Medals

See the June issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The June issue of magazine has four pages on the life and career of Company Sergeant Major Martin Doyle VC, MM, who, within a year of the announcement of his main decoration, was fighting against the very country that had bestowed the award upon him. (more…)

D-Day hero: The story of the only soldier to be awarded Victoria Cross on Normandy beaches

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Express on 03 June 2019.

ON June 6 1944, more than 155,000 courageous Allied servicemen, including my own dear father, took part in the D-Day landings as part of Operation Neptune, the largest seaborne invasion in history. However, amid endless stories of courage, just one of these men was deemed to have displayed such outstanding gallantry that he was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. When the fighting was at its heaviest on Gold Beach, one of the five chosen for the invasion of Normandy, Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis showed his northern grit and determination. (more…)

One D-Day landing craft, two officers and the whim of fate that saw my dad live

By Lord Ashcroft

First published on 26 May 2019 in the Mail on Sunday.

It was dawn on Tuesday, June 6, 1944. In a landing craft filled with a sense of fear and trepidation, two officers from very different backgrounds crouched low to avoid the inevitable incoming fire. In an earlier confidential briefing, the men had been warned to expect 75 per cent casualties – dead and wounded – as they charged up Sword Beach as part of the D-Day landings.

They had, understandably, kept that grim prediction from the rank-and-file as they prepared for their role in the largest seaborne invasion in history: codenamed Operation Neptune, it involved more than 155,000 men. (more…)

See the May issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The May issue of magazine has four pages on the life and career of Sergeant George Monk, who was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for gallantry during the post Second World War Malayan Campaign and for what his official citation described as “a brilliant little action”.

George Monk, who was born in June 1922, enlisted into the Suffolk Regiment in October 1941. During the Second World War, he served both at home and in North West Europe with his regiment and the Royal Artillery, the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. (more…)

See the April issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The April issue of magazine has four pages on the life and career of Company Sergeant Major Peter Harold Wright VC.

Farmer’s son Wright, who was born in Mettingham, Suffolk, initially planned a career in the police force but he changed his mind and enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in October 1936, later joining the 3rd Battalion. He served in Egypt and Palestine as a lance corporal from 1937-9. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft gives his backing to the CWGC’s new “Voices of Liberation” project

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has given his backing to today’s launch of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC’s) “Voices of Liberation” project to mark the 75th anniversary of key events in the Second World War.

As part of the new project, Lord Ashcroft and others were interviewed about their thoughts and experiences on liberation in relation to 1944 and other significant Second World War events. These interviews will form part of an important archive that the CWGC will keep and maintain. (more…)

See the March issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The March issue of magazine has four pages on the life of Captain Richard Annand, who was affectionately known as the “wheelbarrow VC’ for his bravery during the Second World War.

Annand was born in Westoe, South Shields, Co Durham, in November 1914. His father, Wallace, was killed at Gallipoli when Richard was just seven months old and an uncle became his guardian.

He was awarded the Army’s first VC of the 1939-45 war for his gallantry defending the River Dyle in Belgium against advancing German soldiers on May 15/16 1940. (more…)

See the February issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The February issue of magazine has four pages on the life and bravery of Major-General Sir Christopher Charles Teesdale, who was awarded the VC for bravery during the Crimean War.

Teesdale was born in Grahamstown in the Cape Colony of South Africa on June 1 1833 and was only two when he travelled to England with his family. In 1848, he was accepted as a gentleman cadet in the Royal Artillery and he was commissioned into the regiment in June 1851, shortly after his 18th birthday. (more…)

Victoria Cross hero who joined the IRA: the WW1 soldier whose awesome courage during the conflict has been forgotten by history

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 27 January 2019.

At first glance, his simple grave at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin appears no different to those of the other 622 fallen soldiers from two world wars.

Only the inscription etched in the pale grey gravestone indicates that this is the last resting place of a highly decorated war hero: ‘Coy. Sgt. Major Martin Doyle, VC, MM, Royal Munster Fusiliers Died 20th Nov. 1940.’ (more…)

Rhino rehab: Can wounded UK veterans and orphaned baby rhinos really help each other heal?

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Telegraph Magazine on Saturday, 26 January 2019.

Rainbow leans forward and rests her chin on Peter Dunning’s left leg as he sits on a large discarded rubber tyre. The baby rhinoceros then lunges towards the plastic teat of a litre bottle of powdered milk that Dunning is clutching in his right hand.

It is feeding time under the late-afternoon African sun and Rainbow knows it. ‘Come on, gorgeous,’ Dunning says affectionately, but she needs no encouragement as she guzzles down the milk. Dunning reaches forward and gently rubs the thick hide on her neck with his left hand, slowly bringing it higher to tickle her ears.

(more…)