Leaning on a Lamp Post
"Leaning on a Lamp Post has been slowly absorbed, as befits a book set in three different years - and most intriguing it was. It was good to explore Basingstoke in 1910 with you as I have been with Fred and Ethel from the start. Throughout the chapters set in 1952 there were odd things that stirred recollections for me - so thank you for that."
Geoff Thornton (Crawley - UK)
"I found it compelling reading and had a job to put it down. Truly a most revealing biographical history and I admire the way that you have brought it to life with fictional, but entirely probable, dialogue. My profound congratulations for a wonderful achievement."
Katie West (Reading, UK)
Seven Days in April
"I read the mystery while on holiday in Jamaica and really enjoyed it, particularly looking into the day to day life in the Aerodrome and the vibrance of the Captain and other characters."
Bryan Tripp (Ontario - Canada)
"I certainly enjoyed your second book (as I had the first) and now Margaret is reading it. It's a trifle technical in parts and she did ask what a magneto was. Her son Andrew was so intrigued by it all he is now going to read "For God, England and Ethel".
Geoff Thornton (Crawley - UK)
"You are indeed a gifted writer. The story is so full of action and the characters really come alive. I read well into the early hours of the morning to finish the book."
Katie West (Reading, UK)
"Your book is really good! I truly enjoyed it. If you can write like that, you deserve success."
Sharon Willmott (Hadstock - UK)
"I read your book in just three days. That will tell you how much I enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. I reckon you should have a great success there! You have a nice style which leads you on. It could make a good film, too! I don't know what they did to the cover - it's so velvety and soft."
Denise Johnson (Epsom - UK)
"I enjoyed your book, an interesting combination of your WW1 air war knowledge with an ingenious crime element - a real 'who dunnit'."
Rev John Giles (Murwillumbah - Australia)
For God, England & Ethel
"I've been absolutely floored by your skill in taking what must have been truckloads of
information and turning it into a damn good read. I was in the middle of reading 'Charles Kingsford Smith and those magnificent Men' by Peter Fitzsimons when your book arrived and I'm glad I put his down to read yours. You've both brought history back to life, but I think you've given him a run for his money! Well done! Bring on the next one!"
Flt Lt Lee McDowall (RAAF - Adelaide, Australia)
". . . I have to admit that I have never read a story book before in all my 78 years. I have read many history books, manuals and articles etc but never a story such as you have written. I did get near to reading a Western in 1950 when on the troopship going out to join 6 sqn in Egypt, but I soon got fed up with that. I must say that your book grabbed me from day one and my wife could not drag me away from it. I felt I was serving on the Western Front living his [Fred's]experiences. I think I even dreamt about it a couple of times. You have certainly done an excellent job on your grandfather`s diary. I think it would make a good period film."
Ken Hopper (ex 6 Squadron RAF, London, UK)
"Just a note to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your book. I am full of admiration for those wonderful young men in the Royal Flying Corps. Your grandfather Fred was certainly a clever and talented man. Thanks for such a well-written book"
Molly Hartridge (Canada)
"I tend to look at aircraft stories and put them aside - sorry I did this with yours as I have enjoyed it so much. What a story! All that amazing research and effort. Your grandfather must have been an interesting man and incredibly loyal to his God, country and Ethel."
Evelaine Berry (Kiama - Australia)
"I loved your book! It was great to be transported back in time and to get an idea of what life was like for the people during that time. I have to admit to a sense of sadness when I read that your grandfather never made it back to Belgium and never saw his lady friend again. But I guess travelling back then wasn't as easy or cheap as it is now. And the planes they were in!"
Ed Fitzgerald (Sydney, Australia)
"I enjoyed your book very much. You must have put an enormous amount of research into it. It was extraordinary to me that you managed so convincingly, and with such imagination, to put youself into the hearts and minds of those airmen, in order to convey their experiences of that terrible war."
Mike Stoker (Farnum, UK)
"I read your book from cover to cover in four days! I enjoyed it very much and didn't want to put it down. What a pity the old boys of the RFC are now dead. How they would have enjoyed the detail, it really came alive! I bet Mother and Father are having a celebratory drink 'up there'. They would have been so proud of you - as I am!"
Denise Johnson (Fred's daughter - UK)
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. It gives a very good account of what Squadron life would have been like in those days, much more so than reading the bare facts from the official records. "
George Robertson (OC 6 Squadron 1978-1980)
" Your book moved me. The characters simply came alive. When I came to the end I had to sit for an hour before I could come back to 'now'."
Brenda Payne (Gloucester, NSW, Australia)
"Your book was great - one of the best that I've read"
The late Ray Bond (Maitland, Australia)
"Thank you so much for the book. It is amazing and I enjoyed reading it very much. The maps are very good too."
Liz Milward (Brandhoek, Belgium)
". . . it has been a very good read. I have visited all those [men] that have a known grave so it is especially poignant to me as I didn't know how some of them perished. When next I go [to Belgium] I will travel with the book. It was a nice twist at the end to see why you entitled it with that name."
Phillip Millward (Official Historian, 6 Squadron, RAF, UK)
"I was given a copy of your book for my birthday but wasn't expecting to enjoy it as I don't normally read historical novels. However, I was pleasantly surprised and absorbed by the story and style of writing."
Emma Lee McDonald (Tweed Heads, Australia)
" You probably won't remember me. We met at the Cherry Blossom [B&B in Vlamertinghe, near Ypres] on one of your brief trips to check the final details of your book. Im pleased to see that you found a publisher for your book, which I am going to read as soon as I get some time. Liz from the CB alerted me that it was out. Just wanted to say congratulations on your achieving your goal, and am looking forward to reading it. Also best of luck with the new book."
Simon Cooper (UK)
"Your work will be a very hard act to follow."
David Perkins (Newcastle, Australia)
"Generally I found it most interesting. I particularly liked the technical descriptions of flying, maintenance and observing the gun 'shoots'. Not so much interested in the social side so to speak. Please advise when the next part of the Trilogy is available."
Brian Williams (ex 6 Squadron RAF, Willeton, Western Australia)
"I have read your book and congratulate you on your very considerable achievement. I think it was a great read and was both a rollicking good yarn and a fascinating piece of history as I certainly knew nothing at all of the RFC beforehand. I particularly liked your use of appropriate RAF-style (slightly old-fashioned) vernacular. Naturally I can't pass an opinion on the accuracy of the facts portrayed, but they were very convincingly expressed - and I believe you............... My expectations were exceedingly exceeded. Very well done.
Mike Penfold (Kangaroo Valley, Australia)
"Emminently readable - somewhat I think like Neville Shute's books, which I love! A wonderful idea to produce an historical study in the form of a novel and the extent of your research leaves me gob-smacked! I so much enjoyed your fluent, readable style and the way that the story unfolds. The characters come alive - at the end of the book one feels that one knows them. Your lovely book has revived in me so many memories of the past."
Katie West (Reading, UK)
"I really enjoyed your book, given to me as a birthday present. I don't normally get much time for reading but I managed to get away and sit on the verandah so that I could read the last fifty pages uninterrupted."
David (Hinton, Australia)
"I haven't had the time to read as much as I would like to over the last few months but once I started reading your book, I couldn't put it down! I think you did an amazing job and I was particularly impressed by the way you described the flying scenes! It was almost like you were there and flying them yourself! It's hard to believe how rudimentary and fragile the flying machines were in those days and I have no idea how those pilots managed to fly a BE2c when they had the observer sitting in front of them obstructing their view! They were truly brave men. It was very sad that most of the men that Fred knew died in combat; especially Jock as he was my favourite character apart from Fred."
Tracey Johnson (Port Stevens, Australia)
"It is a most interesting and 'novel' way to write about his [Fred's] service life. I am personally interested in the book because my father was a pilot with 6 Sqn at Abeele from June to August 1917. He crash landed after returning from a shoot and was invalided back to UK. I hope you find the photographs interesting [ see photos of 6 Squadron on this website] - a small thank you for your well written novel."
Squadron Leader Rob Glover (ex RAF, UK)
"The first thing to strike me was the quality of the prose, not always seen even with renowned novelists. I went through to 'A' Level English thanks to the efforts of Algy Blaxall, Sammy Sanders and Killer Curtis and I am sure each of them would have marked you highly. I was less sure about the excessively polite conversation that never seemed to desert your servicemen whatever the circumstances. I know they were from a different generation but the War led to the involvement of many working class heroes. I learned a great deal about the lives of the fledgling pilots and their observers but for a while they seemed to be serving in a privileged zone well away from the muck and bullets. Perhaps relief is the wrong word but I noticed the change in 1917 as the casualty rate mounted. Your detailed notes, especially the biographical detail, were a real boon. They ensured the historical reporting was not lost in the drama of the lives of the individuals you featured."
Geoff Thornton (High School friend, Crawleigh, UK)
"I really enjoyed reading your book. Before now, the only WW1 aeroplane I knew about was the Sopwith Camel."
- Ken Sawtell (Reedy Creek, Queensland, Australia)
"Not normally my type of book, Steve, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it from cover to cover with great interest - you certainly succeeded in giving it multi-audience appeal! Looking forward to reading the next one!!"
Angela Harmsworth (Gillingham, UK)
"It's a good story and I think it will make an even better film. It's definitely a 'boys own adventure' depicting the swashbuckling
attitudes towards war, the British attitudes and language of the day. Things have changed a little since then."
James Price (Manly, Queensland, Australia)
"I finally finished your book last night and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was my favourite time of the day - I would just sit back and let Fred take me away from all of my problems. What an incredible story and the fact that the majority of it is true is even better. When are you going to start writing the next one?"
Adam Johnson (Sydney, Australia)
"I have read and appreciated 'For God, England and Ethel' and you are to be congratulated. I found it very interesting and easy to read and I hope you are rewarded with many sales."
Ron Edwards (Queensland, Australia)