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 2017 issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Private David Ross Lauder, who was awarded the VC for outstanding courage during the Great War.
Lauder, who was born in East Glentore, near Airdrie, Scotland, joined the 4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) after leaving school. He was mobilised in August 1914, aged 20, and later dispatched for Gallipoli.
He was awarded his VC for bravery south-west of Krithia, Gallipoli, in August 1915, during which the Turks were driven out of an area known as The Vineyard. To prevent another Turkish advance, Lauder and his colleagues continued to throw bombs towards the enemy from their position.
To amuse themselves, the men were keeping a record of just how many bombs they had each thrown over the lip of the sap. Lauder’s own tally was 200-plus when disaster struck.
Lauder threw a bomb that failed to clear the parapet and fell amongst the bombing party. There was no time to smother the bomb, and so he immediately put his foot on it, thereby localising the explosion. His foot was blown off, but the remainder of the party, through this act of sacrifice, escaped unhurt.
His VC was announced on January 13 1917. After the Great War, Lauder worked for the General Post Office. He died at his home in Cranhill, Glasgow, on June 4 1972, aged 78.
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 sixth bravery book, Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II, was published on November 8.
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 2017 issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.