Major General (Retired) Robert Gordon CMG CBE
General Robert Gordon was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and at St Catharine’s College Cambridge University. He was commissioned into the 17th/21st Lancers in 1970, and had a full career in the British Army.
Having commanded the 2nd Division in York and then the British Army in the North of England and Scotland in Edinburgh, where he was also the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, he was appointed in October 2002 Force Commander of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) with HQs in Asmara and Addis Ababa.
He served with the UN until he retired from the British Army in 2005, formed his own consulting company and since then has worked on projects for UN DPKO, UN OIOS, UNDP in Iraq, the World Bank, the British Government and many others as an international lecturer, mentor, author and consultant on peacekeeping operations.
He has been since 2006, the Senior Adviser to the Challenges Forum for Peace Operations, whose Secretariat is based at the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) Sweden. In 2005, he helped develop UN DPKO’s senior mission leadership training programme and since then has been the senior mentor for all the UN’s senior leadership courses. Meanwhile, he is a regular speaker and mentor at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Peacekeeping Operations Training Institute based in Williamsburg, Virginia.
He was a Trustee of the Kohima Educational Trust for 8 years until 2016 and took over as President of the Trust in January 2020.
He lives with his wife, Gina, in Wiltshire, is a keen sailor and keeps his boat on the West Coast of Scotland, and otherwise spends as much time as he can with his three young grandchildren.
Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Balfour was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals in 1996 after his attendance at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Following his sterling efforts on the Troop Commanders’ Course, Lieutenant Colonel Balfour's formative troop command years were spent experiencing many of the military and adventurous training areas of Europe; either endeavouring to establish a communications network, train Phase One recruits or complete the many courses or competitions expected of a young officer. His final troop command appointment was spent in Northern Ireland as part of Op BANNER during the millennium.
Lieutenant Colonel Balfour's military career has allowed him to continue his much-needed educational development and he was fortunate to be selected for an in-service degree, attaining a BSc (Hons) in 2003 and then, following his adjutant's appointment and promotion to Major, he also gained an MSc.
Having spent two years as a desk officer in the Capability area at the Ministry of Defence in London he deployed to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK with his independent signal squadron. Afterward, his role as Chief of Staff in the Corps' largest brigade headquarters during the greatest window of change with Army 2020 was enlightening. Having enjoyed this experience, he was then selected to work within the Permanent Joint Headquarters during a high-volume period of operational activities.
Following further staff training, Lieutenant Colonel Balfour spent what felt like another operational deployment employed as the Military Assistant to the Army's senior procurement officer (3* General).
Having enjoyed an immensely rewarding career, all of this is eclipsed by his other focus in life - family. Lieutenant Colonel Balfour has been married for what seems like a lifetime (but still not long enough) to Helen and she is raising their two hilarious daughters (with occasional meddling from their Daddy). To relax he enjoys attempting to cook, drinking fine wine and sampling single malts, tinkering on a poorly tuned piano and reading stories to two under-fives (not always mutually exclusive activities).
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in History, Angus Barclay has led a very international working life, spending nearly all his career overseas with the Swire group and Cathay Pacific Airways, working in Hong Kong (four times!), Korea, India, The Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.
He is presently Director and General Manager of Hong Kong Aero Engine Services (HAESL) and lives with his wife and daughters in Hong Kong.
Angus’ uncle, Lieutenant Charles Barclay of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, was killed in action at the battle of Kohima. For this reason, Kohima has always been of great interest to Angus and he learned more of the Naga culture through friends he made whilst working in India in the early 90s.
Angus made a very memorable visit to Kohima in February 2012.
Ben Brownless is a Geography graduate. His father is a Kohima veteran. Ben and his father visited Kohima in 2008. Ben is specializing in educational links between Nagaland and the UK.
After 35 years teaching Geography, Design Technology & Outdoor Activities and working as a deputy head for ten years, Ben is now a 'jack of all trades' running a handyman business.
Ben Brownless is a trustee of three charities, including KET, and volunteers in the community with a variety of organisations.
Ron Clayton's interest in Kohima dates from the 1960s, when he first read Slim's Defeat into Victory.
Ron was born and bred in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia and received his early education there and BA, MA Diploma in Education at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW.
He subsequently taught history and literature there until 1968, when he came to the UK to work for his D.Phil. in York with Gerald Aylmer, who in 1971 invited Ron to join the History department. He remained in the UK, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, until his retirement in 2006.
Ron Clayton has served his time on university and departmental committees, repeatedly as chair of the departmental board of examiners, and of the joint board of the English and History departments. He was chair of the History department from 1997-2005. He was appointed Dean of Langwith college in the University of York, and retained that position until the late 1980s. He was Provost of Langwith college, from 1996-2006.
Ron is married to Azizah, and has two children – a son, who lives in York, and a daughter, a Group Captain in the RAF.
A retired regular soldier, Bob Cook spent some years in the 2nd Division. His father and older brother also served in the 2nd Division. His thirty-five years in the Army included service in Cyprus, Germany and Northern Ireland.
Born in 1948 in Wuppertal, Germany, Bob is part of a continuing family trend of military service dating back almost without a break for over 160 years. After serving for 35 years in the Royal Signals, Bob retired to York in 1998 where he now owns a small Guest House.
Ignoring the age-old military adage of ‘never volunteer’, Bob volunteered take on the duties of Branch Chairman of the York Royal Signals Association, and became Chairman of the Fulford Branch of the Royal British Legion for a few years
He was appointed Curator of the Kohima Museum in February 2008 – after volunteering!
Bob was a member of General McDowall’s mission to Kohima in April 2009. Since then he has returned to Kohima 12 times and now organises and leads study tours of the Kohima & Imphal Battlefields.
Colonel Ian Hargreaves commanded 2 Signal Regiment from 2013 to 2016. This Regiment is the only remaining un-amalgamated British Army unit that fought at Kohima.
As Commanding Officer, Ian was an ex-officio trustee and has been privileged to remain a regular trustee since 2016. Additionally he is a trustee of the Kohima Museum, located in his hometown of York.
Ian has visited most countries in the Indian subcontinent including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. His first visit to Nagaland was in April 2014 as part of a military delegation to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Kohima. Committing to sustain the memory of those who fought, he returned a year later in order to learn more about the Battle with a team of 20 British and Gurkha soldiers.
Andrew Hunter, Treasurer, is the son of a fellow Cameron Highlander who fought at Kohima alongside our Founder. He is an Analyst and Forecaster who has worked in accountancy, the Stock Market and in Company Rescue. He was educated in the Classical Languages and qualified as a
Chartered Accountant. The majority of his career was as an Equities Analyst in stockbroking. Latterly, he was FD for a Company Turnaround Specialist. He is an ongoing student of Evolutionary Psychology and seeks to understand why people do what they do. He is now a Financial Consultant, working for both charities and commercial organisations.
Born in New Zealand in January 1963 and educated in Australia, Robert Lyman was, for twenty years, an officer in the British Army.
Educated at Scotch College, Melbourne he was commissioned into the Light Infantry from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in April 1982.
In addition to a business career he is an author and military historian, publishing books in particular on the war in the Far East. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Robert is married to Hannah, has two sons, and lives in Berkshire.
For information about Robert's publications please visit his website.
Sylvia May was born in New Jersey, USA in 1957. Her parents moved to England in 1963. Educated at High Wycombe School for Girls, she decided to pursue a career in the world of books.
Sylvia worked for HarperCollins for 37 years, the last eleven of which she headed up their UK-based International Sales team. She left the company in 2013 in order to be able to focus on KET and to work with Gordon Graham.
Sylvia May is the daughter of Gordon Graham, Honorary Founder and President of the Kohima Educational Trust. She is proud that her father has inspired many people to share his vision to commemorate those who fought and died in Kohima, and the wonderful Naga people who have done so much for the British in the past. She is now actively working to put something back into the community and promote the work of the Trust in Kohima.
Sylvia travels extensively and has made many visits to India, sometimes for pleasure but also on business. She first visited India in 1994 with her husband Robert, and has returned on numerous occasions, staying in Kohima several times.
On the occasion of her visit with Robert in 2000, they followed the WWII route of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, her father’s regiment. The regiment’s first main engagement in this theatre of war was the Battle of Kohima.
Stephen White: After studying history at Cambridge University, Steve’s career included academic and professional publishing, and media intelligence. He is now retired, but keeps busy with his family, especially his grandchildren, walking, reading, charitable work and playing the saxophone. He and Anne live in Oxfordshire.
Simon Willis: Retired university administrator and founding Trustee of KET
Simon’s career was in university administration with a focus on international education and partnerships. He retired as Director of Recruitment and Admissions at the University of York in 2018.
Simon is married with three children and lives near York where he walks an energetic dog, keeps an allotment and maintains his rusting skills as an oboe player.
Eleanor Pinfield is Head of Art on the Underground, TfL’s contemporary art programme, bringing a range of art projects to millions of people across London. Eleanor joined Art on the Underground in 2014 from Tate Modern, where she led the curatorial management of The Tanks Art in Action programme, delivering a changing live programme of commissions from acclaimed artists.
Prior to this, Eleanor worked in a number of roles at Tate, notably in the office of Tate Director, Sir Nicholas Serota. Eleanor is a member of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, and the Pitzhangar Gallery Exhibitions Committee. In addition to her role as a trustee for KET, Eleanor volunteers at Smart Works, a charity that supports out-of-work women through providing interview clothes and interview preparation.