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Herbert Columbine VC (Hardback)

Military > Victoria Crosses WWI

By Carole McEntee-Taylor, Foreword by Dame Judi Dench
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 172
ISBN: 9781781593097
Published: 5th August 2013



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'Save Yourselves, I'll carry on'. These were the last known words of Herbert Columbine, shouted at his two companions on the afternoon of 22nd March 1918. At 9am that morning, in Hervilly Woods, France, 9 Squadron Machine Gun Corps had come under intense attack from a heavy force of German infantry. Private Columbine took command of an isolated gun, with no wire in front and began firing. As the German onslaught grew and casualties mounted, Herbert and two others eventually became separated from the rest of their Squadron. After several hours it became clear their position would soon be overrun so Herbert told them to escape while they could. Now on his own, Herbert hung on tenaciously, repelling several attacks, each one deadlier than the last. He was only defeated after the Germans bought up air support and dropped a bomb on his position. Herbert Columbine has no known grave.

All author royalties from the sale of this book go to the Columbine Statue Fund of which Dame Judi Dench is Patron. This is a project to raise money for a lasting memorial to Herbert Columbine in his home town of Walton on
the Naze, Essex. For more information please visit www.carolemctbooks.info/herbert-columbine-vc/


An account of self-sacrifice by a Machine Gun Corps private during Germany's final desperate advance in March 1918.

Victoria Cross Society

The obvious entry point for gaining an understanding of a conflict such as the First World War is some sort of reference or profile of an individual soldier. The is a great example of just such a biographical account. The research is sound and well presented and the narrative easy to follow and linked with facts, maps and photographs.

Major Mike Peters AAC, Soldier Magazine

Herbert, a machine-gunner, was just 24 when he died in Hervilly Woods, France, on March 22, 1918. Now his story has been brought vividly to life by military historian and author Carole McEntee-Taylor. Carole's book is a clever mixture of fact and fiction, blending meticulously-researched military and social history with imagination.

EADT, 4/1/14

“I firmly believe that this book will become the template for the other war books which will be published in the future.”
“Not so much a war story more the family history of a War, a Battle, a Corps and Unit. I heartily recommend this ground breaking book.”


McEntee-Taylor vividly reveals the horrors of war, not only for Herbert, but for his grieving mother, too.

BBC Who Do You Think You Are

Carole McEntee-Taylor's latest work details the life of Private Herbert Columbine from Walton-on-the-Naze, who was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously after he died aged 24 in action in France in March 1918.

East Anglian Daily Times

Inspiring story. A fascinating subject

Daily Gazette (Colchester)
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 Carole McEntee-Taylor

About Carole McEntee-Taylor

Carole McEntee-Taylor is the author of both military history and historical fiction. She worked at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester for nine years up until 2016 and now lives with her husband David in North Lincolnshire and writes full time. 

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