John Sadler - Military Historian

Home 25th May 2019
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Douglas John Sadler
BA(Hons), M.Phil., FRHistS FSA (Scotl.)

My main specialism is in military history, I am an accomplished, author, lecturer, battlefield tour guide, heritage professional and historical interpreter.

Rosie my co-author and I have finished our fifth Casemate Short History and this one is a biography of Alexander the Great and we're working on an account of the fate of Cromwell's Scottish prisoners after the battle of Dunbar in 1650, England's 'Trail of Tears'.

My current fiction is now out. This is 'Blitzing Rommel', the first of a trilogy following local hero Joe Robson through North Africa, France and Germany, published by Endeavor Press. This is a review on Amazon:

'This is a stunning, amazing and altogether bone chilling account ..... based on fact ... of a rather ragtag special force of British secret military during WWII in North Africa.

This book has had a most sobering effect on my
perspective of war, the military, and governments both prior to and during wartime when we decide to send our young men and women to fight.

The story here of Joe Milburn, basically a farm boy from a country town in England, and his comrades throughout the early years of the war is no-holds-barred in its description of war on the ground where life is a veritable dice roll as an order by your commander is an order regardless of how lame or idiotic it may be.

It is powerful and hard to put down as the story of Joe, the teen, begins his military service as a private and ultimately ends up in a specialized force based in North Africa assigned to some of the most insane and brave missions I have ever seen, heard of read about and yet it happened.

This damn book should be a movie! It's a thrilling read. I'm even more astounded by the young ages of these heroes. Their courage and skill, most of the time with no official acknowledgement of their company by their own high command or government, while being asked to go on suicide missions is more than commendable.

The idea that a sweet romance could spark up in a military hospital is so well written it truly adds a realistic and very human touch to this story.

I received an advanced of this amazing book and I highly recommend it to readers of historical fiction'.

For over 25 years I was a visiting lecturer at the Centre for Lifelong Learning which is now the Explore Programme where I continue to teach- check out I do offer a whole range of local and family history courses which I've delivered in libraries, to WI & focus groups, usually an hour to an hour and a half, daytime and evening, rates are 100.00 per session.

We can provide fully costumed re-enactors for corporate hire, weddings and social events, choose your period - Spartans, Romans, Vikings, Knights, Reivers, Roundheads, Redcoats & Tommies, gunfighters, saloon girls and suffragettes!

We're extending our current schools offer to include prehistory. We can now offer workshop sessions of Neolithic and Bronze Ages, together with Iron/Celts. We cover warfare of course but also domestic life, pottery and ceramics, legends and myths, religion and burial practices.

Home. John in costume/SwordI have been a visiting lecturer at the University of Sunderland Centre For Lifelong Learning since 1998 and have delivered a range of courses, primarily on military history.

These have included:
  • 'The Vikings'
  • 'The Crusades'
  • 'The Hundred Years War'
  • 'The Wars of the Roses'
  • 'The Border Reivers'
  • 'The Jacobites'
  • 'The American Civil War'
  • 'World War One - the Western Front'
  • 'World War One - The Eastern Front
  • 'The Road to Dunkirk'
  • 'Barbarossa'
  • 'D-Day to Berlin'
  • 'Swordplay - the Sword in History'
  • 'Terrorism post 1945'
  • 'Arab Israeli Wars 1948 - 2006'
  • 'The English Civil Wars
  • 'The War in Afghanistan'
  • 'The Second Gulf War'

    I also supervise mature students at degree level.

    My primary occupation is writing with some two dozen non fiction titles in print. I tend to undertake commissioned work only and, at the end of last year, I was engaged by the Army Benevolent Fund to write a history of the Field Gun Race for the revived Royal Tournament.

    For a considerable number of years I have given public lectures to local history groups, community associations, at the Durham Light Infantry Museum, The National Army Museum, The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, and to Rotary and Round Table clubs. I am available for public and after dinner speaking, the cost ranges from 100 - 500 depending on circumstances. Any talks to charitable or voluntary sector groups are delivered free of charge.

    I am an experienced battlefield tour guide and have taken a range of school, adult, services and veterans groups on tours of the main Western Front Battlefields. I have also taken student groups around most of the major UK battle sites. I have full CRB clearance. I have worked, in this capacity extensively for Tyne and Wear Museums and English Heritage.

    For some years, starting back in the 1970's, I have been engaged as a project manager/curator and fundraiser for heritage based projects, most recently the Heritage Centre, Bellingham, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Association and the Durham Light Infantry Museum.

    From time to time I have been involved in film work, True North Productions filming of 'The Tale of the Long Pack' near Wark in North Tynedale, together with the 'Clans' series for Mentorn & BBC Scotland (series two and three), 'Buildings that Shaped England' for Channel 4, local BBC & ITV and recently as historical consultant for Arpeggio Films 'Siege & Storm'.

    I hope, in the course of this year, to be able to start working toward the award of a PhD under the aegis of the University of Sunderland, my topic 'Dunkirk to Belsen - the DLI at War 1939 - 1945'.

    My approach to military history, in terms of writing, is based firstly, upon acquiring a thorough knowledge of the primary sources, supplemented by the insight gained from walking the ground. I am of the opinion that there can be no full understanding of events unless there we have knowledge of the ground. We are fortunate in Britain that, the pace of development notwithstanding, many of our battle sites, if not untouched, are still recognisable and this obtains particularly in the northern region and the borders. Equally and with only a few exceptions we do very little to commemorate many of our historic battles.

Home. Male/female swordfight

Newcastle, Tyne & Wear 01661 881654(evenings)

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