THE Journal is the sponsor of two events at the Chalke Valley History Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 1.

Winston Churchill’s endeavours to undermine Hitler at the start of the Second World War are uncovered in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: Churchill’s Mavericks Plotting Hitler’s Defeat.

Giles Milton, a writer and historian, will present this account on June 26, 3.30pm to 4.30pm, of what is perhaps the last great untold story of the Second World War.

In 1939, a top-secret organisation was founded by Winston Churchill in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage.

Churchill’s ‘Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ single-handedly changed the course of the war. Best-selling author Giles Milton will give a vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do.

Then there is Spitfire: A very British Love Story on Sunday, July 1, 3pm to 4pm, which will be delivered by former RAF Tornado navigator John Nichol.

Nichol was shot down and held as a prisoner-of-war during the 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

Having served on operations in Bosnia, the Falklands and the Gulf, he understands the reality of battle and the enduring allure of combat aircraft, especially the iconic Spitfire.

In this talk, he will discuss his own experiences of war alongside the remarkable and enduring story of the Spitfire and the men and women who designed, built and flew it.

The line-up of historians and commentators speaking at the festival also includes Simon Schama, Robert Peston, Tracy Borman, Michael Dobbs, Fiona Carnarvon, Rana Mitter, Kate Mosse, Tony Robinson, Nicholas Coleridge, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Sarah Churchwell, Gordon Corera and Charles Spencer.

Tickets and details of the full festival programme are available online at