Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has two major articles on gallantry in the new issue of Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.
The January issue has eleven pages on the “Dynasty Warriors” – three men from two generations of the same family who were all awarded the Victoria Cross (VC).
The Gough family’s achievements entitles them to be regarded as Britain and Ireland’s bravest-ever family. It prompts the question whether courage is hereditary.
The January issue of the magazine also has Lord Ashcroft’s latest “hero of the month” article: four pages on the life and career of Boy 1st Class John Travers Cornwell VC.
Cornwell, who was always known by family and friends as “Jack”, was born in Leyton, Essex (now Greater London) on January 8 1900. Aged just 16, he became one of the youngest recipients of the VC.
He was decorated posthumously for his gallantry during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 while serving in the Royal Navy in HMS Chester, a light cruiser. On May 31, the ship came under intense fire from four enemy cruisers.
Some 78 men, a fifth of Chester’s complement, soon became casualties. All of Cornwell’s gun crew were killed or fatally injured but he remained at his post for more than 15 minutes despite serious injuries.
Cornwell’s wounds were treated by medics but he died in hospital on June 2 1916, before his mother, Lily, could be at his bedside. His VC was announced on September 15 1916, after considerable public pressure for such a decoration to be awarded posthumously.
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.