Michael J Bird Tribute Website

Early Writing Career ...

... as a journalist ...

Bird worked briefly on the Cambridge Daily News before moving to London to work for the Daily Mirror and the Daily Herald. He also wrote for the News Chronicle and was a regular contributor to the magazine Titbits. Bird kept an enormous scrap book of cuttings from the late 1950s. For Titbits he penned salciously illustrated accounts of war time heroines in France and Cyprus and features about competeition winners 'day to remember' with radio stars.
He also contributed the piece alongside to 'TV Times' as early as 1958.

... and as an author

Foreign Office Confidential
Foreign Office Confidential
True adventures of the 'Silver Greyhounds'
Published by Souvenir Press, London (1961)

Written with Geoffrey Kino

His first book was written because he was friends with an old Colonel who had been a "King's Messenger" and who told him stories of his time in the Service. Bird wrote it with another friend, Geoffrey Kino, who died a couple of years later from cancer.

"Yesterday Messengers for the King - today the Queen's Messengers. Their proud motto always:
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay these Couriers in the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

In July 2017 Bird's son (also named Michael) re-published it as an e-Book for the Kindle.

Listing on Amazon

At only 3.99 it is well worth getting an electronic copy to while away the odd half hour commuting to the office or to take with you on those long summer holidays. (And after purchasing don't forget to give the book a good review!)

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Brief 'Author Biography' from the flyleaf of the book

The Town that Died
Published by Souvenir Press, London (31st May 1962)
(although there have been several editions over the years)

"On the morning of December 6th, 1917, two ships, one of them loaded with over 2,600 tons of high explosives, collided in Halifax harbour, Nova Scotia. In an instant, over one square mile of Halifax was erased along with scores of lives."

Before publication the book was adapted and serialised in the UK Sunday Express newspaper in March 1962.

Bird spent more than a year piecing together this documentary account. In an interview in 1997 he said:
"With my novel The Town That Died I proved that an enormous explosion caused by two ships colliding in Nova Scotia, Canada, that wiped out Halifax and another town across the estuary, was not the fault of the man who was the pilot of the French ship going up the harbour who was claimed to be drunk. From that day nobody spoke to him: he was ostracised, they wouldn't even sell him anything. I went to Canada to do the research to prove that he wasn't drunk and I managed it. Within three months of that he died. Everybody had admitted to making a big mistake. I felt great about that."

His wife Olive says:
"The book came from reading a small piece in a newspaper commemorating the disaster. He then wrote a letter to a number of newspapers asking for people's memories of the event. We had hundreds of letters and photographs, etc.

After over fifty years royalties are still being received from Canada, where the book is considered to be the definitive account of events and is used as a history book."

In the early days of the website, visitor Donna Isnor e-mailed from Nova Scotia to say:
"Of all the books on the Halifax Explosion I have read, this is the best, I have read it several times. For six years I lived within walking distance from the worst hit area and my store overlooks the Bedford Basin. They have constructed a memorial on Fort Needham using all the bells from all the churches that were destroyed. There are still a few survivors, I have a lady who comes to my store who was 13 at the time and still remembers, she doesn't look a day over 70!!"

The Secret Battalion - flyleaf The Secret Battalion The Secret Battalion The Secret Battalion

The Secret Battalion
Published by Frederick Muller Ltd, London (1965).
Also published in America by Holt, Reinhart and Winston in 1964.

Bedazzled Bedazzled
Published by Sphere Books, London (1968).

A novel based on the screenplay by Peter Cook based on an original story by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Bird was employed by Twentieth century Fox, London (on somebody's recommendation) to write features on the production of the film "Bedazzled" and a Swedish film called "Dr. Glas" which was directed by Mai Zetterling. The features would have been to advertise the films in magazines etc.

He went to Sweden and Denmark with Mai and attended the filming of "Bedazzled". His wife recalls him telling her that he didn't think the film would be good because the actors laughed at their own jokes too much. Presumably the novelisation followed from this connection.


Takes you to more about Bird's novelisation of 'Who Pays the Ferryman?' Takes you to more about Bird's novelisation of 'The Aphrodite Inheritance' Takes you to more about Bird's novelisation of 'The Dark Side of the Sun' Takes you to more about Bird's novelisation of 'Maelstrom' Takes you to more about the novelisation of 'The Outsider'

For more information click any book cover.

Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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