Meet Some Of The PSG Members Working Behind The Scenes!
|PSG Co-ordinator – Roger Thomas interest in military and naval structures was fired at the early age of eight, living at a farm on the former RAF Carew Cheriton aerodrome and having a pillbox as his den. His interest continued to grow; joining the Fortress Study Group in 1978, the Medway Military Research Group, and the United Kingdom Fortification Club in 1980. He assisted Henry Wills to gather data on the anti-invasion defences of West Wales, and along with John Hellis, was part of the Holderness Survey team, who were responsible for the creation of the `Defence of Britain Project. Roger worked as the Military Support Officer of English Heritage between 1993 and 2012, before becoming a Designation Adviser. He was largely responsible for ensuring the preservation of the former 20 Group Royal Observer Corps protected group headquarters at York (an English Heritage guardianship site), he sits on the Welsh Conflict Advisory Panel, is a trustee of Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the Chapel Bay Fort & Museum Trust, and is a committee member of the Fortress Study Group.|
|Pillbox Study Group Patron - John Hellis first became interested in Defence Structures over 40 years ago when little was known about 20th Century fortifications.|
As a Military Archaeologist he was one of the small group of people who were responsible for the creation of the `Defence of Britain Project` and for 4 years was the project `Military Archaeologist`.
He has recently completed a Degree in War Studies at the University of Birmingham and devotes much of his spare time to his position as the Pillbox Study Group Co-ordinator.
|Alistair Graham Kerr - Pillbox Study Group ‘Loopholes’ Magazine Editor - Alistair comes from a military background with both parents being archaeologists. So, from an early age he had an interest in defences of one sort or another and by the age of twelve he knew about the pillboxes around his home in South Oxfordshire.|
However, it wasn't until he was in his teens and his involvement in the research with the late Henry Wills that he learnt much more about them.
Later still he became a member of the Fortress Study Group (FSG) and became friends with a somewhat younger John Hellis.
He has also worked with John Hellis and Jim Earle as a member of Defence of Britain Project Team.
Alistair devotes a great deal of time to the PSG as Editor of our journal ‘Loopholes’.
|Austin J Ruddy B.A.(Hons) - Pillbox Study Group official handbook author ‘British Anti-Invasion Defences 1940-1945′|
Born in North London and educated at Highgate School and Leicester University, where he attained his degree in Archaeology, Austin J. Ruddy has been passionate about Second World War military and social history for most of his life.
He was a volunteer fieldworker for the Defence of Britain Project from 1995 and has been a keen member and supporter of the Pillbox Study Group for 20 years. Austin has also broadcast on television and radio, talking about wartime coastal and inland defences. He also collects and lectures on wartime British Home Front memorabilia. A journalist, Austin currently writes a daily local history page for the Leicester Mercury newspaper.
Asides from writing the Pillbox Study Group’s official handbook ‘British Anti-Invasion Defences 1940-1945’ (2003), Austin also wrote ‘To The Last Round: The Leicestershire and Rutland Home Guard 1940-1945’ (2007) and is about to publish two books about the air raids and ARP services in Leicester and Leicestershire during the Second World War.
|Colin Anderson - Webmaster.|
Interested in WWII concrete since a visit to Orkney back in the ’90s where Gun Batteries abound, Colin now has to make do with weekly visits to Northumberland as part of his Job as well as regular Concrete spotting trips to other parts of the Country.
He recently became interested in flying a Hexacopter for use in aerial videos of pillboxes.
He has been delivering beer for a living since 1984 (ought to know better by now!!)
|Graham G Matthews B.Sc(Hons) - Pillbox Study Group Lifetime Member|
Graham first became interested in Pillboxes as a young Air Training Corps Cadet whilst camping in a `Type 22` on Predannick Airfield, Cornwall!
This developed into serious `spotting` when he became a `Field Recorder` for the `Defence of Britain Project` during the 1990’s.
Having served in the Royal Navy for almost two decades as a Commando Helicopter Pilot, Lynx Antarctic Survey Pilot and Helicopter Flying Instructor (QHI) he now flies as a Long haul Commercial Airline Pilot for one of the UK`s largest scheduled airlines.
From 2001 until 2013 Graham served as the PSG Webmaster and Forum Administrator and has recently been awarded a ‘Lifetime Membership’ of the Pillbox Study Group in recognition of longstanding service to both the group and to the preservation of Pillboxes & Anti-Invasion Defences in the UK.