MARTIN GIBSON

MARTIN GIBSON was born and brought up in rural north Lancashire. He read history at New College, Oxford and after graduating studied law at the City University in London. He qualified as a barrister in 1990 and then spent many years practising from chambers in central London.

 

In 2009 his first book Servant of Empire was published. It is the life story of his maternal great-grandfather Thomas Wilson Bracken (1865-1932), a successful civil engineer who participated in the building of the first railway on the west coast of Africa. In 1915 at the age of 50 Bracken answered the War Office’s call for experienced civil engineers to volunteer and then served as an officer in the Royal Engineers in France and Belgium between 1915 and 1919. On returning to civilian life Captain Bracken wrote a series of nostalgic letters and articles that commentated on the post-War transformation of so much that had gone before.

 

His second book, A Primrose Path, was released in Spring 2020. It tells the story of Neil Primrose, the favourite son of a Prime Minister (Rosebery) and his Rothschild heiress wife. Raised in almost unimaginable wealth and luxury, Neil spent his entire life surrounded by the Liberal political elite, including Gladstone, Asquith, Churchill, and Lloyd George. However his life-long love for his Oxford friend and fellow Liberal MP Thomas Agar-Robartes marks him out from the generality of Edwardian upper class male privilege. The Great War, which tragically curtailed his life, brought Neil political success as Chief Whip, and at the Foreign Office. It also led to Thomas’s 1915 death in France, leaving Neil grief-stricken and guiltily haunted. In the finale, Neil abandons the safety of London political life, to join the 1917 campaign to liberate Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, resulting in his own heroic death. Neil’s story has never been told, in large part because of Lord Rosebery’s opposition. This biography is the result of extensive archival and newspaper research.

 

Martin now lives on the Somerset/Dorset border with his partner and their two labradors.

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RAIF POMEROY

RAIF (earlier RAFE) POMEROY (1966 – 2007) was a talented and peripatetic troubadour.  After a childhood in Italy, in the early 1990s he was in England, playing his own compositions in pubs and bars. With the support of guitar-maker extraordinaire, Paul Reed Smith, he recorded an acoustic demonstration tape, Rafe, in 1993.

 

In 1991 he met Pat Sanders, who went on to form prog rock group Drifting Sun. Rafe (as he then was) wrote all the lyrics on their self-titled debut album, issued in 1996. In the same year he released his first commercial CD in his own name, The Horse I Rode In On. At that stage he was based in Los Angeles.

 

There are sightings – and indeed YouTube videos – of him in upstate New York in the late 1990s, but by 2000 he was back in California, having formed a band with Paul Madison and Dan Benbenisty, Ballyrag. Ballyrag issued two CDs: Waxing Poetic (2001) and Where The Ocean Meets The 10 (2003).

 

Later that decade he moved to Great Abaco in the Bahamas, where he had family. He died on 22 July 2007 in a diving accident off a neighbouring island.

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BILL WOOF

THOMAS WILLIAM ('BILL') WOOF was born in April 1919 in Westmorland and in civilian life became a miller working just outside Sedbergh. He was 20 when the Second World War broke out and was almost immediately enlisted into the armed forces. 

At the end of the war his unit was sent to Bergen-Belsen and ran the displaced persons camp there. Bill was due to be demobilised in February 1946 but tragically did not survive that long. Electrocuted while trying to fix a supply fault up a telegraph pole, he died of burns and a broken neck in January 1946.