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VCs of the Second World War (Paperback)

Ten Stories of Bravery and Courage

WWII British History Victoria Crosses Military

By Stephen Wynn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 136
Illustrations: 32 black and white
ISBN: 9781526725806
Published: 13th August 2020

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During the Second World War, the Victoria Cross - the highest honour to be given to British or Commonwealth forces - was awarded on 182 occasions to 181 recipients, 85 of which were bestowed posthumously.

Presented here are ten examples of those who showed the upmost gallantry and bravery ‘in the presence of the enemy’, with each individual case and the circumstances in which the award was won examined in close detail. One example includes the story of Charles Upham, 2nd Division, New Zealand Expedition Force, who was the only recipient of two Victoria Crosses: the first awarded during the Battle of Crete in 1941, and the second during fighting at El Ruweisat Ridge, Egypt, in 1942.

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this 144-page history. This is the third book written by Mr. Wynn that I have read (The other two were “City of London at War 1939–45” and “The Lancastria Tragedy: Sinking and Cover-up“). All three have been well written and easily read. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

NetGalley, John Purvis

An interesting book with some fascinating tales of daring and compassion for one's comrades-in-arms.

One can but be humbled by the achievements of the recipients and the sacrifices made in the greater good.

NetGalley, Simon Alphonso

When I picked up this book, I had only limited information about Victoria Cross and all I knew was that it exists. Thanks to this really informative book, I know stories of people who received it. Stephen Wynn is telling stories of the extraordinary bravery of extraordinary individuals. And he does it well.

NetGalley, Ellie Herinkova

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author Stephen Wynn set himself an unenviable task of selecting ten of the most notable VC recipients of WW2, from a total of 182 that were awarded. His wide cross-section of recipients covered the major military branches of the services as well as the often unappreciated bravery of the Colonial forces.

I enjoyed his historical background tales of the VC from its inception during the Crimean War through to the present day. The various stories of immense bravery are incredible, Each exceptionally heroic act making a powerful difference to the ultimate outcome of their specific battle. or mission.

I thoroughly recommend this book to the lovers of military history.

NetGalley, Peter Coxall

About Stephen Wynn

Stephen is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police as a constable for thirty years between 1983 and 2013. He is married to Tanya and has two sons, Luke and Ross, and a daughter, Aimee.


When not writing, Stephen can be found walking his four dogs with his wife Tanya at some unearthly time of the morning, when most normal people are still fast asleep.

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