Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Tribute to 'inspirational' author

Jon Latimer
Colleagues say Jon Latimer will be deeply missed

Tributes have been paid to a university lecturer and military history author who died suddenly aged 44.

Colleagues at Swansea University have described Jon Latimer as a "gifted and inspiring" teacher.

He had received several awards for his most recent book on the 1812 war between Britain and America.

Mr Latimer was well known in Ferryside, Carmarthenshire, where he was a volunteer with the inshore lifeboat and played cricket and rugby.

Born in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, and raised in Chester, he studied oceanography at Swansea in the early 1980s.

During a career as an oceanographer, which included a spell in Australia, he wrote articles on military history for magazines including British Army Review, Military History and Osprey Military Journal.

Five years ago he returned to Swansea University to lecture on a War and Society degree.

It's remarkable how active he has been and how many lives he has touched

Professor John France

Professor John France, director of the university's James Callaghan Centre for Conflict Studies, said: "He was a very interesting man and a very interesting scholar.

"We at the university are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to his family.

"He was an exceptionally gifted teacher, really quite inspiring, and has been an enormous success with colleagues."

Mr Latimer's most recent work won a distinguished book award from the Society for Military History and was short-listed in the US for the George Washington Book Prize.

"It's virtually in every book shop in the States and really selling well - it's been very well received," added Mr France.

Mr Latimer had also served for 16 years with the Territorial Army, was a volunteer lifeboat man, played cricket and rugby for Ferryside and was a keen cyclist.

He died after a sudden and unexpected heart attack at the weekend.

Mr France said: "It's remarkable how active he has been and how many lives he has touched.

"Our students picked that up - he could spread his enthusiasm for whatever he was doing."

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