Ian Gardner served for five years in Support Company,10th Battalion the Parachute Regiment as a medic, before leaving the Territorial Army in 1993 due to a parachuting injury. Ian has always loved military history but it was several years after leaving 10 Para that his interest in WWII US Paratroopers really began. Inspired after a visit to Normandy in 2000 he decided to focus on the 101st Airborne Division and in particular the 3rd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Currently a self-employed graphic designer, Tonight we die as men is his first historical work and is co-written with Roger Day. He is married, has two teenage children and lives near Aldershot in Hampshire.

Tonight we Die as Men: The untold story of Third Battalion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Toccoa to D-Day is available to pre-order now.


1) What are you doing at the moment?

I am currently working on an independent DVD \'The Forgotten Battalion\' with filmmaker John Sushams. This will give anybody who enjoys \'Tonight We Die As Men\' an opportunity to see nine select veterans of the third battalion talking further about their experiences and the very personal impact that WW2 had on them as individuals. We see the film as an enhancement to the book as it offers a greater insight into to this unique and moving story. You can check out further information and a trailer on our website: www.theforgottenbattalion.com

2) When did you get hooked on history, and why?

From a young age I have always been interested in 20th century military history and as a former British Paratrooper I became more focused on the art of airborne warfare.

3) If you were any warrior from history, who would you be?

If I were a warrior from history I\'d be an airborne medic at Arnhem.

4) What is your favourite war film?

My favourite war film is \'The Dambusters\' starring Richard Todd who as an ex WW2 airborne soldier made the part of Guy Gibson really come to life.

5) Why do you think military history is important?

I think Military History is important because these are often events that shaped our world (for better or worse) and should therefore not be brushed aside…no matter how far back we might go. My own interest lies in more recent history where first hand testimonies from either soldiers or civilians can transform our popular conceptions of what really went on, whether it might be WW1 or 2, the Iranian Embassy Siege, the Falklands, Sierra Leone, the Gulf wars or Afghanistan!

6) What is your favourite quote from history / historical quotes?

The quote, which has made the greatest impression on me so far to date, comes from Col. Robert L. Wolverton, the commander of 3/506 PIR who said to his men on the eve of D-Day, “We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We only ask this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right.” The tragic thing about this was that the prayer turned out to be for himself - as he was killed without mercy by German troops as he hung helplessly in his parachute harness.

7) if you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?

If I could fly any plane from history it would be an Avro Lancaster! I wouldn\'t like to go to war in a tank.

8) Best military cock-up in history?

Best military cock up in history would have to be \'the charge of the light brigade\' or the battle for Rorkes Drift.

9) Who is your military hero?

My true military hero is Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, who in my eyes was one of the most motivated and committed individuals in the entire Second World War. That man believed that his own actions and that of the men under his command could shorten the war by taking the air war to the heart of Germany. After the famous Dam\'s raids in 1942, he turned down several PR desk jobs and chose to go on leading his men in the only way he knew how…a decision that ultimately cost him his life.

10) If you could pit two armies from history against each other who would you pick and why?

Not a clue!

11)  Elephants or horses? Discuss the pros and cons...

I have no idea...

12) Favourite Michael Caine quote?

Favourite Michael Caine quote has to come from Austin Powers when he says something along the lines of: “There are two things I cannot bare…racial intolerance and the Dutch”. I love the Dutch dearly but this line always makes me choke on my coffee!

13) What is your favourite war comic?

Going back to my childhood I\'d have to say that my favourite war comic was \'Commando\'. One of the characters who stands out was \'bootneck boy\'…it\'s funny the things that you remember!

14) Roman or Spartan?


15) What is your favourite Osprey book?

I guess it would have to be the Men-at-Arms series, but in particular it would have to be Elite 1 The Paras 1940-84 by Gregor Ferguson and illustrated by Kevin Lyles.