The teenage Private once awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery

Published in The Mail On Sunday on 25 September 2022.

LORD ASHCROFT shares the full story of the short yet remarkable life of a baby-faced soldier who died saving his company’s ‘father-figure’ commander in the Great War

  • Park in Tottington, Bury will be renamed in honour of Private George Peachment
  • Pte Peachment was the youngest servicemen to be awarded Victoria Cross at 18
  • A giant mural depicting him and his mother, Mary, and VC will also be unveiled
  • The baby-faced soldier died more than a century ago during First World War

At 2pm today, Padre Hugh Bearn will preside over a service to commemorate a courageous baby-faced soldier who died more than a century ago. The event in Bury, Lancashire, will also bring to a close his long campaign to right a wrong. (more…)

In the hunt for the killer of 9-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool, charity Crimestoppers now offers a record £200,000 reward, thanks to new donation

Press Release at 1430hrs on 21 September 2022.

The huge increase is made possible by Crimestoppers founder Lord Ashcroft, matching the sum offered by a new private donor as a renewed appeal is launched for anonymous information.  

The charity Crimestoppers, which provides a vital service enabling people who might otherwise stay silent to speak up anonymously, is today offering a new reward of up to £200,000 for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

Olivia, who was just 9 years old, was shot dead by a gunman who had forced his way into a property in Dovecot, Liverpool on Monday, 22 August 2022. Her mother, 46-year-old Cheryl, sustained injuries during the shooting whilst trying to protect her young daughter from harm.

Last week, the founder of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft, offered £50,000 which he has now doubled to match a £100,000 donation from a new, public-spirited private donor to make a total of £200,000. (more…)

Reward of £50,000 offered by Lord Ashcroft, founder of charity Crimestoppers, in hunt for killer of 9-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel

The charity Crimestoppers makes urgent direct appeal to those with information to contact Crimestoppers anonymously

As the desperate search for the killer of schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel continues, the Founder and Chair of the charity Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft, is supporting the investigation by personally offering £50,000 for information that leads to those responsible being jailed. (more…)

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

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…)

Lord Ashcroft to write biography of Liz Truss

Lord Ashcroft is to write a biography of Liz Truss. The former Conservative peer, who has also served as Conservative Party treasurer, made the announcement within minutes of Ms Truss being announced as the new Tory leader and new Prime Minister today.

He said: “I have watched the Conservative Party leadership campaign with great interest over the past eight weeks. Now that the results are in, I am pleased to announce formally that I will be writing a biography of the new party leader and Britain’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.”

He added: “I know that Harry Cole, the political editor of The Sun, and James Heale, the diary editor of The Spectator, are currently working together on a book about Ms Truss. According to my contacts in the publishing industry, their effort – which is apparently being produced with the co-operation of Ms Truss and her wider family – will be published this autumn. My project will be different. As with all of my previous political biographies, my book on Ms Truss will be accurate, objective, open-minded, fair, factual and even-handed. It will also be independent.” (more…)

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

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…)

The daring British Major butchered by the Nazis – and why a tiny French village will never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made for their freedom

Published in The Mail On Sunday on 24 July 2022.

Major Colin Ogden-Smith volunteered for a group known as the Jedburghs

Small Breton community in France still holds a special service every other year 

The service will commemorate the gallantry of the British Special Forces office

At 11am next Saturday, in the heart of the French countryside, up to 100 people will attend a moving ceremony.

The event is to remember the lives of three men who died as a result of a daring wartime mission behind enemy lines nearly 80 years ago. (more…)

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

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…)

As an SAS captain is honoured 40 years after his death in a fierce firefight behind enemy lines

Published in The Mail On Sunday on 05 June 2022.

LORD ASHCROFT recalls the day the Queen paid a teary-eyed tribute to the Falklands hero, whose enemy called him ‘the bravest man I’ve ever seen’.

To mark this month’s 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War – when Argentina surrendered – military historian Lord Ashcroft has written about the last hours and legacies of two heroic British service personnel.

Yesterday’s Daily Mail published his interview with the daughter of Sergeant Ian McKay, who was shot dead just two days before the conflict ended. Here, he tells the story of another supremely brave commanding officer.

On Friday, more than 150 family, friends and former comrades will gather in a quiet corner of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to pay their respects to an extraordinary man.

Those visiting the Allied Special Forces Memorial Grove will formally unveil a new tribute to Captain John Hamilton MC, who was killed while operating behind enemy lines during the Falklands War of 1982.

Read more …

I wish Daddy hadn’t been so very brave

Published in The Daily Mail on 04 June 2022.

Falklands War hero Ian McKay was awarded one of the conflict’s two posthumous VCs for his courage. But 40 years on, in her first interview, the four-year-old daughter he left behind shares her pride, grief and regret.

Five-year-old Melanie McKay refused to wear the new maroon dress bought specially for her father’s investiture in November 1982.

Read more … 

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