Lord Ashcroft’s latest book on gallantry, Special Ops Heroes, is published today by Headline, with a free copy being donated to every secondary school in the UK
The book is the fifth in Lord Ashcroft’s best-selling “Heroes” series on courage and it tells the true stories of exceptional courage behind the world’s largest collection of British and Commonwealth Special Forces medals. Lord Ashcroft has amassed a collection of more than 100 such groups of medals since 1986.
All author’s royalties from Special Ops Heroes are being donated to two military charities: the Special Air Service (SAS) Regimental Association and Walking With The Wounded.
Furthermore, Lord Ashcroft is giving a complimentary copy of his book to every secondary school in the UK – some 6,000 state and independent schools – so that pupils can learn about and appreciate great acts of courage by British and Commonwealth servicemen.
In his new book, Lord Ashcroft recounts the inspirational stories behind more than fifty new groups of gallantry and service medals that have been added to his collection since the publication of his book Special Forces Heroes six years ago.
Using diaries, eye-witness accounts, medal citations, letters and interviews with the medal recipients themselves, Special Ops Heroes tells the inspirational stories of men who have been prepared to go undercover, behind enemy lines or be part of a small raid against a larger force – high-risk missions that could end in capture followed by a long imprisonment, torture or death.
The book includes accounts of the early missions by members of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), the reconnaissance and raiding group formed in 1940 that was a pre-cursor to the SAS. It also highlights audacious action by members of the SAS during the Second World War, as well as later twentieth century conflicts including Northern Ireland, the Falklands and the Gulf.
Action behind enemy lines requires a special sort of premeditated bravery. It is this “cold courage” that Lord Ashcroft celebrates in these stories of the remarkable valour of some of the bravest men ever to put on a British military uniform.
The Foreword to the new book has been written by Andy McNab, the SAS hero turned best-selling writer. He says Special Ops Heroes tells “amazing stories of courage” and describes the book as “a page-turner”.
Lord Ashcroft is a Tory peer, international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. His collections of gallantry medals include the largest number of Victoria Crosses (VCs) in the world (more than 180) that can be viewed in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at Imperial War Museums, London.
The gallery was opened by HRH The Princess Royal in November 2010. It cost more than £5 million, which was entirely funded by Lord Ashcroft because he wanted his VC and George Cross (GC) collections to be enjoyed by the public. Admission to the gallery is free.