Britain at War

See the December issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new gallantry article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 Major Colin Ogden-Smith, who lost his life while working with the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Ogden-Smith, the middle of three brothers who all served in the Armed Forces, was brought up in a prosperous area of East Croydon on the outskirts of London. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery before the outbreak of the war.

After some Special Forces operations, he volunteered for a clandestine group known as the Jedburghs, who were trained to parachute into Occupied France in the aftermath of the D-Day landings of June 6 1944.

In early July 1944, and then aged 33, Ogden-Smith parachuted into Brittany as part of a three-man team and they worked with the Maquis, or French Resistance, for the next three weeks.

However, on July 29 the Germans, tipped off by a collaborator, came to the farm where they were hiding and in a shoot-out Ogden-Smith was killed, along with a French Resistance fighter and the local farmer who was sheltering them.

Ogden-Smith was recommended for a gallantry award but in the end received only a Mention in Dispatches. However, he and the two Frenchmen are still remembered in a moving ceremony in Brittany that is held every other year, even eight decades on.

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.

See the November issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 November issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Staff Sergeant Peter Herlick Rene Naya MM, who showed outstanding bravery during the Falklands War of 1982. (more…)

See the October issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new gallantry article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 October issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Fight Lieutenant Michal Maciejowski DFC, DFM, one of many Polish servicemen who fought with the Allies to try to regain their homeland during the Second World War.

Maciejowski was one of the scores of brave Poles who served in the RAF, having been forced to flee their homeland in late 1939, after his country was invaded by Germany. (more…)

See the September issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 September issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Captain Charles Upham VC and Bar, the only combat soldier ever to be awarded two Victoria Crosses.
Upham, who was born and raised in New Zealand, showed incredible and relentless bravery for much of the Second World War having enlisted into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

He was awarded his first VC for outstanding bravery in the defence of Crete in 1941, initially leading a counter-attack on an airfield that Germany had captured and later completing a series of courageous actions. (more…)

See the August issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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. (more…)

See the July issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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. (more…)

See the June issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 June issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Major Frederick Henry Bradley VC, VD, who was decorated for his bravery during a battle that has been likened to the defence of Rorke’s Drift.

Bradley, who was born in London, enlisted with the 2nd Depot Division of the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) in March 1894. Serving as a driver with the 69th Battery, RFA, during the Second Boer War, he showed such outstanding gallantry that he was awarded the VC. (more…)

See the May issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 May issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Colour Sergeant Alwyn Stevens CGC, who showed outstanding bravery while serving in Afghanistan.

Stevens, who was born and raised in the remote British Overseas Territory of St Helena, enlisted in the Army on October 18, 1999. Following basic training, he joined the Royal Irish Regiment and in 2006 he qualified as a sniper. (more…)

See the April issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 April issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Major Sir Ambrose Joseph McGonigal KBE, MC & Bar, who displayed outstanding bravery while serving with the Special Forces during the Second World War. (more…)

See the March issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

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 March issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Warrant Officer Justin Bell QGM. It is a special tribute to a man that Lord Ashcroft knew and admired.

Lord Ashcroft first met Bell 12 years ago, before writing his third bravery book, George Cross Heroes and while attending a bomb disposal course. Because so many GCs have been awarded to bomb disposal experts, Lord Ashcroft wanted to obtain an insight into the difficult and hazardous job that they faced. (more…)