straits of Gibraltar, nor was she lost at sea. As the captain of the Regent Tiger was apparently a William Roberts, I suspect that in the confusion of war, inaccurate information about the precise circumstances of Robert Roberts’s death must have been passed on to his father, in the telegram reporting his death.

    My mother also believed that Robert Roberts had participated in a BBC radio programme entitled `We speak for ourselves’, about the Merchant Navy, though I have been unable to ascertain whether it might still be held in a BBC archive of war.

    If anyone could advise me of further avenues to explore, or indeed how to access the crewlist of the Medon, I would be very grateful indeed. This young man had no memorial whatsoever, except in the memory of my parents, and I would like to give him one, if only by ascertaining the true facts about how and when he lost his life in WW2, in order to honour his contribution to it. With thanks for reading this. Patricia Roberts

    • Phil Storey says:

      Hello, My uncle was 2nd Engineer on the Medon and I have done a lot of reseach on his complete career including the sinking of Medon. I have the lifeboat logs and I see reference to last name Roberts one of 10 men in the lifeboat with the Chief Officer in charge and adrift from August 10 to September 18 1942. In the logs I have there is no specific reference to names while adrift except at the end of the ordeal there is a table of weight gain once on the ship that picked them up. My email is pbstorey@encode.com, originally from Liverpool now living in Vancouver.

  12. Tim Dainton says:

    Mr McManners,

    I’m a member of a defence and strategy research group named DefenceSynergia. We are a non political, not for profit group, with a wish to expose the incoherence and weaknesses in the United Kingdom’s defence and security strategies.

    We are quite well represented by former Navy and RAF officers, but come up rather short on Army experience.

    Would you be interested in, from time to time, casting your eye over our Army related papers, before they are published?

    Finally, would you do us the honour of allowing us to place a link to your site from our site.

    Regards

    T A Dainton, DefenceSynergia.

    • Hugh McManners says:

      Hi Tim,

      I’d be delighted. I’ll pm you asap.

      Hugh

      • Tim Dainton says:

        Hugh,

        That would be great, many thanks.
        We are specifically looking at the reductions from a Strategic viewpoint, in that, without knowing what you want the armed forces to do, how can you decide what is required.

        Anyway I look forward to perhaps speaking to you in the future- feel free to contact me at anytime and I will gladly give you further details on how we might be able to go forward.

        Best Regards

        Tim

        Tim

  13. Mr McManners

    Hi, hope you are fin. I am writing from Argentina. Let me apologize for the way I write….not my mother tongue by far….sorry

    I contact you becasue a friend and I are writing a book about the combat of San Carlos Bay and we want to write both sides of the story. Probably you can give a hand. We have no economic persuits, we are both Certified Public Accountants……

    there is a special story about a Helo pilot who saved his life (and the life of everyone in the helo) when argentine lieutienat Owen Crippa dediced to attack the ship Brilliant instead of the mentioned helo…I would be great to find thas pilot. Mr Crippa also wanted to know who was him…..

    We have no political intentions……we only want to write about heroisim, suffering and thoughts of the people involved….both parts deserved respect and consideration

    Probably you may know him, or you may know someone who know him…..you know….we can make a change of information

    sory again for the mistakes I could have in this email, I did not want to be unpolite

    If you need more information about me, please do not hesitate to ask me.

    my respect from Argentina, take care

    kind regards

    Adrian

  14. Dear Hugh I am the Peter ” Hatch” (aka Peter Hatchard) that you mention in your book Falkland Commando; I was the Navigating Officer. Nearing retiremement from NATO I am am reliving life experiences. Thanks for capturing some of them!

    • Dear Hatch,
      Excellent to hear from you. I’ve only just seen your message – the mysteries of technology…. But I’m so glad that you find Falklands Commando captured the reality of your experience of that war. I also think back on it – so hard to believe that it’s such a long time ago. Like when I was a child, and my father talked of the Second World War…
      The very best of luck in your retirement!
      All best,
      Hugh

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