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A former operational intelligence officer, William Beaver was the Beit Senior Scholar in Imperial History at Wolfson College, Oxford. There he developed an interest in the history of intelligence organisations in the nineteenth-century. After taking his doctorate, he founded, and was the Executive Director of, the University’s Development Records Project, collecting the records and recollections of those involved in the development of Africa, the West Indies and non-Indian Asia on the eve of independence, for Rhodes House of the Bodleian Library. Then followed by a career in commercial and charitable corporate communications including Barnardo’s, National Westminster Bank, AGB Research, the Industrial Society and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

Before returning to the world of history, he was responsible for the face-to-face communications worldwide of the Lord Mayor of London, including the preparation of literally thousands of speeches, the activity for which he is best known. Bill is also a parish priest in the Church of England, serving in Oxford. In 2009 he was appointed an Officiating Chaplain to the British Army and is currently posted to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and  the Royal Military Chapel (the Guards’ Chapel). His new book Under Every Leaf is an addition to Biteback Publishing’s growing list of intelligence histories.

Favourite books:

1. The New Testament, of course. If you dissect it, go behind it and work at it, it is a remarkable saga, from the hands of many authors, all united in telling the story from many points of view of how one man could launch a movement which would affect so much of the world then and now.

2. Bimbashi McPherson, Barry Carman and John McPherson, eds. - the little-known diaries of a selfless teacher, civil servant, Army officer and policeman in Egypt before, during and after the Great War.

3. Aucuparius: Recollections of a Recruiting Officer by Sir Ralph Furse - one of the great explanations for the success of the Colonial Service and a delightful approach to overcoming small minds and bureaucracies.


Under Every Leaf