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 Staff Sergeant Olaf “Oz” Schmid GC, who showed outstanding bravery as a bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan in 2009 – a tour of duty that eventually cost him his life.
Schmid, who was born in Truro, Cornwall, left school at 16 and first worked as a chef in the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC). However, he took an interest in bomb disposal work and was posted to 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment, RLC.
He was deployed to Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the Falklands, working his way up from an ammunition technician. His tour of Afghanistan in 2009 was incredibly arduous and the bravery he showed, day in and day out, defied belief. During five months, he dealt with some 70 confirmed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
He was eventually killed on October 31, 2009, dealing with his fourth IED of the day in Helmand Province. He had sacrificed his life, aged 30, to save others.
Wonderful tributes were paid to Schmid’s bravery from senior officers who knew him well and the award of his posthumous George Cross (GC) was made public on March 18 2010. The official citation for his GC, published the next day, praised “his selfless gallantry, his devotion to duty, and his indefatigable courage”.
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 August issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.