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 December issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Guardsman Edward Charlton, who was awarded the last VC of the European theatre at the end of the Second World War.
Charlton, who was born in Rowlands Gill near Gateshead in County Durham, volunteered for the Irish Guards shortly after the outbreak of the war in September 1939. He was then aged 19.
Initially, he was frustrated by the lack of frontline action. His VC was awarded for outstanding bravery on April 21 1945, when aged 24 and the co-driver of a Sherman tank.
After being ambushed by the enemy and nearly surrounded, Charlton decided that attack was the best form of defence, advancing towards a large enemy force firing a Browning machine-gun from his hip. Time and again, although severely wounded, he tried to reload and fire on German soldiers. Eventually he was hit three times, he later died from his wounds. After the war, enemy soldiers told of his bravery and Charlton was awarded the VC.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past eight years have been largely based on excerpts from his seven books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes, Heroes of the Skies, Special Ops Heroes, Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II and Falklands War Heroes.
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 December issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.