By Peter Lingard

Drawing on well-honed myths mixed with my own and others’ personal experiences in The Royal Marines during the time this novel is set, Boswell’s Fairies is a humorous and heartfelt story that will make you laugh and perhaps cry.

The novel will engage all booklovers over the age of eighteen who will easily identify with the diverse characters.

Readers of Making News, Anthem, The Virgin Soldiers, Catch 22, and viewers of the television series MASH, will enjoy the tale.


Categories: , Product ID: 972


In the year 1960 discontented bank clerk Paul Johnson joins the elite Corps of Royal Marines where he and Jack Mason, once a professional wrestler, become friends. They and other recruits form H Squad, a unit impressed by and proud of their dazzling drill instructor, Sergeant Francis Boswell. The self-proclaimed ‘finest Sergeant this man’s outfit has ever produced’ gives his squad the collective ‘Boswell’s Fairies’.

The honing of H Squad during a ten-month period of training, culminates in them being awarded the Green Beret. Paul’s effort to escape the oppressive constraints of banking, class, and family lands him instead in the equally confining discipline of military life. Their training and constant search of female companionship and fun teach Paul and Jack a lot about themselves and the serious business of living. Along the way there is Paul’s romance with a girl named Jill who, with her friend Audrey, introduces the pair to marijuana.

When Boswell is arrested for killing a gay man, the two women counterpoint Paul and Jack’s blinkered defence of their revered leader. Having earned the hallowed headwear and certain to be posted to a commando, the two friends are forced to ponder their relationships with their girlfriends.

Additional information

Weight 494 g

4 reviews for Boswell’s Fairies

  1. Nicole Hayes

    Boswell’s Fairies is the raucous and unapologetic tale of Paul “the Banker” Johnson’s trials and tribulations as a new recruit in the elite Corps of Royal Marines in 1960’s England. Paired up with his “oppo” Jack Mason, a former professional wrestler, the recruits find a kind of home in the tough but loyal squad of misfits and miscreants named after their drill sergeant, Boswell, all in pursuit of the coveted Green Beret. Equally coveted are the local women and their welcoming arms, which fast become Paul and Jack’s after-hours focus, until they find themselves in the exclusive company of best friends Audrey and Jill. And for the first time, they’re happy to stay there. When Boswell is charged with the murder of a gay man, the recruits’ loyalty is tested and their certainty in their cause challenged, and with the guidance of Jill and Audrey, they begin to ask difficult questions of themselves, and their ideas of honour.

    Funny and irreverent, Boswell’s Fairies harks back to a time when the rules were clear, and the world unforgiving.

  2. Greg Hill

    You won’t want to put this book down. Not a word is wasted in Boswell’s Fairies. Although a work of fiction, it reads like a true account of life in the Marines for a group of recruits training for their new career. I was enthralled by their relationships and experiences. But most of all I was taken in by the skillful writing that just wouldn’t let me go.

  3. Stuart Reedy

    Peter Lingard has written a novel about basic training in the British Marines in the sixties. But it is not the usual account. Often funny, at times politically incorrect, Lingard focuses regularly on periods of granted leave and gives an interesting insight into the minds of young recruits in their moments of reprieve.

  4. S.C Karakaltsas

    A raw and honest portrayal of life as a marine in training. A powerfully written debut novel which takes you to another time and place.

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Please note that no part of these stories may be reproduced without the prior written permission of Peter Lingard. Dismiss