From the Editor


I want to kick off this month with our cover story: Melody Foreman’s interview with her late friend, Keith Quilter. He was a proud Fleet Air Arm pilot with an incredible story of service in the Far East, so enjoy his tale of luck as he recalls the kamikaze attacks on HMS Formidable and being shot down within sight of the Japanese coastline.

Another beneficiary of luck – and certainly of fortune – was Joannes Wyllie, a Scot who mastered a Confederate blockade runner. We find out what motivated him, and, believing the involvement of Britons in the American Civil War to be unusual, we explore our forgotten impact in a bloody war between brothers.

July sees the 25th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony of Hong Kong. Considered by many to be the last act of the Empire, the 1997 transfer of sovereignty to China is something I hope resonates with readers, as I suspect many of you were born, lived or served there. As a very young boy, I keenly remember discussions with my mother about the significance of the coming handover – in fact, it is one of my earliest memories of a major global event, kickstarting a lifelong fascination with history. Therefore, I am delighted to welcome Dr Kwong Chi Man and his exploration of Hong Kong’s military history. He told me: “I do hope readers with any connection with the garrisons in HK and the Far East can find their place in the timeline.”

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