Major Mark Adkin spent many years as an infantry officer in the British Army seeing active service in Malaya and Aden. This was followed by a career as an administrative officer in the Colonial Service in the Solomon Islands and Gilbert Islands (now Kirbati) in the Pacific where he was a District Officer and later Secretary to a minister. The next five years was in uniform again as a contract officer with the Barbados Defence Force and as an internal security planner for several Caribbean islands.
The event that triggered Mark’s third career as a military historian and author was his participation in the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. This prompted him to write his first book – Urgent Fury, an account of the invasion as he saw it. Since then he has had another eleven military history books published by Pen and Sword, HarperCollins and Aurum Press. These include The Last Eleven? (VC winners since World War, Goose Green (the Falkland’s battle), The Quiet Operator with John Simpson (about a Special Operations Executive wireless operator in World War 2), Prisoner of the Turnip Heads with George Wright-Nooth (experiences in a Japanese prison camp in Hong Kong) and The Charge (the Light Brigade’s charge at Balaklava.) In partnership with Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf, a former head of the Parkistan secret intellignence service (ISI), The Bear Trap was published in 1992 telling the story of the brigadier’s role as de facto commander-in-chief of the Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was republished in 2001 and 2007 under the title The Battle for Afghanistan as the subject remains relevant today.
However, his most popular books have been his ‘Companion‘ series. These include The Sharpe Companion, The Sharpe Companion – His Early Life and the Waterloo, Trafalgar and, most recently, The Gettysburg Companion about which the Supervising Historian at the Gettysburg National Military Park wrote – ‘This is the Gettysburg book that students and aficionados of the battle have dreamed about … [it] is quite simply an absolute gem.‘ He is currently working on a Western Front Companion.
Mark is a Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society, a member of the Royal United Services Institute and lectures on the charge of the Light Brigade and some aspects of the Battle of Waterloo.