Lieutenant Colonel Dr. John A. English retired from the Canadian army with 37 years service in 1993. He first joined the King’s Own Calgary Regiment and from 1962 served in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada until 1970 when he rebadged to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Educated at Royal Roads (1958–60) and the Royal Military College (1960–62), he went on leave without pay to attain an MA in history from Duke University in 1963-64. He passed final promotion exams in 1966 and graduated from Canadian Forces Staff College in 1972. In 1980 he attained an MA in war studies from RMC, and, in 1989, a Ph.D. from Queen’s University while still in uniform. During his career he saw service with Canadian and British regiments in England, Germany, Denmark, Cyprus, Canada, and Alaska. English also served as a NATO war plans officer, Chief of Tactics of the Combat Training Centre, instructor at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, and curriculum director of the National Defence College.
English is the author of A Perspective on Infantry (Praeger, 1981) republished in paperback as On Infantry (Praeger, 1984), The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign: A Study of Failure in High Command (Praeger, 1991), Marching through Chaos: The Descent of Armies in Theory and Practice (Praeger, 1996), and Lament for an Army: The Decline of Canadian Military Professionalism (Irwin, 1998). He is also principal editor of The Mechanized Battlefield: A Tactical Analysis (Pergamon, 1984). He has additionally produced numerous chapters for books and his articles have appeared in Military Affairs, Jane’s Military Review, the Naval War College Review, Infantry, the Marine Corps Gazette, the Canadian Defence Quarterly, the Canadian Military Journal and the proceedings of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.
In 1992 English accepted a $60,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) fellowship and a professorship at Queen’s University. Two years later he was awarded a $31,000 SSHRCC research grant. For five years between 1997 and 2002 English served as a Professor of Strategy with the US Naval War College. On return to Canada he was employed until November 2003 as director of the Defence Minister’s Monitoring Committee on Change. On 19 October 2004 the Minister appointed him Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Brockville Rifles.
His latest work, Patton’s Peers: The Forgotten Army Commanders of the Western Front 1944-45, was published in March 2009 by Stackpole Books.