Updated and revised 2007
Victoria Cross Heroes was published in November 2006 (updated paperback edition released May 2007). It was written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the VC: Britain’s highest award for outstanding bravery in the prescence of the enemy.
The book tells the story of Lord Ashcroft’s lifelong interest in the medal and the virtues it symbolises. It charts how he built the world’s largest collection of the medals and his hopes for the Collection which is now owned by aTrust charged with caring and protecting this important part of our national heritage.
Early chapters describe how the medal was created by a royal warrant from Queen Victoria in January 1865 towards the end of the Crimean War. It stresses the importance that was placed upon the medal being awarded solely on merit and open to all ranks. A particular richness of the book lies in the stories behind each of the VCs in the Collection: the extraordinary feats of bravery and daring which resulted in the award of every medal.
The book also tells some of the stories of how other famous VCs were awarded which are not in the Collection. These include accounts of the astonishing courage shown by Second Lieutenant (later Captain) Charles Upham and Captain Noel Chavasse, two of the three receipients to have received both the VC and a ‘bar’; the equivalent of a second VC.
The Foreword to the book has been written by HRH, The Prince of Wales. The heir to the throne remains as proud of the VC as his great great great grandmother 150 years ago when she inaugurated the medal supported by her consort, Prince Albert and her senior ministers. Indeed, Prince Charles is so passionate about the merits of the VC that he presented the Channel Five television series which coincided with the publication of the book.
Victoria Cross Heroes is published by Headline. It has 335 pages and is lavishly illustrated. A DVD of the TV series of the same name is also available. During 2007 a copy of the DVD was sent to secondary schools in the UK with a classroom resources pack.