Newbury News Ltd. Print-Digital-Social

Newbury 92-year-old celebrates reissue of Battle of Crete book

John Hall Spencer's military account was first published in 1962

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters


07964 444701

Newbury resident celebrates reissue of Battle of Crete book

A 92-year-old Newbury resident is celebrating following the republication of his book on the Battle of Crete.

Former Royal Marine John Hall Spencer's Battle for Crete was first published in 1962 and is an account of the German takeover of the Greek island in 1941.

Mr Spencer, who lives at the Gracewell of Newbury care home, spent two years researching the book, corresponding with a range of participants, including from Britain and Australia, who were involved in the evacuation of Crete.

The paperback was republished last year and is still available to buy.

Mr Spencer said that despite lockdown, sales of the book remain as popular as ever.

Five hundred copies have been sent to Australia, which has a large community of Crete veterans and the reprint has attracted media interest in Mr Spencer's work with coverage in the Australian and international press.

He said: "I have been getting major international TV coverage there and in Germany, having appeared in a documentary on the battle."

Mr Spencer worked at Beaverbrook Newspapers and J Walter Thompson for more than 20 years before setting up his own international marketing business.

An alumnus of Oxford Business School, he draws parallels between military strategy and business management in the book.

He said: "Command in the military shares many similarities with leadership in business.

"While studying at Oxford I became absorbed with computer analysis of risk, such as the Monte Carlo method used in oilfield exploration.

"Calculated risk was also a dependent for German success during the Battle for Crete."

Mr Spencer was appointed the OBE in 2011 for services to business, charity and work with young people in London.

He has lived in West Berkshire for several years.

He said he is expecting to receive his Covid-19 vaccination in the coming week.

He remains a prolific writer, and is currently finishing a novel, A Defender of Faith.

Among his other published works is the study Hitler and the King, which won the Elma Dangerfield Literary Prize, and novels, among them The Wall is Strong.

Mr Spencer said his latest work was "the story of Prince Charles fighting for the throne against a Stuart pretender who claims descent from Bonnie Prince Charlie".

The new edition of Battle for Crete can be bought on Amazon.

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Newbury Weekly News

Characters left: 1000