Medals

The last Victoria Cross hero before VE Day who was so brave even the enemy marvelled

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday on 03 May 2020.

LORD ASHCROFT salutes a soldier who launched a one-man charge firing a machine-gun from his hip to save comrades in a Nazi ambush.

By late April 1945, the German army was in retreat and, after nearly six long years of war, the Allies were finally poised to defeat Adolf Hitler. For many British servicemen, particularly those who had served for all or most of the Second World War, thoughts inevitably turned to surviving the last battles and returning safely to their loved ones.

Yet for one man, Guardsman Edward Charlton of the Irish Guards, his finest hour was yet to come. For just days before Hitler’s suicide and, later, Germany’s surrender, he would display such outstanding bravery that he would be awarded the final Victoria Cross (VC) of the war in Europe. (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 Brevet Major John Knox VC, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for great bravery during the Crimean War.

Knox, who was born in Calton, Glasgow, enlisted into the Scots Fusilier Guards in Glasgow in May 1843, aged 14, having run away from home. By the time he arrived in the Crimea in September 1954, he was serving in the rank of colour sergeant. (more…)

Blue Grit

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in The Sun on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

NHS workers’ priority today is to save lives — for the nation it is giving frontline staff the protection, equipment and support they need to do their jobs.

Once the crisis is under control, the Queen and Government must reflect on making a significant gesture of thanks towards the NHS.Within days of winning his fight for life, Boris Johnson described our health service as “the country’s greatest national asset”, its “beating heart” and “powered by love”.My response was to write an open letter to the Prime Minister suggesting how the nation might show its huge gratitude when the time is right.

My belief is that, for only the third time in 80 years, our monarch should bestow a collective George Cross on the NHS. (more…)

An Open Letter to Boris Johnson

By Lord Ashcroft

Dear Boris,

I just wanted to send you my very best wishes as you recover from coronavirus. After watching your video address to the nation on Easter Sunday, I tweeted a link to it with just a single word: “Fantastic.”

I am so relieved that you are out of hospital and out of danger, and I thought your generous words of praise for the NHS echoed the gratitude of the country towards the astonishing dedication of frontline staff. You were spot-on to describe the NHS as the “country’s greatest national asset”, “the beating heart of this country” and “powered by love”.

In fact, it is the subject of the NHS that I would like to address in my letter. As you know only too well from our discussions over the years, I have a passion for bravery, in general, and gallantry awards, in particular. (more…)

Recognise the courage of those at forefront of battle against coronavirus

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Mirror on 03 April 2020.

During the “Blitz”, the bombing campaign by Germany targeting mainland Britain during 1940-1, our monarch realised that we did not have a way of sufficiently rewarding the courage of our civilian bomb disposal teams.

This was because the Victoria Cross (VC) could only be awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

George VI and his advisors were quick to respond, creating the George Cross (GC) in September 1940 for “most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger”. The GC, which became affectionately known as “the civilian VC”, will celebrate its 80th anniversary later this year. (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 Peter Norton, who was decorated with the George Cross (GC) for outstanding bravery in Iraq. (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 Rear-Admiral Sir Anthony Cecil Capel Miers, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery as a submariner during the Second World War.

Miers was born in Birchwood, Inverness, in November 1906 and he was proud of his Scottish and military roots. He joined the Royal Navy as a special entry cadet in 1925 and soon received a series of promotions. He was a fine officer but his career suffered setbacks too because he was so controversial, short-tempered and outspoken. (more…)

Trump didn’t invent fake news – we used it to beat Hitler!

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 01 March 2020.

Man-eating sharks on the prowl in the Channel… German sailors incinerated when we set the sea on fire… Propaganda radio station that wooed the Nazis with porn…

It was Sir Winston Churchill who said: ‘In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’ For the last four years of the Second World War, the role of bodyguard was played – in part at least – by a highly secretive government department called the Political Warfare Executive.

While it was left to our Armed Forces to defeat Hitler on land, at sea and in the air, the least known of the UK’s nine wartime secret intelligence organisations conducted an unrelenting psychological campaign against the Nazis. (more…)

See the February 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 February issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery in the skies during the Second World War.

Born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Malcolm was commissioned into the RAF in December 1937. In May 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war, he was so badly injured in a crash during a practice flight that he was told he would never fly again. (more…)

See the January 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 January issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Staff Sergeant William Cosgrove, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for quite outstanding gallantry – not to mention incredible strength – during the Gallipoli landings of the Great War. (more…)