Derek Robinson (novelist)

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Derek Robinson
Born (1932-04-12) 12 April 1932 (age 91)
Pen nameDirk Robson
Occupationscreenwriter, author, Rugby Union referee, broadcaster
Alma materDowning College, University of Cambridge
Notable worksGoshawk Squadron, Piece of Cake, The Eldorado Network, A Darker History of Bristol
A Load of Old Bristle: Krek Waiter's Peak Bristle, Run with the Ball

Derek Robinson (born 12 April 1932) is a British author best known for his military aviation novels full of black humour. He has also written several books on some of the more sordid events in the history of Bristol, his home town, as well as guides to rugby. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1971 for his first novel, Goshawk Squadron.[1]

After attending Cotham Grammar School,[2] Robinson served in the Royal Air Force as a fighter plotter, during his National Service. He has a history degree from Cambridge University, where he attended Downing College,[3] has and worked in advertising in the UK and the US and as a broadcaster on radio and television. He was a qualified rugby referee for more than thirty years and is a life member of Bristol Society of Rugby Referees.[4] He was married in 1964.[5]

Following his research of historical records for his novel Piece of Cake (1983), Robinson became convinced that it was the supremacy of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom's coastal waters that caused Adolf Hitler to postpone invasion plans and not the Battle of Britain, as commonly accepted.[6]


Aviation novels[edit]

Novels set in squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) during the First World War:

Novel set in the inter-war era:

Novels set in RAF squadrons during the Second World War:

Novel set in the Cold War:

  • Hullo Russia, Goodbye England (2008) begins in 1943, as Silk (the main protagonist from Damned Good Show) is on his second tour, and moves into the early 1960s, when he rejoins the RAF as an Avro Vulcan pilot during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This novel was originally self-published and only available from Robinson's own website, but a paperback edition was published by MacLehose Press in 2012.

All eight of Robinson's aviation novels were released in paperback editions by MacLehose Press in 2012–2013.

Luis Cabrillo novels[edit]

Novels featuring Luis Cabrillo:

  • The Eldorado Network (1979), about counter-espionage in WWII Spain and Portugal.
  • Artillery of Lies (1991), set mostly in England and Germany.
  • Red Rag Blues (2006), about espionage and the McCarthy witch hunts in 1950s America.[7]
  • Operation Bamboozle (2009), in which Luis Cabrillo travels to Los Angeles and tangles with the Mob. Self-published and available from his website.

Other books[edit]

  • Son of Bristle (1971) Abson Books. A guide to Bristle azit's poke.
  • Rotten with Honour (1973), about Cold War espionage.
  • Kramer's War (1977) is set on the island of Jersey in 1944.
  • Run with the Ball (1984). Collins. Guide to Rugby Union play.
  • The Best Green Walks in Bristol (1994). Westcountry Books. Local walking guide.
  • A Load of Old Bristle: Krek Waiter's Peak Bristle (2002). Robinson, Derek, and Wiltshire, Vic. Countryside Books. More infermasun on howter's peak Bristle.
  • Kentucky Blues (2002), about life in a 19th-century American town.[8]
  • Sick Sentries of Bristle (2004). Countryside Books. "A slapstick dash through 600 years of local excitements".
  • Invasion, 1940 (2005), a nonfiction work about World War II that aims to debunk "two powerful myths": first, that the RAF alone prevented an invasion of Great Britain by Hitler's Germany; and second, that such an invasion force would inevitably have conquered Britain.
  • A Darker History of Bristol (2005). Countryside Books. "A fair share of cruel, inglorious, and scandalous episodes that are generally little referred to".
  • Rugby: A Player's Guide to the Laws (2005). HarperCollinsWillow. The laws of the game made simple.
  • Better Rugby Refereeing (2007), co-authored with Ed Morrison.[9]
  • Why 1914? (2014) A forensic and darkly humorous re-examination of the origins of WW1


  1. ^ "Prize archive: 1971". Archived from the original on 2 July 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Derek Robinson". IMDb. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Downing Record 2002" (PDF). Downing College, University of Cambridge. 2002. p. 24. Archived from the original (pdf) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  4. ^ "Bristol Referees". Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Downing Record 2002" (PDF). Downing College, University of Cambridge. 2002. p. 36. Archived from the original (pdf) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Broadcasting House 8 September 2013". BBC. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Observer review: Red Rag Blues, by Derek Robinson". The Guardian. UK. 30 July 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Kentucky Blues: A Novel". Good Reads. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  9. ^ Redfern, Simon (20 January 2008). "Better Rugby Refereeing, by Ed Morrison and Derek Robinson – Reviews, Books – The Independent". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 11 January 2009.

External links[edit]