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Stories of valour celebrated in new book featuring leading historian


A University of Wolverhampton historian features in a new collection of inspirational stories of valour by recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross. 

Dr Spencer Jones, Senior Lecturer in Armed Forces and War Studies, contributed to On Courage, which features 28 moving stories of VC and GC recipients. Each is introduced by a public figure from Bear Grylls, Joanna Lumley and Sir Bobby Charlton, to Eddie Redmayne, Dame Kelly Holmes and the late Sir Ken Dodd.

Proceeds from the sales will be donated to two charities to support current and former members of the British armed forces and their dependants: Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, and The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which represents all living holders of the VC and GC.

Dr Jones was approached by the Sebastopol Project in 2017 who asked if he would be willing to contribute to On Courage by writing about Victoria Cross winners who he particularly admired. 

Dr Jones, whose sections are introduced by Professor Margaret MacMillan and Michael and Jack Whitehall, said: “I chose to write about Brigadier-General Charles FitzClarence, and General Walter Congreve and his son Major William Congreve, who were the last father and son to both be awarded the Victoria Cross.  I have tremendous admiration for all three of these men and was keen to write about them as their stories are comparatively unknown.

“On Courage is a wonderful collection of stories which bring to life the heroism of Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients.  I am very proud to have written for the volume and delighted that every copy sold supports the charities Combat Stress and the VC & GC Association.”

The book is from The Sebastopol Project, a charitable endeavour aimed at inspiring the public with the stories of the diverse and courageous acts of men and women awarded the VC and GC. It has been supported by The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which has made its archive available for the publication.

Stories in the book include tales of people whose actions have risked their lives, often to defend comrades, who come from all walks of life. The incredible accounts, which tell of the recipients’ determination and selfless actions in extremely dangerous circumstances, are written by established historians and authors including Dr Spencer Jones, Tom Bromley, Saul David, Paul Garlington and James Holland.

The VC is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces. The GC is awarded to those who have displayed the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage whilst in extreme danger.

Further information about BA (Hons) War Studies.

Details about the University’s BSc (Hons) Armed Forces degree. 

Further information

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: Tuesday, 05 June 2018

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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