Gunpowder & Glory

The Explosive Life of Frank Brock OBE

Harry Smee, Henry Macrory

The previously untold story of Frank Brock - a remarkable forerunner of James Bond and ‘Q' combined - and his extraordinary contribution to the British war effort between 1914 and 1918 as an inventor, secret agent and combatant.
Date Published :
May 2020
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
Lord Ashcroft
Illustration :
ca. 70 images
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781612008448
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Picture a daredevil combatant, secret agent and brilliant inventor all rolled into one. Such a man was pyrotechnical genius Frank Brock, a scion of the famous firework family and one of Britain’s great, unsung heroes. A remarkable combination of James Bond and ‘Q,' Frank was killed in action one hundred years ago. His story has never been told before, yet he made an extraordinary contribution to the British war effort between 1914 and 1918, saving thousands of lives.

Frank could easily have been the template for 007. A heavyweight boxer, rugby player and brilliant shot, he uniquely held commissions in all three branches of the armed services – army, navy and air force – during the First World War. As an inventor he ended Germany’s dream of air supremacy with his pioneering Brock Bullet. A year later he helped prevent German domination of the Channel by inventing giant flares which lit up the sea at night and forced U-boats into deep mine fields.

It did not end there. As a secret agent he dashed to France on his wedding day, rowed across a lake into enemy territory, and prepared the ground for the world’s first strategic bombing raid – ordered by Winston Churchill – on a Zeppelin base in southern Germany. Later, as a combatant, he played a leading role in one of the war’s most daring naval raids – a raid only made possible because of the artificial fog he invented to mask the attacking vessels.

Gunpowder and Glory tells more than Frank’s remarkable story of invention and derring-do. Woven into the narrative is the dazzling history of Brock’s Fireworks, the world-famous firm started by Frank’s five-times great-grandfather, and which he was being groomed to run.

About The Author

Harry Smee is the grandson of Frank Brock. He was a director of Brock's Fireworks.

Henry Macrory was deputy editor and acting editor of the Sunday Express. He moved from newspapers into political communications and worked in 10 Downing Street for the Coalition Government.


Chapter 1: Come on, you Boys
Chapter 2: A Whiff of Black Powder
Chapter 3: Fireworks in their Blood
Chapter 4: Taking the Palace by Storm
Chapter 5: The Shakespeare of Pyrotechnics
Chapter 6: Whatever you are, be Brave Boys!
Chapter 7: Pomp and Circumstance
Chapter 8: A Carpet of Violets
Chapter 9: Monsters of the Sky
Chapter 10: Seeking the Holy Grail
Chapter 11: The Magic Bullet
Chapter 12: Father of Invention
Chapter 13: Striking the Viper’s Nest
Chapter 14: Brock of the Mole
Chapter 15: The Finest Feat
Chapter 16: Brock’s Benefit

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