About him

About him


To be published 2017

More Luck of a Lancaster, Pen & Sword

Published 2016

An Alligator in the Bathroom - Adventures of an RSPCA Inspector in Yorkshire. John Blake.

Published 2015

The First Feminist. Self published/Amazon

Paradise Restored & the Good Life Survived. Ant Press.

The Squadron That Died Twice. John Blake.

Luck of a Lancaster paperback. Pen & Sword.

The Fighter Pilot's Handbook. John Blake.


Merlin - biography of a famous police horse. John Blake

Still Going Strong - 100 years of the RAF's senior bomber squadron, No 9. Pen & Sword.


Luck of a Lancaster. Pen & Sword.

Bomber Command 1939-1940 - The War Before the War. Pen & Sword


Jocks in the Jungle - Black Watch and Cameronians as Chindits. Pen & Sword

Superpiss, Meltykiss, Spankers and Muff. Constable


Celebrity double biography (under pseudonym). February, John Blake

Me and My MG. June, Remember When/Pen & Sword

The Pocket Guide to Sheds. July, Remember When

Remembering the High Street. September, Remember When

Some Missing Persons. December, Fractal Publishing.


The Classic Allotment. March, Remember When

The Classic Herb Garden. June, Remember When

Travelling Art - Gypsy Caravans and Canal Boats. June, The History Press

Cassius - paperback edition, July, John Blake

Pubs and their history. October, Remember When


Cassius, the true story of a courageous police dog. March, John Blake

No Need To Die - Americans in RAF Bomber Command. July, Haynes Publishing. Now an ebook published by Thistle.

Earlier books published

Animal Spy – undercover investigations into animal cruelty. Sept 2007, Vision

Bombers, first and last – WW2 with No IX Squadron, RAF. June 2006, Robson Books

Men and Sheds - October 2002, New Holland (150,000 copies sold)

Baiting the Trap - ghosted autobiography of undercover agent. Simon & Schuster, August 2001

43 Unsporting Moments, Village Cricket, The Appleby Rai, The Buxton Baths Murders. Fido (self published)



London BISFA 'Best Scriptwriter', Los Angeles ITVA 'Golden Reel' (both for video documentary about lack of treatment for kidney patients); Lakeland Books of the Year, Jennings Prize (The Appleby Rai)

Newspaper and magazine articles and stories - many, including Art Review, Best of British, Crafts, The Independent, Yorkshire Post, Garden News, Garden Answers, Yorkshire Journal, Police Review, At Home (medical journal), Golf Monthly, Whitbread Magazine, Yours, Plain English, FlyPast, Armourer, Britain at War. American magazines Logbook and MAKE. Weekly humorous column ‘This World of Ours’ in the Yorkshire Post.

Gordon Thorburn is the legitimate child of Hrothgar Tørbjorn, Swedish air ace, whose Volvo night fighter was mistakenly shot down over Dewsbury. Hrothgar sold his parachute and married Ivy Milburn, a Geordie ice-cream girl and exotic-dance understudy, in a private ceremony at Leeds City Varieties.

As a boy, Gordon was keen to be a bought ledger clerk with the Assembly of the Free Churches of Scotland but his father wanted him to be a poet or sculptor. As a compromise, Gordon enrolled at the Kirkstall Lane Temperance College to learn black-pudding knotting. He supplemented this with a course in participle dangling then ran away to London to be indentured to the advertising legend S H Benson, gent., as an infinitive splitter (hot metal).


After two years' trying to think of a different way of saying 'Guinness is good for you', Gordon joined McCann Erickson where he became known as 'The Nine out of Ten Copywriter'. Phrases he coined there included 'The Esso sign appertains to happy motoring', 'A Double Diamond works quite well considering', 'Oh, Bisto', ‘Hardly anything acts faster than Anadin’ and 'I'd like to buy the world a Jennings of Cockermouth'.


Gordon lived in Suffolk for fifteen years but became dismayed by a large number of Essex people moving in and erecting fibreglass Victorian street lamps in their gardens. After ten years in Appleby-in-Westmorland smallholding and good-lifing, he’s now back in Suffolk with his wife Sue, working on several new books.