Today the Victoria Cross remains the supreme British award for bravery. It takes precedence over all other awards and decorations. During its 160-year history, since the first medals were given for gallantry during the Crimean War in the 1850s, 1,357 of these medals have been won, and almost fifty of them have gone to the soldiers of Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland . Alan Whitworth, in this carefully researched and revealing account, describes in graphic detail the exploits and the lives of this elite band of heroes. Within this group of Northern VC recipients are a number of outstanding names, including Richard Annand who gained the first VC of the Second World War and Roland Bradford who was one of only four sets of brothers to have secured the VC. He also had the distinction of becoming the youngest general in the British army. But among the roll of the brave whose gallantry and self-sacrifice are celebrated in these pages the reader will find the names and extraordinary deeds of many other men who were either born or bred or lived and died in the North. They will also find the story of the youngest Victoria Cross recipient who won his award aged just nineteen.The stories of these ordinary individuals who have 'performed some signal act of valour or devotion to their country' will be fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in military history in general and in the long military tradition of the North of England.
Alan Whitworth is a historian and writer who has published many books on aspects of the past in Yorkshire and the North of England including Esk Valley Railway, Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths on the Yorkshire Coast, Aspects of Yorkshire, Yorkshire Windmills and Yorkshire VCs.