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 four pages on the life and career of Staff Sergeant William Cosgrove, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for quite outstanding gallantry – not to mention incredible strength – during the Gallipoli landings of the Great War.
Born in Ballinookera, near the fishing village of Aghada, Co Cork, Ireland, Cosgrove enlisted into the Royal Munster Fusiliers. He was awarded his VC for bravery on a beach near Cape Helles on April 26 1915 – the second day of the Gallipoli landings.
Cosgrove, then aged 26, standing 6 ft 6 ins tall and weighing 16 stone, who was affectionately as the “East Cork Giant”, led his section in an assault on the Turkish positions. When the attacking soldiers were stopped by six-feet high posts and thick barbed wire, Cosgrove used his formidable frame and great strength to help his men break through. Using only his bare hands – under a galling fire – he tore down the fence-posts.
His VC was announced on August 23 1915. Cosgrove, however, had been badly wounded during his VC action and never fully recovered from the shrapnel injuries to his back. Unmarried, he died in a military hospital in London on July 14 1936, aged 47.
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 January issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.