Ten Brave Men and True

Richard Snow

Ten Brave Men and True is an in-depth history of ten winners of the Victoria Cross who had a link with Tunbridge Wells.

Author Richard Snow has researched each case with forensic thoroughness, examining the background, family history and circumstances of each medal winner. He then traces the military career of the medal winner, leading up to the particular action which led to the award of the medal. Finally, he follows the rest of the history of the medal winner once the war is over, and traces their civilian life, including their time locally.

The book is a fascinating mixture. The great detail with which the background is researched contrasts with the rather brief and very factual account of the action that leads to the medal. The bare facts of the action are made to speak for themselves, with no embellishment or romanticism. The undoubted heroism is played down, which in some cases is a pity, as a fuller account would have enhanced our understanding of the events.

The ten men in the book come from a variety of background. Matthew Dixon came from a long line of military men, including generals and admirals. By contrast Douglas Belcher was the son of a draper and worked in the antiques department of Waring and Gillow.

The book covers a range of time as well. The earliest entry relates to Charles Lucas, one of the first winners of a Victoria Cross, awarded in 1857. He was a young midshipman at the time of the action that led to the award of the medal, and went on to become a Rear Admiral in a distinguished career The latest actions are in 1944, at Arnhem, where Lionel Queripel was in action and was killed at the tender age of 22, the same age as John Brunt who died at Faenza in the Italy campaign in the same year.

The book is a thorough and well researched study of ten heroic VCs, whose bravery and courage should inspire us all.

Rennie Halstead

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