Tim Collins OBE
Former British Military Commander
Tim Collins OBE was born in Belfast, April 1960. He is a former Colonel in the British Army.
Colonel Tim is best known for his role in the Iraq War, and his inspirational eve-of-battle speech, a copy of which apparently hangs in the White House.
Watch Sir Kenneth Brannagh deliver Colonel Tim Collins' eve-of-battle speech
in the BBC production '10 Days to War'
Tim Collins was born and raised in Northern Ireland, and attended the Queen's University of Belfast, where he read economics. He was accepted into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and in 1994, he graduated as Master of Arts after attending the Army Command and Staff College.
He has served in Germany, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, completed two tours of duty in his native Northern Ireland, in South Armagh and Eastern Tyrone. He passed selection into the SAS in 1988, going on to serve 2 operational tours with the Regiment and 1 tour at HQ Special Forces in York barracks London.
Tim Collins was appointed the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment in 2001.
During the 2nd Gulf War, Colonel Collins' televised speeches to his troops before battle inspired the nation as no other commander has done since the dark days of World War 2. Despite the heavy fighting around Basra he brought his unit home without the loss of a single soldier.
This was followed by the award of an OBE in 2003. After Promotion to Colonel he was Project Director for a Peace Support Training Centre in Sarajevo before taking up the appointment of Colonel in Charge of training in HQ Land Command in Dec 2003.
Colonel Tim Collins was later accused by US Army reservist Major Re Biastre of the mistreatment of Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war. Following an investigation by the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police he was cleared of any wrongdoing. He later won substantial undisclosed libel damages from both the Sunday Express and the Sunday Mirror newspapers.
In January 2004, Colonel Tim Collins announced his resignation from the army, citing bureaucracy, chronic underfunding, and the MoD’s lack of support over the mistreatment allegations.
In April 2004, Colonel Collins was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the British Army.
Tim Collins is married to Caroline, with whom he has four sons and a daughter. He is an Honorary Patron of Trinity College Dublin's University Philosophical Society.
As Lieutenant Colonel (Commanding Officer) of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army, Collins gave a rousing eve-of-battle speech to his troops in Iraq on Wednesday 19th March 2003. It was said that U.S President George W. Bush subsequently had a copy of the speech tacked up on the wall of the Oval Office.
Tim Collins’ book Rules of Engagement: A Life of Conflict was published in April 2006. From the moment Tim Collins's speech to his men in Iraq was made public, Collins became a hero and an inspiration to world leaders and infantrymen alike.
Tim Collins is an inspiring speaker, combining extensive experience of active service with broad and detailed knowledge of military and political history.
His speaking topics include:
Responding to Pressure
Dealing With Setbacks
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