Will is the founder of The Veterans Forge. Originally from Leamington Spa, he took up the hammer in 2017 having himself discovered the therapeutic and rehabilitate qualities it can offer.
He served in theRoyal 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.
Martin is currently in his 27th year in the Royal Marines and currently instructs with the Royal Navy International Maritime Training Team. When not being sent to nice parts of the world he assists The Veterans Forge with administration tasks and supporting veterans that wish to benefit from it. When the opportunity arises, he tries to improve his blacksmith skills which he discovered as a hobby 2015. He is keen to support veterans to help better and improve themselves in whatever way he can and also carries out volunteer work for the Royal British Legion. His other hobbies now include watching rugby, dogs, trail riding and trying to keep his ageing body fit.
Volunteer Assistant Manager
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.
MBE BSc MA CEng MIMechE
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!
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.
served 8 year in the Royal Air Force as a propulsion engineer. CEO of
business development and strategy.
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. .
Barrie went to sea as a Junior Seaman in the Royal Navy in 1965. He served in the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve until 1992 leaving as a Chief Petty Officer Mine Warfare Specialist, his time was spent mainly on Mine Sweepers and Patrol Boats with a short period on Submarines . On leaving the military, Stena Ferries, Southampton to Cherbourg was his next job where he eventually became a Bosun. He then moved to the cruise industry in 1997 and was for a short time a Security Officer until he qualified as a Sea Survival Trainer at RGIT Aberdeen whilst working for Airtours-My Travel. Barrie is qualified as a trainer in both Maritime and Civilian subjects and has considerable experience with international crews. In 2004 he joined Saga Cruises as their onboard Safety Training Officer conducting both STCW and In-House subjects. Barrie's hobbies are as a volunteer Trainer for the British Red Cross where he teaches First Aid to vulnerable groups.