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113 Service personnel have been granted state honours, and 50 civilians have also been honoured either for work in the Ministry of Defence or in other aspects of UK Defence. They are listed in full on the next page

Major General Mungo Melvin has managed to produce a very readable history of the Crimea and Sevastopol. This book serves to burnish his credentials as a military historian, following as it does his other work on the life and campaigns of Hitler’s great commander Manstein.  The book is very timely given recent and on-going events in the region. At just over 600 pages, Melvin takes the reader from the earliest references to settlement in the region of Crimea up to 2014; a tour de force.

The history of Sevastopol is closely tied to the history of Russia. In a year which marks the centenary of the Russian revolution, this book has the added merit of filling in the ‘back story’ of Russia for those unfamiliar with the way in which it pursued its own version of the ‘manifest destiny’ of expansion adopted by the US in the 19th century.

British readers will be familiar with Sevastopol from the Crimean War of 1854-55. The strategic significance of the port was the reason for the siege undertaken by the British and their French allies. The city was besieged again in 1941-42 by the Nazis, who largely destroyed it. The transfer of the Crimea to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1954 was little noticed by western commentators in the middle of the Cold War. Melvin’s book reminds us that when politicians swap territory over the heads of the population, they store up trouble for future generations.

The author takes considerable pains to spell out the history of this strategic territory. It repays reading, as the tendency among commentators and policy makers is to listen to those who scream loudest. The history of this region, like most of Europe, did not begin in 1945 and cultural and folk memories are often shaped by a sense of grievance. This book helps the reader to make up their own mind about recent events. The author does well to maintain a neutral stance throughout.

As befits a book written by a military historian, Sevastopol’s Wars is well equipped with reference material. An extensive bibliography is complemented by a useful selection of maps (the author is a Royal Engineer, which has been the provider of military maps), and the book is well foot noted. The reader will be richly rewarded by this book, both in the reading and for future reference.

Reviewed by Nick Watts, Deputy Director, U K Defence Forum

Sevastopol's Wars is published by Osprey

Secretary of State - Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP

Minister of State - Rt Hon Earl Howe

Minister of State - Mark Lancaster TD MP

Minister for Defence Procurement - Harriet Baldwin MP

Minister for People and Veterans - Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP

We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions for comrades and families welcome

There is often a temptation to talk about tribes in the Middle East as an eternal, unchanging reality, and to understand their socio-political presence as an intractable, necessary evil. In the sprialling civil wars of Yemen and Libya, there is little to challenge this position, writes Charlie Pratt. The chaos visited on both countries has enabled tribes to strengthen themselves as key military actors, controlling access to territory and resources for large portion of the South and East of both countries. Each seem eternal. This appearance matters, not just because it is a depressing indicator of the near total regression of the state in these countries, but because tribes as small, regional-local competitive social constructs now define the future trajectory of Middle Eastern geo-political security. By extension, that means European security too.

We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and colleagues welcome.

While the world anxiously watches the Korean peninsula, or the South China Sea for signs of incipient war, the level of armed conflict around the world has continued to exact a deadly toll. Just ten conflicts accounted for more than 80% of the fatalities worldwide, according to this year's Armed Conflict Survey, produced by the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Nick Watts was at the launch for us.

In 2017 Britain will be the world's third biggest defence spender and second biggest aid donor. Indeed, according to IHS Janes Britain will in 2017 spend 54bn or $66bn on defence, whilst the British government's own figures show that London will spend some 13bn or $17bn on aid and development. Hoorah!

And yet Britain's defence budget is apparently again in crisis with some estimates suggesting Britain's armed forces face a 20bn/$26bn funding gap between defence commitments and defence investment. This gap matters. The entire point of Britain's defence strategy is to leverage the power of alliance and coalitions by acting as a leadership hub or 'framework' power in the worst-case event of multiple and simultaneous crises.

Marking the passing of those who served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

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