Medals

The name’s Winter, Tom Winter: Meet the real-life war hero who inspired James Bond

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Express on 28 September 2021.

AS THE new 007 film, No Time To Die, is finally premiered, military historian Lord Ashcroft tells the story of the real-life war hero who inspired James Bond.

Even though there is no evidence Tom Winter liked his martini cocktails “shaken, not stirred”, the dashing Special Forces hero was a key real-life inspiration for Ian Fleming’s famous fictitious character. Winter was tall, dark, handsome and courageous – and he took part in some of the Allies’ most daring hit-and-run raids on enemy targets during the Second World War. Like James Bond, he had the knack of always emerging alive from the most dangerous of situations. (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 Richard Phillip Carr MBE, MC, who served in the Royal Artillery and as a Commando during the Second World War.

Carr, the son of a businessman, was only 20 years old and serving as a second lieutenant, when he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in August 1940 for gallantry during the retreat from Dunkirk. (more…)

Terribly burned in the Falklands War, Simon Weston is 60 today.

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in The Mail on Sunday on 08 August 2021.

Here, in an interview that shows what a real hero is, he says: ‘I’m the luckiest guy alive…’

‘I thought we’d been hit by napalm because of the horrors we witnessed’, says Falklands War hero Simon Weston on his 60th birthday as he calls himself the ‘luckiest guy alive’

  • Simon Weston CBE, 60, was horrifically burned when serving in Falklands War
  • He was the most injured serviceman to survive when his ship was hit by bombs
  • In total, 48 men died aboard his vessel, Sir Galahad, many of them burnt alive
  • Over the next four years he underwent over 90 operations, mainly skin grafts
  • But Simon says he is the ‘luckiest guy alive’ and is ‘hugely fortunate’ to be here

A carefree boy from the Welsh valleys, he lived for his next game of rugby and a few pints in the pub with his mates. By his own admission, at the age of 20 he had a selfish streak.

For the next four decades he was a very different person, first fighting to survive, then struggling to rebuild his life after being horrifically burned serving in the Falklands War. (more…)

Let’s rejoice at the news that the NHS has been awarded the George Cross

By Lord Ashcroft

First published on ConHome on 05 July  2021.

I am thrilled and heartened by today’s announcement that the NHS has been awarded the George Cross (GC).

It is only the third time in the decoration’s 81-year-history that a collective GC has been awarded by the reigning monarch – and its recipient on this occasion could hardly be more deserving.

Yet again, the Queen has judged the mood of the nation perfectly and decided that this is the appropriate way to reward the devotion to duty, self-sacrifice and courage of our NHS staff.

The awards marks the 73rd birthday of the NHS, but it has clearly been prompted by the response of NHS staff to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In her hand-written personal message to accompany the news, the Queen concluded: “This award recognises all NHS staff, past and present, across all disciplines and all four nations. Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service. You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation. Elizabeth R” (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 Corporal William Edward Sparks, DSM. Sparks, known to his friends as Bill, was born in London’s East End and was a Cockney with an infectious laugh.

In 1942, he was chosen as one of just twelve men for a daring mission behind enemy lines. The plan was to use six Cockle Mark II canoes to paddle up the Gironde and Garonne rivers at night to attack German shipping by placing bombs on their hulls. (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 Wing Commander Forest Yeo-Thomas, GC, MC & Bar.

Yeo-Thomas, widely known simply as “Tommy’, was born in London but his parents moved to France when he and his two brothers were young so the three boys became bilingual. (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 Colonel John Duncan Grant, VC, CB, DSO, who was awarded the only VC for the Tibet campaign.

Grant, who was born in Rurki, India, and who was usually known as “Jack”, was from a military family. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant (unattached) in January 1898, aged 20. (more…)

Fighting fit at 103, the Capt Tom of Buenos Aires who left his homeland behind to fly Spitfires for Britain

By Lord Ashcroft

Published in the Mail on Sunday on 07 March 2021.

As he cycles along a quiet backstreet on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, there is an occasional wobble. And as he kicks a football at the local sports club, it is clear that his best days as a player are long behind him. Yet there is nothing to suggest that Ronny Scott celebrated his 100th birthday more than three years ago – or to hint at the incredible life he once led fighting for Britain, despite his Argentine nationality. (more…)

Cold Courage

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in Air Mail magazine in January 2021.

In January 1941, Flight Lieutenant Wilson Charlton was awarded the George Cross for disposing of more than 200 unexploded bombs – at a rate of more than three every day. But he was too busy to attend his investiture for another five years. On the 80th anniversary of his award, Lord Ashcroft tells Charlton’s story — and how his own fascination with bravery germinated and grew.

In the long and illustrious history of the George Cross (GC), few men have done more to earn the prestigious award than Wilson “Bombs” Charlton. Not only did he deal with an estimated 200 unexploded bombs in just two months but, after his GC was announced, he also showed great courage as a prisoner of war. (more…)

See the December 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 December issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan, who was awarded the George Cross (GC) for bravery during the Second World War.

Khan, known to so many simply by her codename “Madeleine”, was the first woman secret agent to be infiltrated into Nazi-occupied France. Born in Moscow and from a truly international family, she was recruited to join the secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE). (more…)