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 (VC) during the First World War.
The January edition of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Bandsman Thomas Rendle. Rendle had already showed immense courage during the Battle of Mons when, on November 20 1914, he showed even greater bravery while acting as a stretcher-bearer near Wulverghem, Belgium.
When a shell landed and exploded on a parapet, some 15 men were buried in their trenches and others were wounded and killed. Rendle, however, went to the aid of the buried and wounded men.
The fierce fighting extended to the afternoon and, at one point, with enemy artillery fire at its height, an officer sitting at the bottom of a trench was hit and injured. Realising that his comrade was in need of urgent medical attention, Rendle crawled towards Second Lieutenant Colebrooke, despite the fact that enemy snipers had the position well covered.
After reaching the injured officer, Rendle administered first aid before scraping and scratching a path through the fallen earth. With the injured man on his back, Rendle eventually crawled to safety without being hit. His VC was announced on January 11, 1915.
Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who had written five 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 three years have been largely based on excerpts from four of Lord Ashcroft’s books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes and Heroes of the Skies. His fifth bravery book, Special Ops Heroes, was published on November 6 2014.
* Lord Ashcroft’s article appears in the January issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.