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 July issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Warrant Officer Class 1 Barry Johnson GC, who was decorated for courageous bomb disposal work in Northern Ireland that nearly cost him his life.
Johnson, who was born in north London, underwent a three-year apprenticeship as an ammunition technician before joining the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
During his second tour of Northern Ireland in 1989, he was called to deal with a van abandoned in a housing estate in Londonderry. It soon became apparent that inside the van were six barrels loaded with mortars.
After manually defusing five of the mortars, he was dealing with the sixth when it detonated causing him terrible injuries. His worst injuries were to his eyes but he also had two broken legs and 41 stitches in his face.
Johnson, then 38, survived his injuries and was awarded the George Cross, receiving his decoration from the Queen in an investiture at Buckingham Palace in December 1990.
Today Johnson is 70 years old and lives in Devon. He has two children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
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 July issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.