About Richard van Emden

Richard van Emden

Picture taken by Jonathan Ring

Richard van Emden is a well-known historian of the Great War, having interviewed 270 veterans and written, so far, twelve books.

Richard was born in Nottingham in 1965, and read Politics at Newcastle University, subsequently taking his MA and MPhil at the University of Reading. He trained as a journalist and worked in London for two years before going to Cologne University and writing his first book, Tickled to Death to Go, the biography of Ben Clouting, who took part in the first action of the Great War and served until the end.

In 1994, Richard came back to the UK and began work for Testimony Films, acting as associate producer on the award-winning Roses of No Man’s Land and Veterans. Subsequently, he worked for the BBC on The Trench and for independent television companies, making documentaries for BBC1, BBC2, BBC4 and Channel 4. These include Britain’s Boy Soldiers, What did you do in the Great War, Daddy? and Horror on the Home Front. He also co-presented The War Revolution, a Timewatch programme for BBC2.

At the same time, Richard was writing his First World War books, including the Top Ten Best Sellers The Trench, The Last Fighting Tommy and The Soldier’s War.

Richard has visited the Great War battlefields every year since 1985. He is currently interviewing the children of those who served and died in the Great War and later this year will accompany a lady back to Bourlon Wood in France, to visit the spot where her father died in 1917.

Richard married Anna in 2003 and they have a son, Benjamin.