Phil Ashby

A former Royal Marines Commando Officer and UN peacekeeper, Major Phil Ashby recounts his fascinating, challenge-ridden career with passion, pride and a generous dose of humour.His keynote speeches brim with powerful themes that adrenalize corporate audiences—from the importance of training and teamwork, to contingency planning and operating under extreme conditions.

A genuine hero and a fantastic story-teller, Major Phil Ashby makes audiences stand to attention at corporate events as he shares thrilling episodes from his prestigious career as a Royal Marines officer and UN peacekeeper.

Now an engaging motivational, keynote and after dinner speaker, Phil hails from the West Coast of Scotland. Joining the Royal Marines at the age of 17, he was sponsored to read Engineering at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was awarded the Commando Medal as top student at the end of Officer Training and, at 28, he became the youngest officer to be made Major in the British Armed Forces.

Interesting, engaging. Really managed to keep the audience's attention after a long day's presentation. His stories were really quite remarkable.
Adelie Foods Group Limited

One of Phil’s most memorable missions was in Sierra Leone, where he had enlisted himself to join UN peacekeepers.

Arriving in the conflict-ridden country as rebel forces were re-starting the civil war, the lives of Phil and his UN co-workers were put into grave danger when a local warlord turned on them. They were taken hostage and, after days of being brutally held captive, Phil led a daring plan to help the group escape through the jungle to be met by the British Army.

Phil was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his incredible demonstration of ‘Coolness, Courage and Leadership’. His experience in Sierra Leone was chronicled in his best-selling autobiography anddocumented in a one-hour episode of ‘Banged Up Abroad’.

Although safely back in the UK, Phil had picked up a spinal virus; paralysed from the waist down, he was forced to re-evaluate his professional life when front-line soldiering became impossible.

He has since made a full recovery and is able to pursue his love of rock climbing. As an internationally qualified Mountain Leader and a Jungle Warfare Instructor, he continues to inspire others with his insatiable zest for life.

His speaking topics include:

- Escape from Sierra Leone

- Importance of training and teamwork

- Contingency planning and operating under extreme conditions

- Making the most of things

For further information or to book Phil Ashby, call us at Speakers Corner on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email

What people said about Phil Ashby

Superb speaker, amazing story to tell and managed to mix it in well with the message we were trying to get across to the conference audience on the day.
Lafarge Tarmac
Phil was a great presenter with a fantastic story to tell.
Lincolnshire LMC Limited
Genuinely inspirational, informative about own background but related well to team & leadership issues
MDDUS Educational ltd
Overall feedback suggests that the event was a great success. Thank you for your contribution.
Profile Productions Ltd
Phil was an excellent guest speaker. His story left our audience feeling inspired to go forth and tackle problems with confidence in themselves and their teams.
Enterprise Coaching
I just wanted to write and thank you for such a wonderful presentation at the recent UFI Congress in Munich. Talking to 51 different nationalities is fraught with difficulties but you managed to hold all their attentions and the feedback we had was extremely positive. I remain convinced that the messages that you convey could be built into a management training programme which I believe could have significant impact as a training and learning tool.
Union des Foires lnternationales
Thank you so much for the fascinating and thought provoking presentation you gave to my team on Wednesday 10th July. The team was absolutely enthralled by your mission in Sierra Leone - although, of course, the inspiration was enhanced by your presentation - superbly articulated! All the feedback has been very positive and certainly conducive to continuous team building. Everyone has expressed an interest in buying your book and Joan is organizing that with your contact so a strong signing hand will come in useful! I can't believe I won't see you again in the near future as I am sure there will be further opportunities to engage you again to hear more about your fascinating army career. Once again thank you for a wonderful presentation.
BT Wholesale Markets
I am writing to thank you for organising the marvellous presentation Major Phil Ashby gave for our 'offsite' day. I personally found his experiences fascinating, and this view was shared by all present. Major Ashby's talk was very well presented, and gave important insights in teamwork, leadership, and motivation.
Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin (UK) Ltd
Thank you so much for coming to talk to our senior girls. They're still buzzing. I asked several of them for some sound-bites and here are some of the words they used: Amazing and eloquent: He was genuine and moving. Really modest: My friend is already halfway through the book: I was amazed how we were all so quiet for an hour. He really captivated us: Sometimes I think we might be too sheltered - having a speaker like this really helped to bring something important home to us: It was an incredible talk - I'll never forget it: I do hope you will be able to come back to talk to us again in a few year's time:
Cheltenham Ladies College
Major Ashby is a charismatic and compelling speaker. He has a real knack for drawing audiences - corporate, academic and military - into the shocking and sometimes surreal dilemmas he faced as an unarmed UN observer in Sierra Leone. He has a true talent for conveying with empathy and humour powerful messages about leadership, team motivation and effective communication. It is clear that he is a Commando-trained officer of the highest calibre. He is also adept intellectually and is able to interact with diverse audiences and experts from different fields. He has a keen awareness of the wider issues surrounding his own dramatic experiences and has thoughtful and insightful observations on human rights, morality, international politics and human nature. Quick to see the humour in every situation, he has found ways to popularise - but not trivialise - the most stressful circumstances in terms of emotions to which everyone can relate. I have heard Ashby speak on a number of occasions and each time he has tailored his message to his audience - to great effect. He kept my staff enthralled and their feedback outshone that of all our other speakers. A seriously impressive individual who speaks with style, conviction and a likeable, almost bashful, sense of humour.
Managing Director - D'Arcy & Co
A genuinely lovely guy. The feedback I received after the event was full of praise for Phil. The staff were so impressed that he stayed behind after the conference for lunch and took the time to speak to anyone that went over to speak to Phil. We cannot thank him enough.
EDF Energy
Professional speaker who delivered a superb well structured presentation which was greatly received by audience.
RAF ST Mawgan
Excellent and emotive speaker who engages well with the audience who presents clearly A really lovely person who it easy to work with.
Haringey Council
Read more testimonials for Phil Ashby

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