Medals

Proof human kindness can overcome the hatred of war

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 11 August 2019.

The bravery of a hero British First World War soldier and how a GERMAN general answered his parents’ plea to find their missing son.

 

  • British captain Kilby was so brave he fought on even after his foot was blown off  
  • Kilby went missing and his parents undertook a desperate search to locate him
  • They were assisted in their task by none other than a German army officer  
  • Letters show how the German general answered Kilby’s parents pleas to find him

Today, the tow-path alongside La Bassee canal in northern France is a haven of peace and tranquillity. (more…)

See the August 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 August issue of magazine has four pages on the life and career of Temporary Captain Henry John Andrews VC, MBE. Andrews was the recipient of a rare inter-war VC for bravery – there were, in fact, 11 such actions between November 1918 and September 1939. (more…)

Terror in the skies: How a VC was won in the air above France

By Lord Ashcroft

 

First published in the Daily Express on 13 June 2019.

SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS ago today one of the most remarkable stories in the history of the VC unfolded in the skies over France. Historian Lord Ashcroft on a tale of bravery and survival.

Just a week after D-Day and in what promised to be a relatively routine night-time bombing mission, the crew of an Avro Lancaster heavy bomber took off bound for northern France.

They were a closely-knit, seven-strong crew who had been on many sorties together.

Two gunners, Warrant Officer Andy Mynarski and Pilot Officer Pat Brophy, had formed a particularly strong bond, isolated as they were from the rest of the crew in their positions towards the tail of the aircraft.

Every time they successfully returned from a mission, they ­celebrated by having a slice of their favourite lemon meringue pie, made by one of the cooks on the base. (more…)

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…)