Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer whose inspirational leadership brought about several British naval victories, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Regarded as one of Britain's heroic figures, Horatio Nelson's legacy remains influential and several monuments, including the Nelson Monument and Nelson's Column, have been created in his memory.
Better known as Mad Jack or Fighting Jack, British Army officer Jack Churchill was an iconic example of a person fighting wars on his own terms. He popularized carrying swords and bagpipes to battles and killed his enemies with his longbow. He inspired a comic strip and several books, too.
John Smith was an English explorer, soldier, colonial governor, author, and Admiral of New England. In the early-17th century, Smith played a major role in the establishment of the first indissoluble English settlement in America, which came to be known as the English colony at Jamestown. Apart from helping Jamestown survive various challenges, Smith's leadership also helped the colony flourish.
The son of a soldier and intelligence officer, Rory Stewart was educated at Eton and Oxford and was also a tutor to princes William and Harry. Apart from being a diplomat and MP later, he also traveled across several countries on foot and wrote about this remarkable journey in a bestselling book.
Robert Falcon Scott was an explorer and Royal Navy officer. He is remembered for leading two expeditions to the Antarctic regions, the second of which was the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. Although Scott and his companions died during the second expedition, they helped discover the first Antarctic fossils, which proved that the place was once forested.
Wilfred Owen was an English soldier and poet. One of the most important poets during World War I, Owen wrote about the horrors of gas warfare. His life and career inspired a docudrama titled Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale where he was portrayed by Samuel Barnett. In 1989, the Wilfred Owen Association was established to commemorate his life and poetry.
Siegfried Sassoon was an English writer, poet, and soldier. One of the most popular poets during the First World War, Sassoon's works satirized the patriotic pretensions of those accountable for the war as well as described the horrors of the war. Siegfried Sassoon's works and ideology greatly influenced another leading poet of the First World War, Wilfred Owen.
Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, was the son of Henry VIII and his mistress Elizabeth Blount. Henry FitzRoy was the only illegitimate child acknowledged by King Henry VIII of England. In spite of being an illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy was made Duke of Richmond and Somerset. He was later made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
Jack Hawkins was an English actor best remembered for playing military men during the 1950s. Hawkins achieved international stardom in the '50s when he entered Hollywood. In 1958, Jack Hawkins was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the art.
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, was an English nobleman. Considered a favorite of Elizabeth I, Robert Devereux did the unthinkable when he led an abortive coup d'état in 1601 against the government of Elizabeth I. He was subsequently executed for treason. Over the years, Robert Devereux has been portrayed in many stage plays, TV series, and films.
Richard Francis Burton was a British explorer, soldier, and scholar. He is best remembered for his explorations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Along with John Hanning Speke, Burton was the first European to witness the Great Lakes of Africa. A prolific writer, Burton wrote several scholarly articles about numerous subjects like sexual practices, falconry, human behavior, travel, and ethnography.
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, was an Anglo-Norman statesman and soldier. Knighted in 1166, William Marshal was widely regarded as the best knight of his generation. William Marshal, who served five English kings, is now considered a cultural icon.
Banastre Tarleton was a British politician and general. He served in the American Revolutionary War where he was a lieutenant colonel. An iconic figure, Tarleton has been portrayed in several films, such as Sweet Liberty, The Patriot, and Amazing Grace. He has also been depicted in many TV series and novels.
Bill Millin was a British piper who served as Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser's personal piper during World War II. He is best remembered for playing his instrument whilst under fire during the Normandy landings. His action during the Normandy landings was depicted in the American epic war film, The Longest Day, where he was played by Leslie de Laspee.
Although best known as the chief instructor of SAS: Who Dares Wins, a reality quasi-military training television program, Ant Middleton is more than just that. A former soldier and successful Mt Everest-summiter, he has also appeared in the role of William Bligh in Mutiny and authored four books, two of which have become No.1 on The Sunday Times best-seller chart.
Robert Rogers was a British soldier who served during the American Revolution and the French and Indian War. Rogers is remembered for raising and commanding the popular Rogers' Rangers during the French and Indian War. In 1992, he was inducted into the United States Army Ranger Hall of Fame. Robert Rogers’ heroics are depicted in the 1940 film Northwest Passage.
British-born Canadian colonel Russell Williams made headlines after his arrest for the murders of Jessica Lloyd and Marie-France Comeau, apart from multiple sexual assaults. The serial killer was later convicted, stripped of his military ranks, and sentenced to life imprisonment. A character in J.K. Rowling’s Troubled Blood was modeled on him.
A British Army veteran, Simon Weston sustained 46% burns and permanent facial damage at the Falklands War. His recovery was an uphill journey, with years of reconstructive surgery that included 96 major operations. He is now a motivational speaker and a bestselling author, who appears on TV and radio regularly.
Harry Patch was an English soldier who served during the First World War. A supercentenarian, Patch was the last surviving combat soldier to have fought in the trenches during the First World War. At the time of his death, Harry Patch was the world's third oldest man and the oldest man in Europe.
Initially a gardener, Nicholas Alkemade joined the Royal Air Force during World War II. An expert in aerial combat, he made headlines when he jumped out of his burning bomber and fell 18,000 feet below, without a parachute, and survived. Following the war, he worked in the chemical industry.
Andy McNab is a British novelist and former infantry soldier. McNab was honored with the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his efforts during the Persian Gulf War where he was part of a military mission with the Special Air Service. Andy McNab published a book titled Bravo Two Zero, recounting his experience in the mission. The book earned him national prominence.
Henry Tandey was a British soldier who played an important role during the First World War. In 1918, Tandey was honored with the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his efforts during the second Battle of Cambrai. The same year, Henry Tandey was also honored with the prestigious Victoria Cross for exhibiting bravery in the face of death.
British military officer Orde Wingate is remembered for forming a band of British, Gurkha, and Burmese guerrilla warriors, known as Chindits, which fought valiantly against the Japanese forces in Burma during World War II. He was killed in a plane crash in Manipur at age 41.
Blamed for undermining the British Imperial prestige by surrendering to the Japanese Army during the Battle of Singapore, Arthur Percival was actually a distinguished military officer, known for his successful campaigns in interwar period. Plagued with underequipped garrison from the beginning, he was forced to surrender in order to save the lives of his 100,000 men and became the scapegoat.
John Bowes-Lyon was a British stockbroker and cricketer. He was the son of the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne and the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. He was also Queen Elizabeth II's uncle. He is also remembered for being a part of the Black Watch during World War I.
John McAleese was a Scottish soldier who was part of the Special Air Service. In 1987, he was honored with the Military Medal for his efforts during the Loughgall ambush. McAleese also served as a bodyguard for as many as three prime ministers of the UK. After his military career, McAleese co-founded a security company called NNK Special Services Group.
One of the most high-rated British Army generals during World War II, Mike Jackson has been the Chief of General Staff and has led British forces in Iraq. He has also led peacekeeping campaigns in Kosovo and Bosnia. Knighted for his achievements, he is now a motivational speaker and a lecturer.
A major figure of The Parachute Regiment, which was operational during World War II, British Army airborne officer John Frost was also a two-time Distinguished Service Order awardee. He led campaigns and operations in places such as Malta, Libya, Sicily, and Italy, before retiring to focus on farming.
Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood was a legendary British naval commander known for his heroics at the Battle of Trafalgar. He had been sailing since age 12 and was second in command to Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. His exploits earned him the title of Baron and an annual pension £2,000.
A distinguished Military Intelligence Liaison Officer of the British Army, Captain Robert Nairac is one of three IRA victims whose grave has not yet been found. Abducted from a pub in North Ireland, where he had gone in the guise of a motor mechanic, he refused to reveal his identity in spite of physical abuse and was finally shot dead.
Apart from being a descendant of the legendary Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington was a British Army brigadier and a senior British peer. Known for his exploits in World War II, he was knighted and was also part of the House of Lords.
A soldier and an avid traveler, Patrick Leigh Fermor is remembered for his travelogues such as A Time of Gifts. Affectionately known to fans as Paddy Fermor, his autobiographical writings hardly ever mentioned his military exploits. Though he had initially declined the knighthood, he later accepted it.
Royal Engineers army officer John Chard was one of the 11 men to receive the Victoria Cross for defeating a Zulu army of 4,000 warriors at the battle of Rorke's Drift, with a British army of 135. His handwritten account of the war was later auctioned off for £175,000.
Former Royal Navy officer David Hart Dyke was the son of a Royal Navy commander and had begun his career as a midshipman. His transcriptions on his return from the disastrous Falklands War were later released as Four Weeks in May. He had also been an aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II.
British soldier Bob Astles is best remembered as an associate of Ugandan presidents Milton Obote and Idi Amin. He also led Uganda’s anti-smuggling unit, for which he was given the title of Major by Amin, while Obote made him the head of the TV section of Uganda’s Information Ministry.
Also known as Captain B. H., soldier and historian B. H. Liddell Hart is best remembered for his research on military theory and his book Strategy. He was against frontal attack as a war strategy. He had also been part of the Battle of the Somme and was later knighted.
Legendary 14th-century English soldier John Hawkwood is best remembered for his services as a condottiero, or mercenary leader, in Italy. Starting his military career with the Hundred Years’ War in France, and later joined the White Company, spending over three decades in Italy. He was immortalized in a Paolo Uccello fresco.
British politician Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, was initially mildly Conservative and later a Social Democrat. He was married to one of the Mitford sisters, Deborah Mitford. Known for his self-deprecating humor, he had also been part of World War II and later became the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations.
Legendary RAF pilot Leonard Cheshire was not just famous for his exploits during World War II but was also a dedicated philanthropist. His heroic action of flying a burned bomber plane back safely won him a Distinguished Service Order. His charitable trust is now known as Leonard Cheshire Disability.
A former member of the SAS (Special Air Service), Simon Mann is better known as the cofounder of Sandline International, a private military company active in Angola and Sierra Leone. In 2004, he gained international notoriety for leading the Wonga Coup, which eventually led to his arrest. Sentenced to 24 years prison-term in Zimbabwe, he was released after three years on humanitarian ground.
John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, was 13 when he first joined the navy. The British admiral later became the First Sea Lord. He is remembered for introducing torpedo-boat destroyers and for improving the naval gunnery. He retired over bitter disagreements with the likes of Winston Churchill and their naval expedition plans.
Educated at Oxford, Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat was initially part of the Scots Guards and then joined the Lovat Scouts. Also known as Shimi Lovat and MacShimidh, he is remembered for his exploits in Operation Overlord and the Dieppe Raid during World War II. He had also the Military Cross.
Recipient of the Victoria Cross, Gonville Bromhead was a British army officer, hailed for his role in the defence of Rorke's Drift during 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. He not only played an important part in repulsing the Zulu assault, but also stayed back to defend the area from future attacks until he was sent back to England to receive his award.