War within wars

Paul Addison

As he looks forward to his 70th birthday Sir Michael Howard can also look back over a distinguished career which began with Wellington, Christ Church and the Coldstream Guards. In 1943, as Lieutenant Howard, fresh from the University, he led his platoon in a dangerous uphill charge against a German position north of Salerno. For this he was awarded the Military Cross, and ended the war, twice wounded, as Captain Howard. Returning to Oxford, where he had already obtained a first in Part I of Modern History, he set his sights on an academic career. But as a result, perhaps, of the distractions of the Oxford Union, and a performance just before finals as Wolsey in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, he missed a First in Part II. This was a stroke of luck which, by ruling out a tutorship at Oxford, freed him to pursue his interests in military history as a lecturer at King’s College, London. His first book, a history of the Coldstream Guards written jointly with John Sparrow, was published in 1951.

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