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Biography

After two careers - one in the British army, in England, Northern Ireland, Germany and Canada, and a second in the space industry - Richard Farrimond retired and embarked on a master’s degree in World History & Cultures at King's. The combination of both of his careers first occurred when he trained as a Payload Specialist with NASA when the UK MOD was planning to launch the first of a series of Skynet 4 military communications satellites from the Space Shuttle. Richard, then a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army, was selected as back up to Squadron Leader Nigel Wood for a Shuttle mission in 1986, sadly cancelled following the Challenger disaster.

After returning to command a Royal Signals regiment in Germany, he retired from the Army to join the UK space industry, starting with British Aerospace Space Systems in Bristol and subsequently Matra Marconi Space and Astrium in Stevenage. Richard was a leading member of the Paradigm team that won the UK Ministry of Defence Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative contract.​ He was periodically heavily involved with an Australian space subsidiary in Canberra, which first gave him the opportunity to embark on historical research at the Australian War Memorial. Before retiring he was responsible for UK defence and security marketing, including the incorporation of space into the Critical National Infrastructure.

 

Research Interests

For his MA dissertation Richard chose the History of the UK's involvement in Human Space Flight, with particular focus on the political reasons for many decades of non-involvement. Other elements of his MA allowed him to develop his interest in Field Marshal Lord Birdwood of Anzac and Totnes. ‘Birdie: “The Soul of Anzac”’ is the subject of his PhD research. Birdwood, an Old Cliftonian, was an Indian Army officer who, after a distinguished early career both in India and the Boer War, commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915 and continued commanding the Australian Forces throughout World War 1. He went on to become Commander-in Chief, India, before retiring to be Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. He is now a little-known figure with no comprehensive study of his life and its impacts. His personal diaries are extant and formed the core of this research which defines the man who arrived in Egypt in December 1914 to command the Anzacs and assesses his successes and failures in both the military and political spheres during his subsequent life. His Viva has been delayed due to the current pandemic.

 

Publication

Richard Farrimond (2013) Britain and Human Space Flight London: British Interplanetary Society [Authored book in print]