Keynote Speakers

Harry Leslie Smith


Harry Leslie Smith is a 93-year-old Second World War veteran, writer, and political activist. He served in the RAF during the Second World War and spent several years in Hamburg (Germany) during the aftermath, where he met his wife Friede. They returned to England together and later emigrated to Canada. Since his retirement, Harry has written five books, among them Love Among the Ruins (2009), Harry’s Last Stand (2014) and Don’t let my Past be Your Future which is due out in Spring of 2017. Harry’s Last Stand has been described as “a furious poem dedicated to the preservation of the welfare state”. Harry writes regularly for the Guardian and speaks at political events, such as the 2014 Labour Party Conference. He is residing in both Canada and the UK and runs a Twitter feed with over 88,000 followers which can be found @Harryslaststand


Dr Catriona Kennedy


Director, Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York

Dr Kennedy has recently completed a post-doctoral project on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars in Britain and Ireland . The resulting monograph analyses a wide range of personal testimonies by civilians and combatants to explore how the wars were experienced, perceived and narrated by contemporaries. Her current research focuses on the visual and material culture of the British military encounter with Egypt from 1798 to 1920.

For more information on her research please visit her profile page.


General Robin Brims


Lt Gen Brims is former head of UK land forces. He served in the British army for 38 years, and commanded a battalion in Northern Ireland, a brigade and a division in Bosnia, and a division in Iraq. He retired from active duty in 2008 and is now a trustee of the Oswin Project for homeless veterans.