Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest article published in his bravery series for Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.
The theme of the series is Lord Ashcroft’s “hero of the month” and for the foreseeable future he will be concentrating on writing about men who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
The November edition of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and courage of Private Sidney Frank Godley, who served with The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).
Godley embarked for France and Belgium with his regiment in August 1914 when his battalion was one of the first to go to war. On 23 August, his company was tasked with defending Nimy Bridge with a machine-gun.
A comrade, Lieutenant Maurice Dease, was initially responsible for firing the machine-gun but, after being wounded four times, he was mortally injured. Godley took over the role for two hours during which he received 27 separate wounds.
Godley crawled to receive hospital treatment but, when the Germans took over the area, he was taken as a Prisoner of War. Godley and Dease were both awarded the VC and both their families regarded them as posthumous decorations. However, in April 1916, Godley’s family was informed that he was still alive and, at some point while being held, he was informed by the Germans that he had been awarded the VC.
Godley was released at the end of the Great War. After working as a school caretaker, he retired in 1951. He died in Epping, Essex, in June 1957, aged 67.
Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who had written four books on bravery over the past nine years. He has also lectured extensively on courage and his various medal collections.
His articles for Britain at War over the past two years have been largely based on excerpts from Lord Ashcroft’s four books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes and Heroes of the Skies. His fifth gallantry book, Special Ops Heroes, was published on November 6, 2014.
* Lord Ashcroft’s article appears in the November issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.