It was grim and bitterly cold, and soldiers nearby were carrying AK-47s while suspicious-looking characters, dressed in long macs, lurked nearby watching our every move. I suddenly felt as though I was immersed in an old Soviet Union war movie, but reality soon kicked in. This was no movie. It was as real as it gets. This was Sarajevo, Bosnia.
We could have been forgiven for not delivering pleasantries as we stepped out of our two-armored Range Rovers. Serbian warlord Radovan Karadzic walked towards us, surrounded by his monstrous bodyguards, each with a hand on their hip pistols. I had no doubt they’d be quick to use them should a threat appear against their boss. We had a boss too, and 9mm pistols, and Heckler and Koch MP5s. We, too, were prepared to use them. We were well and truly in harm’s way, positioned in the heart of a brutal and gruesome war-zone. It looked, smelled, and felt every bit the part.
Bosnia, in the summer, was pretty grim, but during the wintertime it took the piss. Out on the ground, I would often cast a thought to the warmth and comfort of The Gables pub in Middlesbrough, an old hangout in my hometown, or the delightfully smelling kitchen of my mums on a Sunday afternoon as she cooked a roast. All of that was a far cry from where I was now. It was close to Christmas, but there were no festivities here. Instead, a high-level meeting was taking place at a hotel in the remote mountain village of Pale, eleven miles south-east of Sarajevo.
On one side of the table were the leadership of the Serbian government and military, responsible for the killings of thousands through military and genocidal action during the Balkans War. On the other was one of the most highly decorated and respected British Army officers, General Sir Michael Rose, accompanied by his key advisors.
General Rose commanded a great deal of respect, both prior to and during his current role as the head of the United Nations Military Protection Force in the Balkans. As the former Commanding Officer of the Special Air Service, as well as ‘Director of British Special Forces’, he’d had a career to be admired, and once I started working with him, I found that he backed up everything he said. He was a well-spoken leader, a General who cared about people, but he also took no shit, no matter who was sat opposite him. It was just one of the traits in him that I would grow to admire.
This book took me a number of years to write because it's based on the journey I've taken over the past thirty-years, of my experiences as a professional soldier, of working with some of the biggest names in the world, of traveling to close to 100-countries, and often, being a life coach and being 'in harm's way' while keeping people safe. It was important that I included things that I'd experienced from a young boy to more recent times, where you the reader might be able to learn from my story.
Following my military career, I went on to work with a number of A list celebrities as well as a number of notable business executives, traveling across the world keeping them safe. It's been thoroughly enjoyable and despite requests for stories and secrets, It's never been my intent to betray the trust that was shown in me by the people I was tasked with protecting. 'In Harm's Way' is the story of my life to date, and incorporates so many things that you can learn from where you'll feel motivated and inspired, that's what was important to me in writing it.
Let it be said, I expect nobody reading this book to follow my path. It's been challenging, varied, dynamic and dangerous, but for me, it's also been extremely rewarding. That's the key in whatever you do, to make sure that whatever you do you enjoy it, and that you are able to gain fulfillment. If you can learn from my journey, risk-taking and life choices however, or if you can gain the motivation needed to help drive you to the next level where it helps you in some way, that will do me.
ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING
Well written, well paced book. The curtain gets pulled back allowing a look into the author’s life. Learned a thing or two along the way.
Order In Harm's Way
We landed in Johannesburg shortly before 6pm and were met at the aircraft by a driver who transferred us to the rear side of the international terminal. It was very quiet with no members of the public around as he led us inside to an immigration desk with only one officer working. ‘Oh, so that’s the famous baby,’ he commented. We ignored him as he stamped our passports upon entering South Africa, but his comment registered with me.
We didn’t have any airport officials escorting us as we cleared immigration and made our way down a long corridor, assuming it would lead us to the main terminal, where we were connecting to the British Airways flight in a couple of hours. However, as we came through an electronic door and rounded the corner, I noticed two individuals: a man and woman were stood near the wall who immediately seemed out of place; we’d gone as far as we could without being spotted. They’d been tipped off, no question about it, and they knew exactly where we’d be coming out of, my suspicions from Malawi resurfaced. There was a slight pause as they quickly figured out who we were before hurriedly reaching inside their backpacks for their cameras. I’d expected a couple of people to spot us, but not so soon. What followed however, was nothing short of madness.
We walked faster, not knowing where we were heading as we made our way through crowds of people mingling in the airport. Not only was I dealing with the two paparazzi in front of us and trying to shield David, but I was also looking for the British Airways desk. It was proving difficult as the airport was packed with travelers. With flashes continuously going off, we started to get a lot of attention from everyone, which really didn’t help matters. It felt like someone had just announced on the public address system that we were there: all eyes were seemingly on us.
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