THE Taunton Literary Festival is calling Peter Snow back to one of his favourite counties.

The former Newsnight presenter who has presented the BBC documentaries Battlefield Britain and The World’s Greatest Twentieth Century Battlefields with his son Dan.

He will be accompanied by his wife, Ann MacMillan, who worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation until 2013.

As well as this she was the CBC’s managing editor in London for thirteen years.

The reason it is like a ‘home coming’ for Peter is he is a former member of the Somerset Light Infantry like his father and grandfather.

When he was with the regiment he was stationed at the Jellalabad Barracks in Taunton, while he was doing his basic training.

Now the husband and wife team will be in town to give a talk about their joint book ‘War Stories’.

Somerset County Gazette:

This book is a collection of true stories from different conflicts or wars which have taken place between 1741 and 2015.

Each story is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things during a period of their lives and the lives of others when everything is being disrupted by war of conflict.

There can be a thin line between being brave and being deemed to be a coward.

What do Peter and Ann think about this thin line?

Peter said: “I think there is probably in the sense of neither of us have ever had to fight a war. We have reported on them but have never been in the trenchers or in a battle.

“I can only think you would only discover how brave you are when it happens, when that instant occurs and you are either brave as you do not want to let your mates down or you decided I can’t do it, I want to live.

Somerset County Gazette:

“I think it would be very instantaneous and the thin line would get thicker with greater experience.

“We never covered cowardice and maybe we should, it would have been a fascinating question.

Ann added: “It can go either way and that is something which we learnt from writing this book.

“All of those we wrote about acted bravely. There is a mental courage and being a journalist and being able to talk to people allowed some to give a first hand account.

“This was true in the case of Nicholas Winton (British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”). I was able to speak to someone who had worked with him so it brought an added dimension to his story.”

As journalists both Peter and Ann covered a number of wars around the world during their careers.

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But for them which ones made a lasting impression?

Peter said: “For me it was the Nigerian Civil War, The Biafran war (1967-1970). This was awful, it was a brutal conflict. Civilians get caught up in all wars but in this I saw starving babies and children who had died and just shrivelled up to nothing.

“It was a terrible struggle and it was horrible to see and it did have an affect on me.”

For Ann she said it was the conflict in Northern Ireland which she covered for many years.

It affected her as it was a religious war which was happening so close to Britain.

And now they are heading to the county town for the eighth Taunton literary festival.

It is a town the couple know well and one they have visited before in a personal capacity.

And we are back at the start with Peter’s very own army story.

You can listen to Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan talk about War Stories at The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, Taunton, on Wednesday, November 7 at 6.30pm. Tickets £12.50.

There is also the option of a three course dinner (as well as the talk) in the company of the authors. In this case apply direct to the Castle Hotel on 01823 272671.

Further details on the eighth Taunton Literary Festival can be found online at

You can also tel: 01823 337742, visit: Brendon Books, Bath Place, Taunton TA1 4ER or Email@