Commando Dad

Meet Commando Dad

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Commando Dad is the author of Basic Training, the bestselling parenting manual loved by Prince William. Here he talks military muscle and his new book Raw Recruits.

Tell us a bit about yourself

“I’m 43 years young, with three children: Samuel 12, Jude 11 and my little Tasmanian devil Liberty who’s 7. I joined the military when I was 17 and spent seven months in Iraq with the Marines, doing all sorts of crazy things like dodging sniper fire, disarming mines and getting rid of ammunition – very exciting, very scary. In all I spent about six years in the forces.”

So what prompted you to write Basic Training?

“I’d read so many books about pregnancy and childbirth that I could have delivered my own baby, so I was really clued up on that. But then when we actually came home with the baby I just looked at my wife Tara and said ‘what do we do now?’ And she said ‘I have no idea’. It was the first time I’d ever held a baby. We had no experience and we were living in America at the time, so we had no one to ask for any help or advice.”

“Samuel was a crier – he basically cried from the moment he came out until he was 18 months. The first six weeks were hellish, if you offered me a millions pounds to relive them I’d say no chance!” 

“So I approached it the only way I knew how. With a set of Standard Operating Procedures for everything I needed to do – whether it was burping, bathing or bottle making. I lived by the maxim: Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Parental Performance.”

And how has the book been received?

“Really well! We’ve sold 40,000 copies in the UK alone and we’ve got 10 international book deals lined up. It’s just launched in America so it’s all incredibly exciting.”

Did you send the book to Prince William?

“No. The first I heard of it was a phone call from The Mail on Sunday’s Royal Correspondent. She asked me if I realised I had a royal fan and said Prince William is raving about your book to all his friends. That was a proud day. I did a few cartwheels round the living room! “

And your new book Raw Recruits is about to be published. Reveal all!

“That’s right. Raw Recruits is launching just in time for Father’s Day. There are nine chapters, beginning: ‘Raw recruits 266 days and counting’ – that’s the average number of days from finding out you’re going to be a dad to holding your baby for the first time after they’re deployed. This book isI going to empower to dad to say ‘Right, I’m on this 266 day journey and I can make a massive impact on this being a really wonderful time for me and my CO (Commanding Officer or Mum to be).

It covers ‘Actions’ – what you do under ambush, ‘Multiple Deployment’ – what you can expect with multiples and ‘Call the Medic’ – what to do if something’s not quite right. I’ve really worked hard to make it as accessible to dads  – and mums! as possible.”

Be honest – are your books for everyone?

“When the first book was just out I did get some negative tweeting from mums and mummy bloggers. But everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you don’t like the military, then a military manual isn’t going to work for you.

For me, the important thing is presenting my material in a way that’s practical and accessible. I don’t want to have to read a case study or what my baby is statistically likely to do. I want to know what to do about my baby screaming the house down at 2am in the morning!”

And where did you source your material?

“I worked with midwives and a senior obstetrician for support. One of the great things in Raw Recruits is advice from the front line. I got 40 dads to answer the question “What would have been a really useful piece of information for you?”

That sounds very similar to our What I Wish I’d Known #WIWIK campaign…

“Absolutely! I got loads of these little gems of advice from the front line. They’re fantastic because I wouldn’t have been able to get away with saying what they said and I think that builds a lot of integrity into the book.”

One final question. If you had to share your own #WIWIK what would it be?

“I wish I had known that there is no right or wrong way. In reality, parenting depends on many things, including the temperament of your baby trooper. When I became a dad for the second time, I assumed I had perfected my skills – but Jude was having none of it. At the end of the day, as long as your baby is loved, fed and safe, you’re doing a great job.”

Head to for a huge range of books from parenting manuals to board books including the best-loved Very Hungry Caterpillar.


  1. Because baby pip wants to give a copy to their daddy for fathers day ready for when they meet for real in December.

    baby pip
  2. My husband is an ex paratrooper and would love this style of book. It’s our first baby and very excited 🙂

  3. My husband was in the army and we’re due are first baby after being married for 11 years so very excited!! I’ve just read the artical above and we were in stitches sounds like a brilliant book would love to be a lucky winner! x

    Angela Linsdell
  4. Because no man can be too prepared for the military operation that is children!!!

    Robert Kedge
  5. Would love to win this for my OH as we’re expecting again and would be a fab gift for him to read (and me as well )

    Danielle Stratfull
  6. Hubby is worried what to do when bump comes along! Don’t want technical manual!

  7. Because I would love to read it as much as my husband when our new recruit joins us in October!

    Lianne O'Neill
  8. Because we loved the first book and would like to share this with our friends

    Emma B
  9. I want this book because I bought Commando dad for my fiance and it’s brilliant! My best friend is now expecting, so I want to get it for her husband to guide them through the pregnancy – as no doubt he’ll need some dad support throughout those nine months!

    Emma Mahony
  10. It’s the 1st baby book that’s interested me and with my 1st on the way it’s time to get prepared

  11. Because my husband is understandably nervous about the imminent arrival of our first baby (3weeks time) and this sounds just the practical approach he would appreciate

    Angie Rogers
  12. We have just been discussing, “what do we do with baby when she’s home?”! This style of book is perfect for my practical minded husband!

  13. I want to be the best dad I can be but could really do with some help

    John Haggerty
  14. Because after all the infertility testing and IVF, iVe had a lot of attention on me. We are now expecting our first baby. It would be really nice to give something back to my husband for all his support and give him some attention for a change, 🙂

    Sam H

    Samantha Humphries
  15. Because for David this will be his first baby which he has created, he has my daughters, who he works so wonderfully hard to be a secure father to them, and they love him so very much for it, but his own small one…we all want him to feel as secure as he does with us 3 when the new one arrives…and any tips and tricks are always helpful 🙂
  16. I watch his YouTube videos a lot and my partner(first time father to be) really identifies with him and would love the book!

  17. I would love to give this to my husband as a present in preparation for our first baby (due September)! He’s been so supportive of me and how I have felt, he deserves a treat!
    Thanks x

    Carrie scanlon
  18. I would love to win a copy because it might be more up my partners street than other books- he finds other parenting books boring and very mother-central, with maybe one or two passages aimed at Dad.

    Louise Evans
  19. My husband is taking 6 months off to be with the baby after my 6 months . This is our first baby so i think a helping hand in a format he can relate to would be great

  20. With my first Trooper on the way I need all the help I can get and I feel at home with the military terminology so it sounds like this book is perfect for me.

  21. Me and my partner are young first time parents and I feel he needs a little kick up the bum to get him into gear for preparing for this little girl! Thank you.

    suzanna eadie
  22. My husband has been deployed all around the world, but I’ve never seen him so scared until the moment i told him i was expecting, the prospect of parenthood is obviously more worrying than being in the royal navy! He needs this book!! Thank you kiddicare x

    tanya davies
  23. My boyfriend is due to go on a 4 month tour of duty with the RAF 3 months after our first is due. Think this book could help him apply work tactics to parenting as we have no idea what we are doing! Thanks Kiddicare x

    Laura Barnes
  24. A friend at works partner is expecting and he is going to need some help, so this would be a funny gift!

    Rachael w
  25. My partner loves stuff like this! It’s his birthday on the 6th July & this would be the perfect present from our little soldier, Austin! 🙂

    Natalie Boston

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