Martin Pegler has a BA Hons in Medieval and Modern History and an MA in Museum Studies, both from University College, London, and was for many years the Senior Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds. He now lives in the Somme, France, where he and his wife run a small bed and breakfast, which is situated on top of the old German front line! Martin has established The Somme Historical Centre (www.martinpegler.com), where visitors can see the technology used in the 1914-18 trench warfare. Martin enjoys shooting historic firearms, and has participated in many shooting competitions. He is currently an author and firearms consultant and he also lectures at local Great War museums. In his spare time, Martin runs motorcycle tours of the battlefield. He is the author of a number of books including The Military Sniper since 1914, Firearms in the American West 1700-1900, and the highly acclaimed Out of Nowhere: A History of the Military Sniper, and he has also contributed to a number of magazines. In the 1980s he had the privilege of interviewing many World War I veterans about their wartime experiences, and the recordings are now part of the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum, London.
What are you doing at the moment?
Dividing my time between doing battlefield tours, writing and refitting our kitchen.
When did you get hooked on history and why?
Ever since I was a child it has fascinated me. I have no explanation for it though.
If you were any warrior from history who would you be?
Hmmm, tricky. Nobody famous really appeals to me, possibly an archer at Agincourt or one of the Guards square at Waterloo. Certainly not a private on the Somme.
What is your favourite war film?
For accuracy, Private Ryan, for sheer mastery of the subject, Oh What a Lovely War.
Why do you think Military History is important?
All of the folly of mankind is to be found there, and if anyone cared to look, most of the answers too. Alas, every generation re-invents the wheel.
What is your favourite quote from history/historical quote?
George Santayana, 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
If you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?
No trouble there, a Lancaster bomber and MkIV tank from WW1. In fact I have driven in a MkIV tank....
Best military cock-up in history?
Who is your military hero?
A man called Harry Furness. It's a long story.
If you could pit two armies from history against each other, which two would you pick, and why?
The Afrika Korps and the Roman Legions. What a dust-up that would be.
Elephants or horses? Discuss the pros and cons…
Oh come on, I live in France, that question here simply means the best way to cook them....
Favourite Michael Caine quote?
It has to be 'Not a lot of people know that.'
What is your favourite war comic?
I don't have one, I think I was 12 when I read the last one.
Spartan or Roman?
Roman, I prefer to wear clothes.
What is your favourite Osprey book?
Almost impossible to answer, some I love for their artwork, some for the topics and the extraordinary knowledge that many authors have.
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