Paul Beaver is an aviation historian, broadcaster and writer who specialises in the 1930s and 1940s. He is very much a hands-on historian with his own vintage aeroplane company, Monty’s Messenger Ltd, which owns and operates a Miles Messenger marked as Field Marshal Montgomery’s aeroplane at the time of D-Day. Other aeroplane types in his log book include the Spitfire and Mustang.
Paul’s original research into aircraft carriers and the development in their technological advances led to the publication of the book The British Aircraft Carrier. Research included interviews with over 100 Fleet Air Arm veterans and led to a subsequent book and this, in turn, brought an invitation to join Jane’s Information Group as Managing Editor of Yearbooks.
For 15 years he was directly linked to Jane’s, his roles including Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Jane’s Defence Weekly. He made this journal into a household name in 1990 through his broadcasting during the liberation of Kuwait and eventually became a freelance war correspondent for Sky News and a studio ‘expert’ for BBC News and CNN International, for whom he jointly presented the 50th anniversary coverage of D-Day (from Normandy) and VE-Day (from Moscow). During this period Paul wrote more than 40 books on naval and aviation history.
During his freelance broadcasting career Paul researched, wrote and presented documentaries for Sky News. Some of their subjects were the background to the conflicts in Bosnia (1997) and Kosovo (1999), the Cold War (1999) and the Battle of Britain (2000), with the latter involving new research into the everyday life of the pilots and ground crew. His original on-camera interviews with veterans are archived with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, awaiting the completion of the Interpretation Centre.
Paul retired from the Army Reserve in 2013 with the rank of Colonel, late of the Army Air Corps. He is now working on the Interpretation Centre project for the International Bomber Command Centre and organises Parliamentary dinners to raise awareness of key aviation heritage events. He is a committee member of the Air Power Association and a member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society and the Battle of Britain Historical Society.
In June 2014 he delivered a sell-out lecture at the Chalke Valley History Festival, taking the people, places and politics of the Spitfire as his theme. His latest project is the re-creation of the Salisbury Wings Week in September 2015, focusing on the relationship with the Spitfire that dominated life in Salisbury and surrounding areas of Wiltshire during the Second World War.