The First VCs -The stories behind the first Victoria Crosses of the Crimean War and the Definition of Courage by John Grehan. A long-overdue book about the awarding of the first Victoria Crosses of the Crimean War. Recommended. 287 pages with illustrations. Pub. Frontline Books, Price: £25.
Victoria's Cross: The Untold Story of
Britain's Highest Award for Bravery.
Issy Smith VC, A Soldier of the Jullundur Brigade. By Robert Bonner. A fascinating account of Issy Smith's colourful life and his gallantry at Ypres in 1915. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org £9.50
Reginald Roy Rattey VC - Our Humble Hero by Carmel Barbary (Rattey's daughter). For details, go to:- www.blurb.com/bookshop/detail/1655508
Valiant Hearts - The Story of the Uppingham School VCs by Mike
This Gallant Steelback - William Ewart Boulter VC by Derek Seaton
Donald Dean VC -The Memoirs of a Volunteer & Territorial from Two
Zulu Rising - The Epic Story of Isandlewana and Rorke's Drift by Ian Knight. The latest and arguably the best book from the foremost writer of the Anglo-Zulu War. It is based on decades of research and incorporating previously unpublished material. With its 700 odd pages, it is a door-stop of a book but one well-worth reading. Maps and images. Pub.Macmillan. £20. ISBN 9781405091855
Liverpool Heroes Book 3. Edited by Ann Clayton. The third of an
excellent series of VCs associated with the city of Liverpool. Well
researched and terrific value. Published by Noel Chavasse VC Memorial
Association, Soft cover. 112 pages, b&w images. £7.00 plus p&p. Available
from Donald Allerston, 12 Wexford Avenue, Hale Village, Merseyside L24
The Complete Victoria Cross by Kevin Brazier. This is a very useful addition to the ever-expanding library of VC literature. It is a full chronological record of all holders of the Cross complete with brief citations. burial locations and present locations of the VC. There is also an alphabetical list of the recipients. An excellent reference book. Published by Pen and Sword, 2010. Hard cover, 406 pages, b&w photos. £25. ISBN 184884150-7
Gamp VC by Brian Izzard. This is the biography of one of the most controversial VCs of WW2- maverick submarine commander, Anthony Miers. He was a in turns violent, loyal, rude and gentle and courted controversy. The writer does not pull his punches but is scrupulously fair. For the reader this makes for an absorbing account and one that is thoroughly recommended. Published by Haynes Publishing. Hardback, 272 pages, b&w photos, index. £19.99. ISBN 978 1 84425 725 6
William Coltman VC, DCM & Bar, MM & Bar - The Story of Two Crosses by Anthony G.Tideswell. The subject of this book was the most decorated NCO of WW1 and yet he never carried a weapon. Coltman was a strict Christian and acted as stretcher bearer for his battalion, 1/6th North Staffords. His supreme gallantry and intense religious belief is well told in this privately published book. I bought my copy at the National Arboratum but if you wish to obtain a copy please contact Sovereign Bookcare, Stoke-on-Trent. £5.50.
Payne VC by Mike Coleman. This is the story of Australia's most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War, Keith Payne. Not only is he exceptionally brave, he is also a particularly warm and approachable man. This book does him justice and is a very honest account of a professional soldier, his wife and family. One of the best VC biographies ever written. Get it! Soft cover. 244 pages, b&w photos. Index. Pub. Australian Broadcasting Corp.,GPO 9994, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia.
Triquet's Cross - A Study in Military Heroism by John MacFarlane. This tells the story of the French-Canadian officer, Paul Triquet, who was awarded the VC for gallantry during the Italian campaign of 1943. Much of the book is taken up with the enormous political pressure to which Triquet was subjected by anglo and francophones after his return to Canada. A fascinating and salutary account. Hard cover. 250 pages, b&w photos. Index. $34.95. Pub. McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, Canada.
Ladysmith's 20 VCs by Charles Aikenhead. A beautifully produced book with many interesting photographs about the VC awarded for the Defence and Relief of Ladysmith 1899-1900. Thoroughly recommended. Soft cover A4.81 pages. Available direct from author for £12.50. Contact email@example.com
Liverpool Heroes - Book 3 Edited by Ann Clayton. This is another in the excellent series of modestly priced books about VCs associated with Liverpool. Copies of the book are available from Don Allerton, 12 Wexford Avenue, Hale Village, Merseyside L24 5RY. Price £7.00 inc.p&p.
Undefeated - The Extraordinary Life and Death of Lt.Col.Jack Sherwood Kelly VC, CMG, DSO by Philip Bujak. This is an overdue book about one of most colourful and courageous soldiers of WW1. We ran an article about him in our October 2008 Journal, but the author has managed to fill in most of the details of this remarkable VC. Available from James and Sons, PO Box 58, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 7WZ. ISBN 0-9551902-2-3
Come If Ye Dare - The Civil Defence George Crosses by Terry Hissey. Although beyond our usual scope, this book is well worth reading to learn of the outstanding gallantry displayed by the 11 George Cross recipients during WW2. It is well-written by our regular contributor, Terry Hissey, a member of the Civil Defence Association. It is available direct from Tim Essex-Lopresti, Civil Defence Association, 24, Paxton Close, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3TD or firstname.lastname@example.org £12.50
Willie Apiata VC - The Reluctant Hero by Paul Little. Biography of the latest VC recipient tells of early life in rural New Zealand and his tough induction in to the SAS. Plenty of coloured photographs in a beautifully produced book. Not available in UK. Contact Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand www.penguin.co.nz . ISBN 9780670073207
Bonner VC - The Biography of Gus Bonner VC and Master Mariner by Sue Satterthwaite. One of the most exciting naval chapters of the First World War was the daring and dangerous exploits of the sailors who crewed the "Q-Ships". One of the several VCs awarded these brave men was to Charles George (Gus) Bonner. Just published is his biography, which make fascinating reading. Full of previously unseen photos and beautifully produced, this is a must for Christmas. Pub. SR Print Management Company, Aldridge WS9 8UY. @ £19.99 NB. Any profits from the sale of this book will be donated to The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
A Breed Apart by Richard Leake. This is the story of two school friends, Donald Bell and Archie White, who joined the Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War. Remarkably, they were both awarded the Victoria Cross, sadly one was posthumously. This is an excellent book and available from The Green Howards Museum, Trinity Church Square, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 4QN
Heart of a Dragon - The VCs of Wales and the Welsh Regiments 1914-82
Liverpool VCs by James Murphy. Published to coincide with the unveiling of the stunning memorial to Noel Chavasse, this excellent book tells to stories of 23 VCs associated with Liverpool. Pub.Pen & Sword Books @ £19.99
Awarded for Valour - A History of the Victoria Cross & the Evolution of British Heroism by Melvin Charles Smith. This is one of the most interesting and stimulating books to have been published about gallantry and the VC. Published without any fanfare, this book deserves to be widely read. Pub.Palgrave Macmillan @ £19.99
Operation Kronstadt by Harry Ferguson. This is described as the greatest true tale of espionage to come out of the early years of MI6. The author is a former MI6 officer and has used his access to original material to retell the story that we serialised in our Nos.7-9 Journals of Lt.Augustus Agar VC and the Secret Agent, Paul Dukes. This is an excellent book and thoroughly recommended. Pub.Hutchinson @ £18.99.
A Party Fit For Heroes by Derek Hunt & John Mulholland. A fascinating and well researched account of the Royal Garden Party of 26th June 1920. This unique occasion saw the attendance of no fewer than 323 VC recipients ranging from the Indian Mutiny to the intervention against Bolshevik Russia in 1919. Includes many b&w photos and personal reminiscences of some of the guests. Highly recommended. Pub.Navy & Military Press. ISBN 1 847347 12 6 @ £9.95. Available online from www.naval-military-press.com
The Honour and the Shame by John Kenneally VC. This is a very welcome reprint of one of the most amazing VC biographies to have been written. As the "blurb" stated on the cover of the original publication "A True Life Story that Few Novelists would have Dared to Invent". Pub. Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7553-1611-3
Sniper One by Sgt.Dan Mills. This is one of the very best
first-hand accounts of combat since Andy McNab put pen to paper. Written
by the leader of the sniper platoon of the Princess of Wales Royal
Regiment, it covers the events in Al Amarah and the siege of Cimic House.
Very exciting and highly descriptive. Thoroughly recommended.
Who's Who in The Zulu War - Vols 1 & 2 by Adrian Greaves and Ian
Cawnpore & Lucknow - A Tale of Two Sieges - Indian Mutiny by
D.S.Richards. Well researched and timely new account of the two most
dramatic sieges of the Mutiny. Pub.Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-516-1
Dusty Warriors - Modern Soldiers in War by Richard Holmes. A detailed and dramatic account of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in Iraq, including the background to Private Beharry's VC action. Written by one of Britain's leading military historians, who is further qualified to write this account as he is also the Colonel of the Regiment. Published by Harper Press. ISBN 0 00 721284 4
The Victorian Naval Brigades by Lieutenant Commander Arthur
Bleby. A stirring account of the wars in which the Royal Navy supplied
Brigades to fight alongside their Army comrades. Published by Whittles
Publishing, Dunbeath Mains Cottages, Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland KW6
2 Para's Battle for Darwin Hill and Goose Green by
David J Kenney. A detailed account of this brief but crucial battle by an
American historian, with eye-witness accounts from both sides.
Published by Oak Square Press, Upperville, Virginia
Heroic Option - The Irish in the
British Army by Desmond & Jean Bowen
Victoria Cross - Australia's Finest and the Battles They Fought by
Anthony Staunton. Formally titled "They Dared Mightily", this is a welcome
revised and updated book by one of the foremost authorities on the
Victoria Cross. The book has biographies on all 96 Australian VCs and a
new section on George Cross recipients, with over 100 rarely seen photos
from the Australian War Memorial collection.
The Victoria Cross by Peter Duckers. Welcome addition to the Shire range of titles, which cover such subjects as Irish Megalithic Tombs to Thimbles. For such a small book, this is packed with a huge amount of information, which is lavishly illustrated and terrific value. Published and available from Shire Publications Ltd., Cromwell House, Church Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9AA or from booksellers. Price £5.99. ISBN 0 7478 0635 7
VCs Handbook - The Western Front 1914-1918 Edited by Gerald Gliddon
The VCs of Gloucestershire & North Bristol by
N.J..Thornicroft. Pub.Wedderburn Art Ltd on behalf of N.J.Thornicroft. 50
copies only. A really comprehensive book on 74 local VC heroes. Softback. 197
pages, b&w illustrations. ISBN 1 905037 07 4. £20 plus £2.50 p&p UK.
Copies can be ordered from the author at
Valour & Gallantry: H.E.I.C. & Indian Army Victoria Crosses and George Crosses 1856-1946 by Chris Kempton. Definitive book about the 162 VCs and the 21 GCs won by members of the Indian Army. Published by Military Press. 280 pages inc. b&w illustrations and maps. ISBN 0 85420 281 1
VCs of the Second World War by John Frayn Turner. At last, a book that contains the true story of every single VC recipient during 1939-45. Published by Pen & Sword.309 pages inc b&w illustrations. ISBN 1 84415 067 4
Monuments to Courage by David Harvey. 2 volumes in a slip case. VC Headstones and Memorials. Over 5000 b/w photos. ISBN 1843423561. Highly recommended.
The Victoria Cross 1856-1920 by O'Moore Creagh & E.M.Humphries. Despite the odd error and omission, this is the magnus opus of the VC. ISBN 1843420910.
The Evolution of the Victoria Cross by M.J.Crook. Highly researched study of how the VC was conceived and evolved. ISBN 0 85936 041 5
Victoria Cross Bibliography Edited by John Mulholland & Alan Jordan. Comprehensive bibliography of all VC literature. ISBN 1 902040 21 X
Monuments to Courage - Victoria Cross Headstones and Memorials by David Harvey. This "must-have" work is now available as a single volume and, wherever possible, brought up to date. Soft covers, 814 pages available from Naval & Military Press @ £45. Email email@example.com or phone 01825 749494
Supreme Courage - Heroic Stories from
150 Years of the Victoria Cross
For Valour - The story of Reverend Noel Mellish VC, MC by Ken Drury. A 40-page booklet published to coincide with the dedication of a bronze plaque at Great Dunmow, where Noel Mellish was vicar for 20 years. £3.50 inc.p&p. Cheques made payable to Great Dunmow Historical Society. Obtainable from:- Ken Drury, The old Post House, The Street, High Roding, Essex CM6 1NR
The Faces of World War I - The Great War in Words and Pictures By Max Arthur. This is not strictly a VC book but is one that will be of appeal to all interested in military history. Written by the country's leading oral historian and member of the VC Society, Max Arthur has trawled the archives and private collections to find rarely seen photographs and personal accounts of the War to end All Wars. Published by Cassell.288 pages, b&w photos. £25. ISBN:9781844035618
Nine Valiant Academicals by Alasdair MacIntyre. Nine former pupils of the Edinburgh Academy were awarded the Victoria Cross. Starting with the first, Thomas Cadell in the Indian Mutiny through to submariner, Anthony Miers in WW2. This modestly priced book is well produced and all profit is shared between the Edinburgh Academy Foundation and the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association. Published by Alan Fyfe. Available from The Academical Club, The Edinburgh Academy, 42 Henderson Row, Edinburgh EH3 5BL @ £6.50 plus £1.00 p&p
VCs of the First World War. Series published by Sutton Publishing and comprising the following excellent books.
The Naval VCs by Stephen Snelling ISBN 0 7509 1395 9
The Air VCs by Peter Cooksley ISBN 0 905 778 340
1914 by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 7509 1444 0
The Western Front 1915 by Peter F Batchelor & Christopher Matson ISBN 0905 778 170
Gallipoli by Stephen Snelling ISBN 0 905 778 332
The Somme by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 7509 1599 4
Arras & Messines by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 905 778 618
Passchendaele 1917 by Stephen Snelling ISBN 0 905 778 60X
Spring Offensive 1918 by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 7509 1107 7
The Road to Victory by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 7509 2083 1
The Final Days 1918 by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0 7509 2485 3
Cambrai 1917 by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0-7509-3409-3
Sideshows by Gerald Gliddon ISBN 0-75-9-2084-X
Most Regimental Museums sell publications about their own VCs. Amongst the best are:-
Focus on Courage - The 59 Victoria Crosses of The Royal Green Jackets
The British Grenadiers - 350 years of the First Regiment of Foot Guards 1656-2006 by Henry Hanning. A lavishly illustrated account of the Grenadier Guards written by a former lieutenant colonel of the Regiment. Beautifully produced with accounts of all the regiment's VC recipients. Widely available in all major bookshops. Published by Pen and Sword Military. ISBN 1 84415 385 1
ARTYVICS - The Victoria Cross and The Royal Regiment
Volunteer Infantry of Ashton-under-Lyne 1859-1971 by
Beyond Their Duty - Heroes of the Green Howards by Roger Chapman ISBN 0 9540141 0 3
The Story of the Gurkha VCs ISBN 0 9521487 0 6
What Happened to the Heroes? Pub.The Royal Regiment of Wales (Brecon) Museum. 2005. The lives of the fifteen holders of the VC associated with the battles of Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift. Softback, 50 pages with many colour illustrations. Excellent value at £4.00 plus £0.60 postage. To order, contact the Museum on 01874 613310 or visit www.rrw.org.uk
"Elegant Extracts" - The Royal
Fusiliers Recipients of the Victoria Cross
Gallant and Distinguished Service - The Royal Corps of Transport Medal Collection 1794-1993 by Lieutenant Colonel D.J.Owen. A beautifully produced book with excellent coloured plates. Like the Artillery and Sappers, the Corps have been present at just about all the Army's conflicts from the Peninsula War to the Gulf War. Included are the five VCs awarded to the Corps. Thoroughly recommended. Available from The Royal Corps of Transport Institution, Dettingen House, Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey. 352 pages. £35. ISBN O-9552241-0-1
The following First World War regimental and brigade histories are recommended for their VC content.
16th, 17th, 18th, 19th Battalions: The
Manchester Regiment - A Record 1914-1918. Excellent account of the
First City Brigade in the Great War. Includes accounts of the outstanding
VCs, Lt.Col.Wilfrith Elstob VC, DSO, MC and CSM George Evans.
The 54th Infantry Brigade - Some
Records of Battle & Laughter in France
Swansea Pals - A History of the 14th (Service Battalion, The Welsh Regiment in the Great War. By Bernard Lewis. An excellent account of one of Kitchener's Volunteer Regiments. Many photos covering the whole war. Pub. Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 1 84415 056 9
The definitive book on Air Force VCs is:-
For Valour - The Air VCs by Chaz Bowyer ISBN 0 948817 57 7
A very good read is about the Winners of the VC since the Second World War entitled
The Last Eleven by Mark Adkin ISBN 0 85052 214 5
The Register of the Victoria Cross.
All 1348 VCs are listed alphabetically
together with details of birth, place of deed, town or county connections,
place and date of death and memorials. ISBN 0 906324 03 3. A similar book
is produced about the GEORGE CROSS. ISBN 0 906324 06 8
Crimean War enthusiasts will want to read:-
Hell Riders - The Truth about the
Charge of the Light Brigade by Terry Brighton. Pub.Viking. 364
pages plus b&w illustrations. ISBN 0-670-91528-9
Sharpshooter in the Crimea
by Michael Springman. The Letters of Captain Gerald Goodlake VC. Pub.
Pen & Sword, Aug.2005. 228 pages plus b&w illustrations.
A Bearskin's Crimea - Colonel Henry
Percy VC and his Brother Officers
The Queen's Knight by Martyn Downer. This is an exceptionally well written biography of Major General Sir Howard Elphinstone VC whose remarkable life as a Crimean War hero and close confident of Queen Victoria was cut short in tragic circumstances. The writer's wife is the great-great-grandaughter of Elphinstone and keeper of his diaries and prolific correspondence, which shed new light on the Queen and life inside her court. Thoroughly recommended. Pub.Bantam Press. ISBN 978 0 593 05485 7
Indian Mutiny & Beyond - The Letters of Robert Shebbeare VC Edited by Arthur Littlewood. One of the Delhi VCs, Shebbeare's story is told through recently discovered letters which he sent home between 1844 and 1860. Pub. Pen & Sword. ISBN 184415574-9
Johnson Beharry VC - Barefoot Soldier - A Story of Extreme Valour
All For Valour - The Story of Captain John Brunt VC,
MC by Richard Snow. Excellent 144 page
book, which has around 35 illustrations, about the outstanding VC won on
the Gothic Line in 1944. Available @ £5 plus £2 p&p. It can be obtained from its author,
Richard Snow, 1 Cornford Park, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 4PW.
For Valour - VC, MM by Roy H.Eardley. The story of Sgt.George Eardley VC, MM as told by his son. Available from Rothley Publishing, 12 Martins Close, Trefonen, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 9EW. ISBN 0 9530127 0 0
Victoria's Cross - ANZAC to Archangel by Mike Irwin. The story of Sgt.Sam Pearse VC,MM. Available from author, PO Box 8050, Northland Centre, Victoria, Australia 3072. ISBN 1 876709 49 9
Without Hesitation - The Story of Christopher Cox VC by Mary Hallett. Available from Montagues, 40 High St., Kings Langley, Herts WD4 9HT.
Mad Harry- Harry Murray VC, CMG, DSO+bar, CdeG, Australia's Most Decorated Soldier by George Franki & Clyde Slatyer. Pub.Kangaroo Press, 20 Barcoo St., East Roseville, NSW 2069. ISBN 0 7318 118 87
I Laughed Like Blazes! The Life of Private 'Todger' Jones VC, DCM by David Thompson, Available from author at 4, Charlton Close, Palace Fields, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 2UN. ISBN 0 9542629 05
Bazalgette VC - Alberta Pathfinder by Terry MacDonald. Available from Bunker Publishing, 4520 Crowchild Trail S.W. Calgary, Alberta Canada. ISBN 1 894255224
A Tiger and a Fusilier- Leicester's VC Heroes by Derek Seaton. The story of two workhouse boys, Pte.W.H.Buckingham and Capt.R.Gee, who won the VC in WW1. Available from author at 78 Spinney Drive, Kirby Grange, Botcheston, Leicester LE9 9FG. ISBN 0 9228948 2 3
Valour Beyond All Praise-Harry Greenwood VC by Derek Hunt. Available from author at 9, Harrington Close, Windsor, Berks SL4 4AD. ISBN 09545871 0 3
The Fighting Bradfords - Northern Heroes of World
by Harry Moses. The
extraordinary account of four brothers, two of whom were posthumously
awarded the VC, one who won the MC and the fourth who was at age 25, the
youngest ever Brigadier General in the British Army, was awarded the MC
The Life of Henry Hook VC by Barry C.Johnson. To mark the 125th anniversary of the Zulu War, the new expanded biography of one of the Rorke's Drift heroes. 331 pages, 24 illustrations, in both casebound and paperbound. Available from Bartletts Press, 37, Larchmere Drive, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 8JB.ISBN 0-9517115-6-3
H Jones VC -The Life & Death of an Unusual Hero by John Wilsey. A vivid and well written biography about the controversial Falklands hero. Published by Arrow Books. ISBN 0-09-943669-8
For Valour - West Country
VCs by E.V.Thompson.
MAGENNIS VC - The story of Northern
Ireland's only winner of the Victoria Cross by George Fleming.
Although this book was published in 1998, the author is offering the few
remaining copies to Society members @ £11.95 inc.p&p.
Merry Hell - A Dane with the Canadians
By Thomas Dinesen VC
Fire-Eater. The Memoirs of a VC
by Captain A.O.Pollard VC, MC, DCM
A Frontier Campaign - A Narrative of the Operations of the Malakund and Bruner Field Forces 1897-1898 by The Viscount Fincastle VC and Lieutenant P.C.Eliott-Lockhart. Another excellent and welcome reprint from Naval and Military Press. A N W Frontier classic.
At long last, the latest papers
(1867-8) from the Sir Harry Flashman VC collection has just been
Flashman and the March by George MacDonald Fraser
I know that many members share my devotion to the exploits of this tarnished Victorian hero and the long wait for this latest book has been worthwhile.
With a Smile and a Wave - The Life of Captain Aidan Liddell VC, MC
By Peter Daybell. Beautifully produced and detailed book about the fourth air VC.
Published by Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 1 84415 160 3
Commandant of the Transvaal - The Life and Career of General Sir Hugh Rowlands VC KCB By W.Alister Williams. An excellent biography of the first Welshman to be awarded the VC. Published by Bridge Books ISBN 1 872424 41 4
Kenneally VC by John Patrick Kenneally. Although this book is out of print it is absolutely worthwhile trying to obtain a copy. Just about the best self-written biography that has been written. What a tale! Hopefully, there will be a reprinting as there is a fresh demand for VC books. ISBN 0 9518237 0 1
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