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 August issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Flight Lieutenant Andrew Beauchamp Proctor VC, DSO, MC & Bar, DFC, who was awarded the VC for bravery during the First World War.
Headmaster’s son Andrew Frederick Weatherby Proctor – his full name at birth but later amended – was born in the small port of Mossel Bay, Cape Colony, South Africa, on September 4 1894.
Keen “to do his bit” as the First World War dragged on, he responded to a British recruiting campaign and volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). He sailed to England for pilot training, eventually joining 84 Squadron, RFC.
After a relatively anonymous flying record in 1917, he was awarded a series of gallantry decorations in 1918. Despite being just 5 ft 2 ins tall, he was a determined, courageous and skilled pilot.
Between August 8 and October 8, Beauchamp Proctor was victorious in an astonishing 26 combats, this eventually resulting in the announcement of his VC on November 30 1918. Altogether he amassed 54 victories and survived the Great War.
On June 21 1921, while rehearsing at RAF Upavon for the display the next day, and at the top of a loop, Beauchamp Proctor’s aircraft fell away and crashed into a Wiltshire meadow. He was killed aged 26.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past seven 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 August issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.