Today the Victoria Cross remains the supreme British award for bravery. It takes precedence over all other awards and decorations. During its 160-year history, since the first medals were given for gallantry during the Crimean War in the 1850s, 1,357 of these medals have been won, and no less than 69 of them have gone to Yorkshiremen. Alan Whitworth, in this carefully researched and revealing account, describes in graphic detail the exploits and the lives of this elite group of heroes.
Among the roll of the brave whose gallantry and self-sacrifice are celebrated in these pages the reader will find the names and extraordinary deeds of men who were either born or bred or lived and died in Yorkshire. The first was Yorkshire-born Bombardier Thomas Wilkinson in 1857. He set an example that has been followed by generations of Yorkshire soldiers through the conflicts of the late nineteenth century – among them the Indian Mutiny and the wars in Afghanistan and South Africa – and then, in the twentieth century, in the two world wars and more recent operations in the Gulf and Afghanistan. Their stories give an unforgettable insight into the nature of heroism and into the role of individual soldiers who stand out from the ranks of men who took part in Britain’s many wars and campaigns.
The stories of these ordinary individuals who have ‘performed some signal act of valour or devotion to their country’ will be fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in military history in general and in the long military tradition of Yorkshire.
AS REVIEWED IN THE ‘YORKSHIRE POST’.