On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders by The Sebastopol Project

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On Courage – Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders by The Sebastopol Project

It is a great honour to have been asked to become involved in the launch of On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders by The Sebastopol Project. The book is a collection of 28 stories of those who have been awarded The Victoria Cross or The George Cross. Each of the stories is introduced by a personality. Alexander Armstrong, Baroness Hale, Bear Grylls, Bill Beaumont, Bobby Charlton, Katherine Grainger, Kelly Holmes, Derek Jacobi, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Bruno, Geoffrey Palmer, Jeremy Irons, Joanna Kavenna, Joanna Lumley, John Simpson, Joseph Calleja, Julian Fellowes, Kate Adie, Ken Dodd, Margaret MacMillan, Mark Pougatch, Mary Berry, Michael Whitehall and Jack Whitehall, Miranda Hart, Richard Chartres, Tom Ward, Will Greenwood, and Willie Carson.

I am delighted to talk about one of those stories from the book introduced by John Simpson CBE – Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC.

The word ‘hero’ is used far too easily in our lives today what On Courage will to the reader are twenty-eight real heroes who bravery and self-sacrifice despite everything that is against them is nothing more that moving and inspirational.

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Leonard Cheshire VC was a shy man who never really spoke of his time during the war but his heroism while serving in the RAF in WWII spoke volumes of the man. A man who courage saved many a fellow airman during the war. He was awarded the VC not for a specific action but for the time from 1940 to 1944. He had completed four tours of duty in the RAF and had completed 100 sorties over enemy territory with selfless bravery.

John Simpson details the life of Leonard Cheshire VC and makes for incredible and moving reading. Leonard Cheshire VC had a life of two halves after the war he married for the second time to Sue Ryder who herself was a wonderful humanitarian. For Leonard Cheshire after the ended he found it difficult to adjust to normal life and so began his charitable work that would become his second half of his life. In 1948 The Leonard Cheshire Disability Charity was founded and operates here in the UK and in many parts of the world to this day. He also went on to found other charities with his wife Sue Ryder.

I was left incredibly humbled just reading this one story of twenty-eight in the book. Stories that should be told so that future generations can learn of the selfless acts of heroism and bravery.

Proceeds of sales of On Courage will be going to Combat Stress and also The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.

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On Courage contributors:

Introductions to the stories in the book have been provided by the following public figures: Kate Adie, Alexander Armstrong, Bill Beaumont, Mary Berry, Frank Bruno, Joseph Calleja, Willie Carson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bishop Richard Chartres, Sir Ken Dodd, Lord Julian Fellowes, Dame Katherine Grainger, Will Greenwood, Bear Grylls, Baroness Hale, Miranda Hart, Dame Kelly Holmes, Jeremy Irons,  Sir Derek Jacobi, Joanna Kavenna, Joanna Lumley, Margaret MacMillan, Geoffrey Palmer, Mark Pougatch, Eddie Redmayne, John Simpson, Tom Ward, Michael Whitehall and Jack Whitehall.

 About The Sebastopol Project

The Sebastopol Project is a charitable endeavour aimed at inspiring the public with stories of the diverse and courageous acts of men and women awarded the Victoria Cross and George Cross. Its ambition is to raise funds for the benefit of current and former members of the British armed forces and their dependents through the publication and sale of On Courage.

About The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association

The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association represents all living holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross. The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the armed forces. The George Cross (GC) is awarded to those who have displayed the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage whilst in extreme danger.  vcgca.org


The Victoria Cross and George Cross Medals. 


400 Pages.

Thank you to Kate Klevitt from Four – Colman Getty for the review copy of On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders by The Sebastopol Project.

On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders is published by Constable and imprint of Little, Brown and was published today 17th May 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 About Combat Stress

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For almost a century, the charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). combatstress.org.uk


I am delighted to announce that in conjunction with Four-Colman Getty I am running a free prize draw to win a copy of On Courage. This is a free to enter prize draw and is a UK based competition. The draw will close at 6pm Sunday 20th May. Head over to my Twitter page @thelastword1962 and RT and Follow the Prize Draw Tweet. I will draw a winner and they will be notified via a DM. The prize will be issued by Four-Colman Getty. This is book that you will not want to miss. Good luck.