Sunday 17th January 2016

Amazon Number One Best Seller

#1 in Kindle Store > Books > Gulf War

#1 in Kindle Store > Books > History of Countries & Regions

#1 in Kindle Store > Books > Biographies about Notable People

Reviews from Amazon….

5.0 out of 5 starsA badge that shines.

31 May 2015
By Dr. C. Evans. “Sean Dillon” (Mid-Glam, Sth Wales UK)
This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)
A book that remined me of my youth ( misspent as usual)!!! Shame that it doesn’t go anywhere we, as JL’s, should go!! Excellent stuff and well put together. All the best (rtd Wo2)

4starsLike it is

30 May 2015
This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)
good account of army life ideal read for anyone about to join the army


5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book

8 April 2015 By Kevin Griffiths
Format:Kindle Edition
A wonderful read. A tale of how one soldier adapted to life in the Army, factual, truthful, funny but also sad, I highly recommend this book, couldn’t put it down from start to finish Ashley has you captured and engrossed all the way through. I’m a civilian without any military experience at all and found it fascinating what you can encounter whilst serving for Queen and Country.

5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 April 2015

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this book, quite funny at times. Interesting to read about a soldier and his way up through the ranks.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Read Down Memory Lane, 29 Mar. 2015

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)
Had to read this being a Gunner myself and having served during this period. So remember being briefed by our own officers following Ash’s incursion into the East. As a soldier then you had to laugh at what was heard and talked about. Even more so as it was the Gunners making the headlines. Now I have heard it from the horse’s mouth makes it just as funny…maybe not for Ash at the time though.
The book brings backs so many good memories of my own time in the Regiment. Thank you Ash for sharing your thoughts. A good read and a bloody good book I fully recommend. Ubique!

4starsA good read, 26 Mar. 2015

By JOHN (UK) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)

Being a Gunner it brought back many memories and some insight the thinking behind events and courses you had to do . The book rings with an honest account with controlled embellishment of the hard times

5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 26 Mar. 2015

By tina barrattSee all my reviews

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)

Surprisingly easy read and interesting with a lot of chuckles great read

5.0 out of 5 starsGood stuff, 22 Mar. 2015

By  John MaddocksSee all my reviews

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)

Great read, I was in some of this ( Gulf War) so I know this guy is not telling lies. Brought back memories, funny, not so funny, scary and sad.

5.0 out of 5 stars and sad tales. It’s very easy to read, 16 Mar. 2015

This review is from: The Badge (Kindle Edition)
Ashley Topham writes a tale of life in the British Army; combining comedy, camaraderie, and sad tales. It’s very easy to read, and well written. I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it. If you contact him on Twitter @thebadge4, he may even sign a copy.

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 Mar. 2015

By orca
A really enjoyable read brought back a lot of memories as well
RA ASSOCIATION - The Royal Regiment of Artillery

RA ASSOCIATION – The Royal Regiment of Artillery

We were asked to review this book for a fellow Gunner.

‘Ashley Topham joined the Royal Artillery in 1981 and served 24 years.  Mostly with 40 Regt RA.  He left the Army due to family commitments and now runs his own business.’

The Book was read by WO1 (RSM) L Young, 12 Regiment RA.  He said:

‘A thoroughly enjoyable read about a soldier who reached the top of his game.  Hilarious at times, thought provoking and a fascinating insight into the life of an ‘ordinary’ soldier.  I couldn’t put it down, so well written in a gritty, honest and straight talking no nonsense style.  This is a book every soldier should read!’

From Facebook…

I have just finished reading, ‘The Badge.’ Ashley Topham’s autobiography. Its written in his own words and not been edited to death to take his personality out of it. So what you get it a quiet guy speaking his mind, the English is not Oxford or Cambridge, its Tops talking, and doing it very well. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It evokes memories of your own training and arrival in your new regiment. Facing the sweats in the Battery Bar for the first time. Of course not all of us can boast about trips to the DDR or being Boxing Champions. His ethics shine through and remind me of the young very competent Bombardier that he was, who we believed had a great career before him, which he went on to fulfil.
The chapter on the Gulf War is fascinating, two things I can reassure him about; He was never going to have his gun taken from him by any outsider, and secondly, his detachment covered for him very well as he was recovering from Allah’s revenge, which after all is only what you would expect.
I am very proud of the way the Battery conducted itself during the Desert Shield/Storm, the training was hard and they were pushed very hard by the BC and the BSM, who fully understood he was not going to get any Xmas cards from the lads.
I still remember taking a certain soldier to the Med reception centre on Xmas eve after he fired his weapon randomly in and near the ground dumped ammo. We were met by the Padre who wished us a ‘Very Merry Christmas,’ I took the Padre to one side and explained the ‘Dear John,’ and explained what his reaction had been. His answer was, ‘Oh, how inconvenient, and at Christmas too!’ I’d say!
However the training kicked in during the Desert Storm, the Battery went through its systems like a well oiled machine with every man knowing his job, remembering they were very young, and very wide eyed with excitement, fear, and the lust to kill! The NCO’s were terrific. I agree Ash, the CP should have let you open fire!!!!!!
Sometimes life kicks you in the balls, but to be kicked hard twice and recover, says a lot about a man. Ash’s decision to leave the Army and support his family when obviously he would have been commissioned, tells you everything you want to know about this man.
If you have already read this book you will understand, if you haven’t and your an ex- gunner, you must. All will recognise bits of their careers as a Gunner in his words.

This is the review that appeared in the Nottingham Post

An ex-squaddie’s view of the real face of modern warfare
By Nottingham Post  |  Posted: July 17, 2014
ASHLEY Topham does not conform to the hackneyed image of the Army sergeant major.
Neat, thoughtful and of average height, he is far removed from the Ealing comedy stereotype, veins bursting in temples, parade ground roar rising from leonine growl to shrill falsetto.
“Sometimes you need to scream and shout,” says the Nottinghamshire soldier-turned author.
“But there are different ways of managing people, and managing soldiers is no different from managing a Macdonald’s – sometimes you need a quieter approach.”

Topham, a 49-year-old father-of four, is now a tree surgeon. But for almost 24 years he was a professional soldier, rising from the rank of Gunner – the “private” of the Royal Artillery – to Regimental Sergeant Major.
In the latter capacity, as a Warrant Officer Class I, he wore on his sleeve the royal coat of arms. To the ranks, it is the badge of authority – more simply, “The Badge”, which is the title of Topham’s book.
Young Ashley was not natural Army material.
He was a bit of a lad who didn’t mind a spot of bother, as he demonstrated as a teenager when joining the Junior Leaders.
On parade, standing at ease with his hands behind his back, he back-chatted a junior sergeant and was rewarded with a nutting and three punches. Topham retaliated but the two ended up friends.
As a fresh-faced gunner stationed in Germany he had to stand up for himself when picked on by drunken elders who ordered him to fetch their bratwurst and chips.
He asked for their money – and the old hands explained that he was expected to pay for the food as well as fetch it. They, too, discovered that their junior was a decent scrapper.
He was also a decent soldier, working his way through the non-commissioned ranks while mastering the technical challenges posed by complex howitzer and missile technology.
The path to the badged sleeve was not always smooth.
While off-duty when serving in Germany, Topham and a mate went skiing in the Harz Mountains, crossed an innocuous fence and suddenly found they had inadvertently invaded Communist East Germany and triggered a diplomatic incident.
In true spy-flick style, there was even a security heavy in a black leather coat giving them the “your papers are not in order!” treatment.
After being taken to East Berlin and handed over to British consular officials, Topham was returned to base and later quick-marched in front of his commanding officer’s desk.
It could have been six months in detention in Colchester. He got away with a £100 fine.
“We’d been fined £100 for a tour of East Germany and Berlin, which I thought was great value,” the author writes. “It would have cost loads more had I booked it through Thomas Cook. The worst thing was that I could not be promoted for a year, and was not supposed to use the radio due to the Russians picking up my voice and knowing where my unit was operating.”
If the border incident was the low point of Ashley Topham’s service career, the high point was the Gulf War of 1990-91, precipitated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
“For a soldier it was the best of times,” says Ashley. “You were living with your gun crew and being given the chance to do what you had trained for years to do.
“I was 25, one was 21 and the other two were 19. You develop a special bond.”
After getting “the badge” and serving two years as regimental sergeant major, Ashley was young enough to have sought a commission from the ranks – something his father had achieved in the RAF.
He left the Army for one compelling reason. His younger two children – Lucy, 13, and 10-year-old James – were born with a rare disability and need high levels of care and he felt his place was with the family, not on distant postings.
Ashley, who lives in the north Notts village of Fledborough, is full of praise for Carlton Digby community special school.
His motive for writing the book? “There are a lot of books by special forces people like Andy McNab and by high-ranking generals,” he says. “I wanted to tell people what it is like for most soldiers.
“I wanted to get across the humour, the brilliant mates that you get and what it is like when you are told you are going to war.
“I also wanted to show how technical war is today; how a soldier needs a lot of technical skills. Looking back I’d have done exactly the same thing, because I’d have ended up a toe-rag if I hadn’t joined the Army.”

This was posted on Facebook:
What an awesome read!!! Funny, sad, full of memories and 24 years of fantastic times and fantastic people all squeezed into one book. Brilliant Ash Topham!!! I absolutely loved it and it’s great to see all your hard work is finally put to print.