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.
Initially, Annand, then a second lieutenant, was wounded during his attack with hand grenades that resulted in some 20 enemy casualties. Later he inflicted more casualties, again with hand grenades, before he rescued his wounded batman, using a wheelbarrow to save his comrade’s life. Annand then lost consciousness and needed hospital treatment for his injuries, which included a severe loss of hearing.
Annand’s VC was announced on August 23 1940. He survived the war and, afterwards, devoted himself to the welfare of the disabled. Annand died, aged 90, on Christmas Eve 2004, having celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary more than four years earlier.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past six years have been largely based on excerpts from his six books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes, Heroes of the Skies, Special Ops Heroes and Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II.
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 March issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.