Patrick Cordingley was born on 6th October 1944. He was educated at Sherborne in Dorset and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst before being commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in 1965. He saw service in Cyprus, Libya, Germany and Canada before attending the prestigious Army Staff College at Camberley, Surrey where he later returned as an instructor. It was during this period that his interest in the Antarctic became almost an obsession. In 1984 he went there as a member of a small expedition and has written and lectured on the subject ever since. This included writing a biography of "Captain Oates" and conducting a study into the dynamics of small teams working together in extreme conditions.


With a military career spanning four decades, he is best known for commanding the 7th Armoured Brigade - the Desert Rats - comprising 5,000 men with tank regiments, armoured infantry, artillery, engineers and support services. In September 1990 Patrick took the Brigade, now increased to 12,000 men, to Saudi Arabia as Britain's initial ground contribution to the Gulf War. In February 1991 they led the British and American attack which breached Iraq lines. Patrick was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership and bravery. 




A short time later, after a brief spell at the Royal College of Defence Studies, he started to set up the Combined Arms Training Centre at Warminster. He held the appointment for only ten months before being promoted to Major General to command the newly formed Eastern District (becoming the 2nd Division in 1994) with its Headquarters in York. From there Patrick was responsible for the training, operational readiness and logistic support for some 55,000 regular and TA soldiers and cadets. In July 1996 he was appointed Military Advisor to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and the Armed Forces of Oman. Apart from professional advice, the appointment demanded political acumen, sensitivity to international pressures and diplomacy.


Also in 1996 he published "In The Eye Of The Storm", his own account of leading Britain's biggest armoured deployment since D-day in 1944. This was very well received by readers and critics alike and immediately became number one on the non fictional best seller lists. It encompassed every aspect of his responsibilities from covering the tiniest detail through to the importance of being positive and inspiring confidence.


Patrick retired from the Army in 2000 and became Chairman of a technology company. His other appointments have included being Honorary Colonel of both The Royal Dragoon Guards and Bristol University Officer Training Corps and Chairman of the Cavalry and Guards' Club. He is now Chairman of the Defence & Security Forum (DFS) and Chairman and Vice-chairman of the Governors of two schools and a member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. He is also a visiting scholar and Doctor of Science at Hull University.


He works keenly for charities and is Chairman of the National Memorial Arboretum Future Foundations Committee and President of The Normandy Veterans' Association in York. He is a Trustee of Gilbert White's House & The Oates Museum. He and his wife also take active interest and help with the charities Help for Heroes and Macmillian Cancer Support.


Since the Gulf War, Patrick has been much in demand as a lecturer around the world, talking on such subjects as leadership, team-building and decision-making. He also works as a media commentator on international affairs particularly covering the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Patrick lives in Wiltshire with his wife Melissa, and they have two daughters, Antonia and Miranda. Apart from the Antarctic, he is interested in military history and what he would describe as minor country sports, windsurfing and tennis.