Tim Barney

Location: Evesham, Worcestershire
About me...

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by military history and technology, and like any enthusiast, I’ve always wanted to share my passion with the people around me. Following a career in the IT industry, I now have the opportunity to pass on some of the amazing facts and stories I’ve come upon over the years. As you will discover when you book one of my talks, military history is definitely NOT just for military history fans!

About my Talks...

My talks are designed to appeal to men and women from every walk of life. A little technical jargon is sometimes unavoidable, but don’t worry, I always translate this into everyday language! I am always keen to take questions afterwards.

All my talks last a little over an hour. If you are interested in a particular talk, but require more information, or would like to discuss other options to suit your requirements, then please do contact me.

All the talks are illustrated with PowerPoint slides. I have my own projector and screen, but I’ll happily use your equipment if it’s already in place. If a face-to-face meeting is impossible or impractical, I can deliver all my talks to you online, using Zoom or any other preferred platform.



For club talks, my usual fee is £50. For a round trip of up to 50 miles, there is no charge for travel. For distances over 50 miles, I will charge travel expenses at the standard HMRC rate of 45p a mile. If you are a very small club, or this charge is more than you can afford, then please do contact me: I would rather meet you somewhere in the middle, than not give the talk at all!

NB: if you suffer a cancellation, or need a speaker urgently, then do contact me as I am usually available at short notice.

For public appearances, my rates are negotiable, please contact me to discuss.

My Contact Details:

01386 49119

07759 925829

Lock, Stock & Barrel – A Brief History of Military Small Arms

Why was a Napoleonic musket so inaccurate? Why was the metal cartridge case such an important invention? And what was so significant about the Maxim machine gun? Answer all these questions and many more in this historical survey of the soldier’s personal weapon. The narrative begins with the appearance of gunpowder, explores how the various firearm operating systems evolved over the centuries, and also explains how these technological changes influenced the way battles were fought. The story concludes with a look at what’s likely to happen to small arms design in the near future.

The God of War – A Brief History of Artillery

“I don’t have to tell you who won the war. You know – the artillery did!” So remarked General George Patton, US Army, in 1945. Contrary to widespread belief, artillery shells and not bullets were the principal killer of 20th century battlefields. This talk describes the early iron bombards of the Middle Ages and explores how these crude, clumsy weapons evolved into the mobile, long range guns and rocket systems that we see today. What’s meant by indirect fire? What’s a time-on-target barrage? This talk explains how and why artillery has come to dominate the battlefields of the modern world.

Interceptor – The Development of Fighter Aircraft in World War Two

For many of us the Battle of Britain is the key narrative of the Second World War, and the sleek, elegant Spitfire is its supreme icon. If you’re interested in classic fighter planes like this, and would like to know more about their design and development, then this is the talk for you. Between 1939 and 1945, the performance of some aircraft literally doubled. Blending technical discussion with many real-life examples, this talk describes how and why these dramatic advances were achieved – and also explains why compromise turned out to be even more important than innovation.

Most Secret – Defford Airfield and the Story of Airborne Radar

Most of us have heard of Bletchley Park – but from 1942 to the 1960’s, this quiet Worcestershire backwater was one of the most secret places in Britain, and carried out scientific work that was just as vital to the Allied war effort. Taking in an eighteenth century mansion and landscape park, a wartime airfield, and the early story of airborne radar development, this fascinating talk has something for everyone. The story concludes in the present day with a brief account of the National Trust property at Croome Park and the RAF Defford Museum, both of which are open to the public.

Dawn Patrol – Air Combat Over the Western Front 1914-18

Public Speaker in Worcestershire, Tim Barney presents his talk Dawn Patrol

Where there is no precedent, pioneers are forced to make up the game as they go along. The early history of flight was a classic example of this process, at once comical, frustrating and tragic. The Great War was the first conflict in which aviation played a major role, and at first no-one was quite sure how to go about it. This talk describes the many perils of military aviation in the early days, and discusses some of the larger-than-life characters and inspired inventions that within a few short years, were to transform air combat from an eccentric charade into a deadly serious contest.

Destroyer of Worlds – Lifting the Lid on Nuclear Weapons

Albert Einstein once said, “If only I had known, I would have become a watchmaker”. Although nuclear weapons have fostered fear and uncertainty for more than seventy years, most of us know very little about history’s most unwelcome invention. This talk provides a straightforward, non-technical explanation of nuclear weapon history, design and operation, and concludes with a graphic illustration of their effects. ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is crammed with facts and revelations that will amaze, fascinate and sometimes horrify your members. Definitely a talk to remember – and one for your shortlist.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous – Military Ideas & Inventions That Didn’t Make the Grade

“I say Number One, my end is diving…what the hell is your end doing?” So enquired a worried officer on board a British ‘K’ Class submarine, one of the many unsuccessful designs that feature in this entertaining talk. The narrative explores a variety of military brainwaves and inventions that didn’t work too well, or were dangerous to their users, or were just completely mad to begin with, and ranges from the nineteenth century up to the present day. Incompetence, haste and wishful thinking have all played their part, in some of the most scandalous fiascos in military history. Sometimes the truth really is stranger – and more shocking – than fiction!

Warrior Nation – Memorable British Battles of the Last Millennium (2 parts)

Do you remember how boring History lessons used to be at school? If the answer to this question is yes, then you need to listen to my talk ‘Warrior Nation’! The two parts of this talk unpick the context, conduct and consequences of a number of British battles old and new, and will be appreciated by anyone who is interested in the ups and downs of British history, or just enjoys a good ‘blast from the past’. The battles, both familiar and unfamiliar, triumphs and disasters, are presented as complimentary pairs, which offers a fresh historical perspective.

Breakthrough..! – How 100 Bright Ideas Changed the Face of Warfare (2 parts)

Beginning in the Stone Age, this stimulating two part talk reveals the one hundred most important and influential innovations, in the history of warfare. Of course many of these milestones were weapons and military machines – for example the chariot and the crossbow – but many others were not: how about antibiotics, canned food or the accurate timepiece? With just sixty seconds to spare for each idea on the list, the pace is swift! The two parts of this talk follow in sequence, with Part One covering Ideas 1-50, and Part Two dealing with Ideas 51-100.


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Testimonials & Reviews

“Tim gave a very informative “Most Secret” talk to our club. It was very well illustrated and of particular interest to those who had some knowledge of the Defford area. He knows his subject well, and has a very entertaining way of passing the information on to his audience. We will certainly be asking him back to speak on another topic.”

Philip – April 2022


“Although Tim was booked by us for a date later in the year he stepped in at short notice and gave us an excellent talk on many military inventions that didn’t make the grade, simply because they were mad, or bad and, in many cases, dangerous. It was a subject that appealed to the whole audience and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
Tim is an excellent speaker and we would recommend groups to look through the topics that he has to offer.”

Janet – South Marston Friendly Club – April 2022


“Tim’s been before to The Probus Club of Malvern. It’s easy to invite him back, indeed – I just have. His talk to the group last Monday (11-4-22) was another delight. Mad, Bad & Dangerous; a serious subject dealt in a way that brought out both gasps & laughter.
Our meeting was “in person”, & we are grateful for Tim being prepared to do that.”

Derek – Malvern Probus Club – April 2022


“Tim came to our Rotary cub in Malvern in February 2022, his talk was first class, full of facts and details especially around Defford airfield and Malvern with its close links to the arrival of Radar. Tim is a very clear and precise speaker and has all of the AV facilities to present his talk. I would fully recommend his various talks and subjects, and most certainly we will ask him to return to provide us with a detailed talk, for which he has many subjects.”

Duncan – Malvern Rotary Club – Feb 2022


“Tim delivered to a well attended meeting of the Mickleton Society an entertaining account of the work at RAF Defford and the development of airborne radar and navigation. He made these technical matters easy to follow with good graphics and punctuated with interesting stories and asides. Everyone enjoyed the evening, not just the “boys”, and as proof of that, if it were needed, we have invited him to speak to us at the Mickleton Society again.”

John – Mickleton Society – Feb 2022


“A most interesting talk, jargon-free so that it appealed even to those with little or no knowledge of military history. Very clear pictures, uncluttered by excessive text. It’s difficult to engage with the audience on zoom screens, but Mr Barney managed to maintain interest throughout. A very professional and rewarding presentation, and we would encourage groups to consider booking further topics in his repertoire. Sadly he is too far away to visit Penicuik Probus Club physically.”

Richard – Penicuik Probus Club – Mar 2022


Tim Barney Contact Details:

01386 49119

07759 925829

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