The Bravest Man in the British Army (Kindle)
The Extraordinary Life and Death of Lieutenant Colonel John Sherwood Kelly VC
'Today a new major joined us, a Herculean giant of South African origin with a quite remarkable disregard for danger.' The Regimental Diary of The Kings Own Scottish Borderers, July 1915
'Brave as a lion, stubborn as a mule and as quick tempered as his Irish forebears, Kelly VC spoke out about Churchill's support of the White Russians in 1919. This is a well researched and lively read and brings to our attention an early Churchill folly.' Keith Simpson
John (Jack) Sherwood Kelly, VC CMG DSO (1880-1931) was a formidable soldier. He fought in British colonial campaigns in the early 1900s, distinguished himself during the First World War at Gallipoli, the Somme and Cambrai, and, after the war, was involved in the British campaign in northern Russia in support of the White Russians. During his military career he achieved fame and notoriety for his mixture of heroic exploits and explosive temperament. In this meticulously researched and vivid biography Philip Bujak tells Sherwood Kelly's story and gives a fascinating insight into one of the most remarkable and controversial military men of the period. Kelly had a combat record going back to the 1896 Matabele Revolt. He was awarded the DSO for his exploits in Gallipoli in 1916. During 1917 he commanded 1st Battalion, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was instrumental in the early success achieved during the Battle of Cambrai for which he was awarded the VC. His later service during the British intervention against the Bolsheviks in 1919 ended in court martial and a highly publicized clash with Winston Churchill.
The book also uniquely explores how women coped in romantic relationships with men more comfortable in war than in peace and how the men themselves coped with the pressures that emotional relationships brought with them.
As featured bySussex Local, March 2019
I first encountered the case of John “Jack” Sherwood Kelly when researching machine gun units involved in the intervention in North Russia in 1918-1919. A man who had a ferocious fighting reputation, and a Victoria Cross for command at a critical juncture at the Battle of Cambrai, would return home in disgrace and face a court martial. How could fortunes change so much? Philip Bujak’s sympathetic biography seeks to find answers.Friends of the National Army Museum
This is certainly the most rounded out account of a very interesting figure.
A valuable record of a most distinguished officer.Medal News, December 2018/January 2019 - reviewed by Allan Stanistreet
An amazing biography. 10/10The Great War magazine, September 2018 – reviewed by Mark Marsay
John Kelly’s life and military career were deeply intertwined, pretty much one and the same. This history book pulls back the curtain on the lives of English soldiers just after the dawn of the 20th century. I cannot let the outstanding photography and graphic design of the front and rear covers go unacknowledged, either.Stuff I Like Blog, John Koenig
Read the complete review online here.