Will is the founder of The Veterans Forge. Originally from Leamington Spa, he first picked up blacksmith working for and Blacksmith who was ex SAS and learnt scrolling and cold forming while at college studying welding and fabrication, in his twenties. and picked up the hammer again in 2017 having himself discovered the therapeutic and rehabilitate qualities it can offer.
He served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for 3.5 years and specialised as an Assult Pioneer. His aim is for The Veterans Forge to become a centre of excellence in blacksmithing and supporting veterans.
served 8 year in the Royal Air Force as a propulsion engineer. CEO of
John Cooper is a retired Church of England Priest living in Swanage with his wife Jane. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1961 as an Aircraft Apprentice in the Airframe Trade Group serving for 7 years. After 15 years in civil aviation he changed careers and became part of the management team in a company manufacturing contact lenses. During this time he also trained for ordination and was ordained in 1991. He worked in parish ministry in Oxford until retirement to Swanage in 2010. He continues in church ministry and presently also acts as Padre to the Swanage and Wareham Air Cadets. He is very excited about becoming a volunteer at The Veterans Forge CIC. .
AWCB DIPWCB Instructor
Roger is The Veterans Forge Master Blacksmith. He was taught Blacksmithing by a friend of his Father who was a former ships captain during WW2 . After the War Frank began teaching blacksmithing,
It was then that under Franks guidance Roger learned
his Craft as a blacksmith not only from Frank but from
other visiting blacksmiths Like Tommy Tucker one of 3
Blacksmiths at the time who had won a gold medal. Roger is also a talented sculpture of many products and has produced many bespoke commissions in metal work, stone and glass.
Roger was a Blacksmith instructor at Bath College and has won numerous awards for his work. He has a wealth of information and considers it important that his knowledge is passed on to future generations. hence his passion for teaching and assisting the forge with training, instruction, major projects and all things Blacksmithing.
MBE BSc MA CEng MIMechE
Started working life serving a 5-year engineering apprenticeship at Alvis Ltd, Coventry, manufacturers of Cars, Aero Engines and Armoured Fighting Vehicles. After graduating with an Honours degree in mechanical engineering he continued with the company as a design engineer working his way up to become Chief Engineer by the time he took early retirement in 1999 when they ceased operations in Coventry. During this time he specialised in armoured vehicle design, and in the First Gulf War Special Honours List was awarded the MBE. Following a move to Dorset, he became Keeper of the Vehicle Collection and Workshop Manager at the Tank Museum, completing a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies and a subsequent Collections Management post at the Imperial War Museum in London. In a return to engineering, he was responsible for the design and manufacture of the prototype launch and recovery system for the Shannon Class lifeboat, now in service with the RNLI.
Bobby Arney (RE) Bobby left the army in 2012 after 11 years to persue a career as a gas engineer. Uses smithing as a thereputic creative outlet and an excuse to hang around with other veteran legends!