New Support Groups for Military Community

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched a new regional network to help veterans, serving personnel and their families’ access welfare support in their local area.

The one year pilot scheme will see 13 new Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs) established across the UK.

The VAPCs replace the previous War Pension Committees, and will have a fresh focus and a much wider role, including:

•           Acting as advocates for implementing improved cross-Government support, including the services outlined in the Service Personnel Command Paper and the Armed Forces ‘Welfare Pathway’. Continue reading “New Support Groups for Military Community”

Terror Cops

Harry Keeble writes about his time in S-Squad, the elite counter-terrorism surveillance unit that keeps an eye on perceived dangerous individuals — ranging from extremists ‘cultivated’ in some of the nation’s most famous universities to the occasional professional assassin known to be entering the UK. Told like a thriller, obviously certain names and details have been altered in order ‘to protect UK national security’, but the sense of truthfulness throughout the book remains. [PFC]

Terror Cops, Harry Keeble and Kris Hollington, Pocket Books, £7.99, ISBN 978-085729961-7


Veteran comes highly recommended, at least by its publisher, as the debut novel of a major new British SF talent. And yet, in many respects, it is remarkably old school for the genre, dealing with a long-going space war with an implacable alien menace, and regularly presenting readers with a stupendous array of incredible weapons that are, with all the inevitability of a gadget shown early on in a James Bond movie, used to invariably violent effect later on…  And yet, to be fair, it does take us to some places never visited by SF novels before — Dundee, for instance? [PFC]

Veteran, Gavin Smith, Gollancz, £12.99, ISBN 978 0 575 09410 9

The Spitfire Story

Originally published back in 1982, this revised edition marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain retains the air of an older book – text heavy, with the restrained use of mono photography. For anyone with a real interest in the history and development of the iconic fighter aircraft, however, this lack of distraction is ideal, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a more detailed, more thoroughly-researched narrative of Reginald J Mitchell’s genuinely beautiful design. And some of the details are genuinely mind-blowing; for instance, back in 1937, Japanese company Mitsubishi was keen to buy a single Spitfire. Just think of the potential change to the Second World War if that sale had gone ahead! Liberally illustrated with photographs from both public and private collections, this is a work that dares to be definitive. [PFC]

The Spitfire Story, Alfred Price, Haynes Publishing, £25, ISBN 978-184425819-2


We have three copies of The Spitfire Story to give away! For a chance of winning a copy, email your contact details (name, address, telephone number) to with ‘Spitfire Story’ in the subject line. Alternatively, send your details to Spitfire Story Giveaway, Craven Publishing, 15-39 Durham Street, Glasgow, G41 1BS.

101 Whiskies to try Before You Die

There’s nothing new about guides for this, or guides for that. What is new is that this particular tome has left out the intimidating in jokes and snobbery that so often leaves nothing but a bad taste in the mouth. Happily there are whiskies here to suit all tastes and all pockets.

It’s easy to pick up this ‘miniature’ and take a wee nip of knowledge here and there. With commercial favourites and new delights to savour, ‘101 Whiskies’ has a good balance of texture and the warm character of the author following through. With top notes of wit, charm and subtle hints of insight this is a great guide for novice and seasoned taste buds alike. [TJ]

101 Whiskies to try Before You Die, Ian Buxton, Hachette Scotland, RRP £12.99; ISBN: 978-075536083-3