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Victoria Crosses on the Western Front - April 1915 to June 1916 (Hardback)

Military > Victoria Crosses WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916

By Paul Oldfield
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Victoria Crosses on the Western Front
Pages: 476
ISBN: 9781473825536
Published: 9th September 2015



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During visits to the First World War battlefields the author often wondered where various Victoria Cross actions took place; he resolved to find out. Research commenced in 1988 and numerous sources have been consulted in the meantime. The book is designed for the battlefield visitor as much as the armchair reader. A detailed account of each VC action is set within the wider strategic and tactical context. Detailed sketch maps show the area today, together with the battle-lines and movements of the combatants. It allows visitors to stand upon the spot, or very close, where the VC actions took place and understand what happened and where. Photographs of the battle sites illustrate the accounts. There is also a comprehensive biography for each recipient covering every aspect of their lives 'warts and all' - parents and siblings, education, civilian employment, military career, wife and children, death and burial/commemoration. There is also a host of other information, much of it published for the first time. Some fascinating characters emerge, with numerous links to many famous people and events.

There is detailed biography of each recipient which covers in depth different aspects of their lives, including details of parents, siblings, education, employment, their military career as well as wife, children and details of burial and commemorations... Stories are broad and the human side of each one are so poignantly brought out.

Jon Sandison, Freelance

So many epic stories all brilliantly described. What a high standard the author has set to look forward to subsequent volumes and make room on your bookshelves.

Military History Society

It is a fascinating read and, as well as being left full of admiration for the individual award winners; one learns much about the British Army, its composition and operations. However, the real power of the books lies in the added value it provides for the battlefield visitor today. It (and its partner volumes) will prove to be an essential item for the suitcase or, more likely, the rucksack.

Read the full review here.

The Western Front Association, Dennis Williams

The Victoria Cross has probably had more written about it than any other military medal in history. It is difficult to imagine that there can be any new angles on the medal itself or the men who have been awarded this iconic decoration. I think this comprehensive tome of VC information reinforces my previous statement - this all - encompassing series on First World War VC actions puts everything else in the shade. It is an unrivalled combination of narrative, maps, photographs, citations and biographies.

Despatches, Spring 2016

This all-encompassing series on First World War VC actions puts everything else in the shade. It is an unrivalled combination of narrative, maps, photographs, citations and biographies.

International Guild of Battlefield Guides April 2016

By its very nature the Victoria Cross has generated a great deal of shelf space. It seems every aspect of the award has been examined; what more in fact is there to learn?

Thankfully Paul Oldfield is well-qualified to add to the list of available tomes...

... the depth of research is also its strength; the biographies are extremely detailed and likely to provide all the information you would ever want to know about the recipients, and more.

As would be expected the book is lavishly illustrated, from photos of locations to pictures of recipients’ headstones, portrait pictures, and even photos of where they lived.

WW1 Geek - Andrew Arnold

This is a weighty book packed with information. The author states that this is as much for the battlefield visitor as it is for the armchair reader. This is the second book in this particular series and follows the same format as the first volume. Details of the VC actions are explained in largely chronological order and are then followed by biographies of the winners. The actions occupy the first 184 pages whilst the biographies take up the next 270-odd pages.

There is a lot to recommend this book. Paul Oldfield obviously knows his stuff and is also quick to acknowledge the support of fellow members of the Victoria Cross Database Users Group. There are also ten pages of acknowledgements and sources, no wonder then that the actions are well-explained and the men well researched. Having been used to seeing the same images re-published again and again for a lot of these men, it was nice to see new contemporary images for many, and also to read more about their background and their families.

As you would expect with Pen and Sword, the book quality is first rate and old photos have been brought to life. The maps are also extremely useful and will be a particular boon to the battlefield visitor who can now visit the exact spots where the actions described took place. I can find nothing to fault this book. My copy will be a useful reference resource on the bookshelf at home.

Army Ancestory Research - Paul Nixon

About Paul Oldfield

Paul Oldfield was born in Sheffield and was educated at Victoria College in Jersey. After serving in the Army for thirty-six years, he became a freelance battlefield guide (he is a badged member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides) and a historian. In 1988 he co-authored Sheffield City Battalion in the Pals series. Cockleshell Raid and Bruneval in Pen & Sword's Battleground Europe series were published in 2013.This is the twelfth book in his Victoria Crosses on the Western Front series.

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