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 Major Charles George Gibson “Pat” Riley DCM, one of the earliest and most courageous members of the SAS.
Riley was born in Wisconsin, USA, to an Irish-American family. However, when he was just seven, the family moved to Cumbria. After working first in a quarry, he joined the Coldstream Guards in January 1934, aged 18.
Early in the Second World War, he was recruited to be a part of Layforce, Colonel Robert Laycock’s elite Commando unit, and was a member of the so-called “Tobruk Four” operating in north Africa.
Riley was awarded his Distinguished Combat Medal (DCM) in November 1942, for great bravery during the Bouerat Raid, a daring hit-and-run attack on a German-held harbour.
Riley survived the war and eventually died in Hastings, East Sussex, on February 9 1999, aged 83.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past nine 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 January issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.