It was a real privilege on 9 November 2021 to be asked by the organisers of the Tring Book Festival to interview Ollie Ollerton about his new book, 'All Or Nothing', at the Court Theatre in Tring. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Ollie, known to millions from his appearances on the Channel 4 TV show 'SAS: Who Dares Wins' was great company and shared anecdotes from his career in the special forces, as well as from his childhood and life after the services. The audience was particularly engaging and asked Ollie lots of insightful, and sometimes difficult, questions. I have done a number of these sorts of interviews before but this one ranks as one of the most enjoyable and fun, mainly because both Ollie and the audience were so engaged!
I strongly recommend the book. Its hero, Alex Abbott, is an ex-special forces operative who sets out to track down his brother's killer. Its completely absorbing and kept me up most of the night. Much of the action is based on Ollie's own experiences in the special forces, as well as his subsequent work as a security consultant in Iraq. This means that it's authentic and entirely believable.
Gurkhas were first recruited to serve the Crown in 1815 during the wars between the East India Company and Nepal. This brief illustrated history explains the background and provides an insight into why, 200 years later, these remarkable soldiers continue to serve in today's British Army.
Gurkhas have served the British Crown for over 200 years. During that time, many people have made statements about them that describe why they are so special. This section contains a selection of the best Gurkha quotes.
Craig Lawrence has been a member of the Society of Authors for many years and values their advice and guidance on a whole range of issues. If you are a writer already, or even thinking of becoming one, then why not look at the Society's webpages as they are filled with interesting and extremely useful information that you might find helpful. Click on the image to see their site - and happy writing!
Most strategy books introduce you to lots of different tools, techniques and methodologies that can be used to analyse almost everything. The problem is that they don’t explain how to apply them in a sequence that starts with confirming whether you need a strategy and, if you do, what you want it to achieve, and ends with a completed strategy that you can implement and then adapt as circumstances change (which they inevitably will). This book is different because that’s exactly what it does.
Based on fourteen critical thinking questions dispersed over five thematic stages, the proven methodology described in the book is entirely scalable. This means it works when you only have a few hours to decide how you’re going to react to a rapidly unfolding situation and when you have the luxury of more time to develop your strategy.
Using examples from across the public, private and third sectors, the book provides an invaluable handrail for entrepreneurs, company directors (executive and non-executive), charity trustees, senior government officials, school governors and anyone else who wants to understand how to develop an effective strategy, one that exploits the opportunities and overcomes the obstacles that today’s increasingly chaotic and uncertain environment creates.
Craig Lawrence was commissioned into the British Army's Gurkhas in 1983. After studying engineering science at Durham University, he joined his regiment in Hong Kong and then spent the next thirty-three years either serving with Gurkhas or filling a variety of appointments in various military headquarters, including the Ministry of Defence. Whilst in the Army, he completed numerous overseas tours and commanded his Gurkha battalion on operations in the Balkans and in Africa. His final operational deployment was to Afghanistan as the Director of the International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF's) Election Support Cell, where. working with the Afghan authorities and the international community, he led the development and implementation of a strategy to reduce risk to the 2014 Presidential and Provincial Elections. He left the military as a major general in 2016 to join the staff of the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London, where, until recently, he was the Course Director and Director of Strategy and Strategic Leadership. He now runs his own consultancy company, Craig Lawrence Consulting, which helps organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors develop the strategies and senior leadership skills they need to succeed in today's dynamic, uncertain and competitive operating environment.
Craig Lawrence is the author of six books: two thrillers (both featuring Gurkha veteran Harry Parker); two commemorative Gurkha histories, both of which have become Amazon best-sellers; and two books on strategy and strategic leadership. His most recent book, The Quick Guide to Effective Strategy, was published in February 2023. This website provides an introduction to Craig Lawrence's books and articles and provides short illustrated histories of the Gurkhas and their famous kukri (or khukuri) knife! It also includes collections of quotes about Gurkhas and strategy. Use the page tabs above or the links at the bottom of the page - below 'Latest News' - to navigate around the website.
When her brother is killed in a diving accident, journalist Amélie Lagarde asks ex-Gurkha Harry Parker to help her investigate. Together they get drawn into a desperate battle between an ambitious Prime Minister, MI5 and an ex-Taliban commander, now the world’s most wanted terrorist, leaving them with no choice but to take matters into their own hands.
'Fast paced and action-packed from the start...well worth getting hold of.’ Soldier Magazine (the magazine of the British Army)
'Breathtaking read. Couldn't put it down! A real page turner. Had me on the edge of my seat throughout.' Amazon reader review
The famous Gurkha fighting knife, the kukri or khukuri, has remained virtually unchanged for over two centuries. This short illustrated history looks back over 200 years and explains why it remains as relevant on today as it was more than 200 years ago when it was first used against the British!
It was a real privilege on Saturday 15 August 2020 to talk to Lukwesa Burak on BBC News about the role of Gurkhas in the Far East Campaign and, in particular, as part of General Bill Slim's so-called 'Forgotten Army' in Burma. The interview formed part of the BBC's coverage of VJ Day 75, the formal commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Japan at the end of the Second World War. Not many people realise the enormous contribution that Gurkhas made in the Far East Campaign, with 35,000 soldiers deploying in 27 infantry battalions, including two parachute battalions. Gurkhas also took part in the two Chindit Operations, the first of which took place in February and March of 1943 with the second taking place from March to July 1944. In the first Chindit Operation, 1,289 of the 3,000 strong force were Gurkhas. During the Burma Campaign, Gurkhas were awarded 9 Victoria Crosses, a quite remarkable achievement. Click on either of the images to the left to watch the interview.
One legacy of the Burma Campaign that endures today is the Gurkhas' professionalism in the jungle. The skills developed during the Burma Campaign proved extremely effective in a number of subsequent conflicts, including:
- The Malayan Emergency (1948 - 1960).
- The Brunei Revolt (1962).
- The Borneo Confrontation (1963 - 1966).
- East Timor (1999).
The Gurkhas continue to place huge importance on being able to live and fight in the jungle better than anybody else. This is important as the Gurkha battalion based in Brunei now provides the British Army's only fully trained and acclimatised jungle unit. You can find out more about Gurkhas in the jungle at this link and more about Gurkhas in the Second World War at this link.
On 13 July 2021, Craig was honoured to give a talk for the Gurkha Museum on the Gurkhas' 206 years of service to the British Crown, including their 20 years in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. The talk, which was the third in the Museum's innovative 'Ghar ma Sunnu' ('Listen at Home') series, was followed by a lively question and answer session facilitated by the Director of the Gurkha Museum. The Q&A explored the future of the Gurkhas, as well as leadership, discipline, female Gurkha recruitment and lots of other interesting subjects.
You can watch the talk by clicking on the 'Who Are The Gurkhas?' image or the clicking the button below the image. The talk lasts for about 50 minutes and includes nearly a hundred fascinating images of Gurkhas from the last two centuries. The talk is available FREE, though there is an opportunity to make a donation to the Gurkha Museum if you wish to.
It was a great privilege to launch the new Gurkha book with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales on 9 July 2019 at the 25th anniversary celebrations of The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR). Prince Charles kindly wrote the foreword to the book, using this as an opportunity to explain why he is so proud to be the Colonel in Chief of this famous regiment.
Click on the link below to find out more about the book.
Decorated for bravery but now tired of violence, Gurkha veteran Harry Parker has settled in Nepal, seeking a quieter life. But a chance encounter with a beautiful academic soon shatters the tranquillity he craves and launches him on a high-stakes adventure to unravel a deadly conspiracy with the City of London at its heart.
'Think dogs of war and Bourne Series.' Michael Jecks, best-selling author and critic
'...a hard-to-put-down adventure that contains just the right mix of mystery, romance and intrigue. Verdict: This absorbing yarn should appeal to all tastes.' Soldier Magazine (the magazine of the British Army), September 2015
'A first-class debut novel...the plot is pacey, imaginative and intricate, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to what might happen next.' Goodreads Review
Craig Lawrence's new Gurkha history was published in July 2019 to commemorate the 25 years of The Royal Gurkha Rifles. This section describes the book, explains why it was written and includes images of the Regimental Launch on 9 July 2019 with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (who wrote the book's foreword).
Craig Lawrence's first adventure thriller was published in 2015. With heroes, villains, a bit of romance, Gurkhas and lots of action, it has attracted excellent reviews, some of which are included in this section. His latest thriller was published in 2020 and sees Gurkha veteran Harry Parker pitting his wits against an ex-Taliban commander, now the world's most wanted terrorist!
Some think a strategy is just a high level plan; others believe it differs from a plan because it is designed to deal with uncertainty. This section provides multiple perspectives in the form of strategy quotes. It also describes 'Getting Strategy Right (Enough)' and provides a link to a recent article co-authored by Craig Lawrence that looks at the defining nature of strategy.
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I was truly humbled this June when the magazine of The Royal British Legion included an article about my career and, specifically, why I wrote the new 'Gurkha' book. The author of the article did a fantastic job of reducing my ramblings in a long interview down to a pithy explanation of why I think it is so important to record the heroic actions of the many people who have made The Royal Gurkha Rifles what it is today, particularly those who have been killed or wounded on the Regiment's numerous overseas operations. You can read the full article by clicking the link below.
You can use the following links to see quotes about Gurkhas and find out what soldiers from The Royal Gurkha Rifles are currently doing:
I was delighted in July 2020 when Soldier Magazine, the official magazine of the British Army, gave 'Reasonable Doubt' a fantastic review, describing it as 'fast paced and action packed' and recommending it as 'a good, easy-to-read book which is well worth getting hold of.' I work extremely hard to make my books accessible, regardless of the complexity of the plot and the characters, so I was particularly pleased with the bit about being 'easy to read'. You can read the complete review on Page 64 of July's Soldier Magazine by clicking the button below: