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 January issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Vice Admiral Richard Bell Davies, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for courage during the Great War.
Davies, who was born in Kensington, west London, was brought up by his uncle and aunt after both his parents died before his fifth birthday. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1901 as a cadet and in 1913 joined the Royal Navy’s youthful air service.
During the Great War, he was chosen to take part in bombing raids on newly-chosen Bulgarian targets. He received his VC for a daring rescue in enemy-held territory of a fellow airman whose aircraft had been shot down on November 19 1915.
Davies, then a 29-year-old squadron commander, briefly landed close to Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie’s burning aircraft and lifted him to safety just as enemy troops came within rifle range. His VC was announced on January 1 1916.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past four years have been largely based on excerpts from four of his 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 in November 2014.
For the foreseeable future, Lord Ashcroft’s “hero of the month” articles will concentrate on men who were awarded the VC during the First World War. Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who has lectured extensively on courage and his various medal collections.
Lord Ashcroft’s latest article appears in the January issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.