About Jonathan Hicks


Dr Jonathan Phillip Hicks was born in Barry, south Wales in 1957 and lives there with his wife Wendy and three sons. At university he studied English and History, and then began his career as an English teacher and is now a Headteacher. He is also currently a member of three committees advising the Welsh Government on the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. He has appeared on the BBC’s ‘Coming Home’ series as a guest presenter. A military historian, he is a member of the Royal Historical Society, Great War Society and Western Front Association and he has won awards for two of his military history books: The Myths and Realities of the Anglo-Zulu War and Barry and the Great War. His third, Strange Hells, was written after learning of his great uncle’s service at Gallipoli and on the Western Front during the Great War. In 2014 he wrote an illustrated account on the role Barrians played in WW2 – Barry and the Second World War. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines such as Soldiers of the Queen, Stand To, The Great War Magazine, The Armourer, Medal News and Britain at War and he regularly gives lectures on military history throughout south Wales. Jonathan has organised three major military exhibitions for his hometown and is extremely proud that Barry’s Roll of Honour for the Great War, situated in the Memorial Hall, now includes 74 extra names as a result of his meticulous research and fundraising. Jonathan played a leading role in the organisation of the 2012 Barry Wartime Weekend and dedicated a marble plaque unveiled on the town square to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of American troops in Barry as part of the build up to D-Day. He was also instrumental in the restoration of the Aberthaw Cement Works plaque to their employees who fell during WW2. In 2012 he raised over £600 for Help for Heroes by undertaking a 13-mile route march in WW2 American kit with his wife Wendy and regularly stages exhibitions and events to raise money for Forces charities. As Chairman of the Hut 9 Island Farm Preservation Group, his latest project is the restoration of the sole remaining hut of the PoW camp from which 70 German officers made their escape in March 1945 – the Welsh Great Escape. His first novel, The Dead of Mametz, was published in 2011 and introduced the character of Thomas Oscendale, a WW1 military policeman. Readers can now follow Thomas Oscendale in the sequel, Demons Walk Among Us, a murder mystery set in 1917 which has currently been nominated for the 2014 Crime Writer’s Association Dagger Award. It has received excellent reviews.

There are plenty of war novels around, but a great majority of them lean so heavily on action scenes that nuances of character remain unexplored. That never happens in Hicks’ second astounding book about the Great War, where the muddy misery of the men in the trenches contrasts starkly with the soft green hills of southern Wales. Military policeman Captain Thomas Oscendale is back home in Barry, Wales, recovering from the horrific battlefield of Gallipoli when a serial killer begins stalking his formerly peaceful village. Yes, a strong plot, rife with heartrending battlefield scenes in Gallipoli and the Somme, but author Hicks isn’t content with mere gore. Believing that there are no minor characters, he delves into the souls of even the briefest of walk-ons. Oscendale himself is a miracle of novel portraiture.  — Betty Webb







Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Hicks