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Victoria Crosses on the Western Front – Continuation of the German 1918 Offensives (Hardback)

24 March – 24 July 1918

Military > Battlefield Guidebooks Military > Victoria Crosses WWI > By Year > 1918

By Paul Oldfield
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Victoria Crosses on the Western Front
Pages: 775
ISBN: 9781473827103
Published: 5th June 2019


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In the past, while visiting the First World War battlefields, the author often wondered where the various Victoria Cross actions took place. He resolved to find out. In 1988, in the midst of his army career, research for this book commenced and over the years numerous sources have been consulted.

Victoria Crosses on the Western Front - Continuation of the German 1918 Offensives: 24 March - 24 July 1918 is designed for the battlefield visitor as much as the armchair reader. A thorough 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 will allow visitors to stand upon the spot, or very close to, where each VC was won. Photographs of the battle sites richly 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. A host of other information, much of it published for the first time, reveals some fascinating characters, with numerous links to many famous people and events.

The amount of research that has gone into the text is staggering – tracing down all of these family connections is clearly a monumental achievement, and the amount of detail of the life of each recipient is very impressive.

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History of War

Review by John A. Hargreaves

Paul Oldfield’s 775-page extensively researched compendium Victoria Crosses on the Western Front – Continuation of the German 1918 Offensives: 24 March – 24 July 1918 is a supplementary volume to the ten-part Victoria Crosses on the Western Front to which the author has also contributed several volumes. Designed ‘for the battlefield visitor as much as the armchair reader’ it fills a very specific purpose both in terms of its chronological scope and its exploration of the related military context. It aims to provide a ‘thorough account of each successive ‘Victoria Cross action’, each of which are precisely set within ‘the wider strategic and tactical context’. Clear and detailed sketch maps show the geographical area which the visitor sees today with ‘the battle-lines and movements of the combatants superimposed’. A profusion of black-and-white photographs of the battlefield sites have been carefully selected to enhance the informative textual commentary.

Halifax Antiquarian Society

This seventh book in the series continues to do quite an astounding job of telling the stories of the numerous Victoria Cross that were awarded during the Great War.  The award was given 628 times to 627 participants, so many of which were on the Western Front. This particular volume by Paul Oldfield brings to the fore the events are they unfolded from the 24th March to 24th July 1918. These were of course critical months of the war with intense action. The author served in the army for thirty-six years before becoming an accredited member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, and a historian. He has co-authored many books in the Battleground Europe series.

This series is extra special. This particular edition covers the time period when the ware entered a new phase with operations becoming more ‘fluid and confusing to follow. At this point, in the midst of the German Offensive, BEF unit were regularly falling back under pressure and enduring large casualties.  Equally, formation and units were often mixed up or overlapped, whilst new units were formed with positions changed over a period of time.  The stories included form key elements of this battle, including the first battles of the Somme during this period. The Battles of Lys, Messines, as well as Aisne, Hamel and Marne. Elements of each battle kicks off each chapter from which the V.C. Stories were intertwined.

Jon Sandison

As featured in

Glamorgan FHS

An interesting and enjoyable work that will certainly not leave the reader indifferent.

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Miniaturas JM

The overall quality of this work is very high, drawing on the authors experience as a regular officer and experienced battlefield guide.

Battlefields Trust

As with all its companion volumes, this book is highly recommended and all should be on the bookshelves of every military museum.

Medal News, December 2019/January 2020 – reviewed by Allan Stanistreet

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Glasgow and West Scotland Family History Society

Featured in

Clywd Family History Society

Excellent work. 10/10

The Great War magazine, September 2019

The author, a former soldier, is a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and this work is the result of decades of research. Each VC award for the period and battlefield has been meticulously researched, set within the strategic and tactical context and well illustrated – Most Highly Recommended

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An invaluable aid to families of the deceased, as well as to researchers of this historically significant period of warfare.

Cumbria FHS

This book endeavours to give the back story to each and every one of the Victoria Cross winners won their accolade. This is book seven of the history of Victoria Cross winners during the First World War. Paul Oldfield through writing these books keeps alive the stories of those brave men who took part in a war that saw human beings developing bigger and better ways of killing each other. These stories of courage and bravery should never be lost.

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"There are some books that truly merit the description ‘majestic’. This is undoubtedly one of them."

Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Society

The Western Front Victoria Crosses are examined in great detail in this superb account of the extraordinary bravery of the men who earned them. Paul Oldfield's book is superb, very readable and a worthy tribute to those brave men who went above and beyond what was expected of them.

Books Monthly

Article: 'Memory Lane: Arnold schoolboy who became a war hero' as featured by

Blackpool Gazette (online), 12th July 2019 – words by Claire Lark

Featured 'On The Book Shelf'

Wargames Illustrated, March 2019

Another stunning piece of research by Paul Oldfield to supplement his previous works on the VC’s of the Great War. Excellent depth of research which is well connected to the circumstances, location and context in which each VC was won. Hugely recommended for anybody wanting to see where these VCs were won. Even cross checked his information on Freemasons with my database and he was not only spot on, but enabled me to correct my information on Oliver Watson. Many thanks Paul, great work again.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

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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