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Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom


01 Jan, 2018

An eclectic mix of war, love, fun and sadness, The Words of the Wise Old Paratrooper, by Robin Horsfall, is a collection of humorous short stories with a military flavour, accompanied by poetry and philosophical thoughts – some deep, others satirical …

Robin Horsfall was a soldier from the ages of 15 to 32. He served with the Parachute Regiment, the SAS, the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces and the Army of Sri Lanka, and was a Major in ‘Frelimo’, the Army of Mozambique. He studied karate for most of his adult life, achieving the rank of 6th Dan Black Belt until, in 2011, a neck fracture halted his career. During his recovery he went to Surrey University, where he studied English literature and creative writing, graduating in 2016. He began posting ‘The Sayings of the Wise Old Paratrooper’ on Facebook and later decided to collate them, along with his short stories and poetry, into this new collection.

Its aim, says Robin, is to invoke introspection in the reader. ‘It’s a coffee table (or toilet!) book,’ he says, ‘that can be put down and picked up – and dipped into time and time again. I recently read two of my poems at a ‘slam’, which was fun’, Robin told Quest. ‘Some of the audience and readers were very complimentary and linked me to Owens, Sassoon and Kipling.’

Review by Ian MacGregor, November 2017
A mixture of thought-provoking, amusing and, at times, reflective pieces of writing, making for an interesting outlook on the world and life in general. Contains snippets of Robin’s experiences in the SAS and Parachute Regiment. A book for everyone to read and most will decipher the tongue-in-cheek humour. Be warned, though, once you start this book, you will find it very difficult to put down again.

Thought provoking, humorous and often moving, the anthology uncovers many of the emotions and inner thoughts of the ‘tough guy’. Its voice is a blend of warrior poet, martial arts sage, military historian and just plain soldier-comedian. It takes the reader from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again, without pause.

Satirical and humorous stories are balanced with maxims that demand introspection and self-examination. The collection is short and fast moving, but once finished the reader is compelled to return to the beginning to discover what was missed the first time around.

Here are some ‘wise words’, to give you an idea:

  • Do one thing well – not many things badly.
  • High achievers start by doing what others won’t do and finish by doing what others can’t do.
  • A man who constantly looks backwards will make little progress.
  • Don’t tell me what you think. Tell me what you can do.
  • Wanna job? Tell me how you can make me or save me money!
  • If something needs doing do it now!
  • To be special you don’t have to do extraordinary things, you only have to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.
  • There’s can-do people and might-do people. I know which ones I prefer.
  • Always volunteer.
  • Don’t do half a job.

The Words of the Wise Old Paratrooper is out now, retailing at £4.99 for the Kindle edition (free on Kindle Unlimited) and £7.99 in paperback. Order your copy from Robin’s Amazon author page at

Find out more about Robin’s work and background at