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Victoria Crosses on the Western Front - Somme 1916 (Hardback)

1st July 1916 to 13th November 1916

WWI Military/Maritime/Historical Somme 1916 Victoria Crosses

By Paul Oldfield
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 528
ISBN: 9781473827127
Published: 6th July 2016

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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 – Somme 1916 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.

Once more a brilliantly produced volume; what a feat to bring so much information together in such a succinct and easily read manner. Add the maps, the photographs, this is another gem.

Military Historical Society

This is a great series which works on many levels. This volume on the Somme weighs in at over 500 pages and takes up close to an inch and a half of shelf space - which is probably another good argument for buying a Kindle and a digital version of this title.

This book, and the others in the series like it work because they give great supporting information. The deeds of these men have, for the most part, already been well documented ever since they won their Victoria Crosses. The Gerald Gliddon series of books a few years ago gave good detail on these men and their actions and that may have been enough. However, this new series from Pen & Sword, slowly being rolled out over the anniversary years, adds more information still and is very well illustrated with maps and photographs. These have a usefulness which stretches beyond the actions of these individual heroes and, I would suggest, would be very useful additions to the serious military historian's library. Once the series is complete, an index pulling all the locations together would be an extremely useful addendum. Ten out of ten from me.

Amazon reviewer

In the past, while visiting World War One 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.

This book is aimed at 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 earned.

Photographs of the battle sites richly illustrate the accounts. There is also a comprehensive biography for each recipient covering every aspect of their lives - 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 Armourer, September/October 2016

Over five long months, the Battle of the Somme claimed the lives of more than 400,000 British soldiers. However, the Somme was also the backdrop for many astonishing acts of bravery, with a number of men receiving the highest military honour. Paul Oldfield's hefty volume isn't really designed to be read from cover to cover; instead, it's a reference guide, drawing upon three decades of research to provide biographies of every Victoria Cross recipient from the campaign.

WDYTYA? Magazine, September 2016
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