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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

8th Meeting of the 190th Session (2010-2011)

Members' Night

"Balloons, Bombers and Brave Men"
by Brigadier Ian Gardiner Royal Marines

In the Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
On Monday 6th June 2011, at 7pm

In 1908, HG Wells wrote a sci-fi thriller called The War in the Air in which a fleet of Zeppelin airships crossed the Atlantic and devastated New York. When war broke out in 1914, many people believed that HG Wells' story would come true, and that London would be laid waste by German airships as soon as the Kaiser gave the order. Zeppelins also meant that the Royal Navy couldn't move in the North Sea without being spotted. Thus the British government was spurred into creating the first prototype air force, and the Royal Navy, led by Winston Churchill, was forced into bombing Zeppelins in their bases.

Ian Gardiner's talk will describe the thinking and the technical innovations that underlay these first raids, much of which has been lost in the long grass of history, and how they led to the tank, the Blitz, and the massive raids on Germany and Japan in the Second World War, and the development of aircraft carriers: and the ghosts from 1914 which haunt us still today as we bomb Libya.

Ian Gardiner was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1968. He fought in the Dhofar War in Oman from 1973 to 1975, where he was decorated with the Omani Distinguished Service Medal for Gallantry. He also commanded a rifle company in 45 Commando Royal Marines in the Falklands War in 1982. From 1994 to1996 he commanded 40 Commando Royal Marines, which included his fourth operational tour in Northern Ireland. He has also been the Royal Marines Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and, in 1997, graduated from the Royal College of Defence Studies.

His final appointment was Secretary to the Military Committee at NATO Headquarters in Brussels where he was involved in the political/strategic direction of the Kosovo conflict. He left the Royal Marines in 2001 and is now a keynote speaker on leadership, and an author of military history.

His first book, "In the Service of the Sultan", a first hand account of the Dhofar War, was published in 2006. This was released in Arabic in 2010. His second book, "The Flatpack Bombers", telling the story of the first strategic bombing raids in history in 1914, was published in 2009. His third book, "The Yompers", which will describe a fighting Royal Marine's perspective of the Falklands War, will be published in 2012.

Location of meeting

Following the lecture there will be a drinks and nibbles reception to which Fellows and their guest are warmly invited.

Would Fellows please note that the AGM has been postponed until the autumn.

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary
Telephone: 0131 556 2161

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