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

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 December issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Guardsman Edward Charlton, who was awarded the last VC of the European theatre at the end of the Second World War.

Charlton, who was born in Rowlands Gill near Gateshead in County Durham, volunteered for the Irish Guards shortly after the outbreak of the war in September 1939. He was then aged 19. (more…)

Forty years on since the Falklands War, my new book celebrates the bravery of our Armed Forces

First published on ConservativeHome.com on 17 November 2021.

Last night I was able to host what habecome that rarest of events: a live book launch with real guests. My book launches over the past 20 months have, sadly, had to be “virtual” online events because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I welcomed nearly 250 guests to Millbank Tower, central London, to mark the publication of my latest bravery book: Falklands War Heroes. Politicians, members (and former members) of our Armed Forces, business leaders, lawyers, charity bosses and journalists mixed happily with my friends and family.

Read more …

Times Radio interviews Lord Ashcroft

Released on 16 November 2021.

Matt Chorley of the Times Radio interviews Lord Ashcroft about his book, Falklands War Heroes, on the day of its official launch.

Listen to full interview … 

Hero Para who led charge on an Argentine machine gun post – and won last VC of 20th Century: Sergeant Ian McKay’s disregard for his own life was awe-inspiring

Serialisation published in The Mail on Sunday on 14 November 2021.

During the long sea crossing from England to the Falklands, Sergeant Ian McKay wrote to a friend in the spring of 1982: ‘I have no intention of taking any risks and getting killed. If I do, then it will be to protect my men, to save lives.’

His words were tragically prescient. He would go on to be awarded the last Victoria Cross earned in the 20th Century for the extreme valour and selflessness that cost him his life.

The 29-year-old’s call to arms had been sudden and unexpected as events in the South Atlantic escalated.

Finishing a game of football with a group of friends, he had received an urgent message to return to his barracks at Aldershot in Hampshire.

‘He came in and went out,’ his wife Marica later recalled. ‘I put his dinner in a Tupperware container and he went straight away. He just said, “I’ve got to go.”

‘I never saw him again.’

Read more … 

Was this the bravest VC of them all?

First published in The Sunday Telegraph on 14 November 2021.

In a quiet corner of Twickenham Cemetery, south-west London, beneath the outstretched branches of a gnarled cherry tree, there is a black marble tombstone. “Cherished memories of a dearly loved husband, father and grandfather,” reads the inscription.

However, it is two letters after the name of the individual that makes this grave so different from the others: “V.C.”, standing for Victoria Cross, Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious decoration for gallantry in the presence of the enemy.

This is the grave of Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC; as someone with a lifelong interest in bravery, I am the privileged custodian of the Jackson medal group. It is part of my VC collection – more than 200 strong and the largest in the world – that is on public display in the Imperial War Museum, London.

Read more …

Saluting the bravest of the brave – the only combat soldier ever to be awarded two Victoria Crosses

First published in the New Zealand Herald on 14 November 2021.

Few military graveyards are set in a location as stunning as Suda Bay War Cemetery.

Situated below olive groves buzzing with cicadas and only a stone’s throw from the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it commemorates more than 1500 fallen Commonwealth servicemen from World War II.

Walking through row upon row of white headstones on perfectly manicured lawns in northwest Crete, it is impossible not to feel deeply moved by quite how many young lives were lost 80 years ago during the battle for this picturesque Greek island.

Read more … 

Lord Ashcroft unveils his new bravery website on Armistice Day

A new website featuring Lord Ashcroft’s lifelong passion for bravery has gone “live” today – Armistice Day.

The site is packed with information on Lord Ashcroft’s media and publishing work over the past 15 years relating to gallantry.

The new site – www.lordashcroftonbravery.com – includes the following information: (more…)

The Falklands War padre tended men’s wounds, weapons and their souls

First published in the Daily Express on 11 November 2021.

HIS LIFE today, a retirement spent walking his wolfhound Arran over the hills of Exmoor, could hardly be more different from his role in the Falklands War. Yet 40 years ago next spring, David Cooper was under mortar, artillery and machine-gun fire in his role as padre of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, while tending wounded and dying soldiers.

Indeed, he showed such outstanding bravery under fire and proved such an inspiration to his “flock”, some of the toughest soldiers in the world, he was eventually recommended for the Military Cross. To the annoyance of comrades who had witnessed his courage, this was later downgraded to a Mention in Dispatches. (more…)

The tiny band of Marines who fought invading Argentines with such courage an enemy general wanted to shake all their hands

Serialisation in The Mail on Sunday, first published on 07 November 2021.

Moving book by LORD ASHCROFT to mark 40 years since the Falklands War honours all those who served so valiantly.

A 22-year-old Royal Marines officer on the remote southern Atlantic island of South Georgia received an uncompromising radio message from his superiors. ‘When asked to surrender, you are not to do so.’

Half an hour later, a second, apparently contradictory, order followed. ‘The OCRM [Officer Commanding Royal Marines] is not, repeat not, to take any action that would endanger life.’ (more…)

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

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 November issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Captain Harold Ackroyd VC, MC, MD, who was decorated for bravery during the First World War.

Ackroyd, who was born in Southport, Lancashire, was an unlikely hero in that he was bespectacled, had a stooped walk and served beyond the age of 40.

Yet, during his service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, he was twice put forward for the VC, with the first recommendation being downgraded to the Military Cross (MC) in 1916. (more…)

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