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Donald Dean VC [Kindle Edition]

Terry Crowdy , Susan Bavin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Book Description

Donald Dean lied about his age to enlist in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and serve on the Western Front, where he worked his way up from Private to acting Captain. It was in the last weeks of the war, late in September 1918, that he won his VC for leading a platoon in the determined defense of a recently captured and isolated trench against repeated German counterattacks. In one of these attacks, the Germans actually broke into the trench, forcing Dean to break off a radio call for artillery support with the words 'The Germans are here, goodbye!' Refusing to be overrun, he personally killed four of the Germans before they were finally evicted.

Dean also served in World War II, witnessing the fall of France in 1940 and claiming to be the last Brit to get out of Boulogne. His frank account of the evacuation challenges some cherished conceptions and is very critical of the conduct of the Irish Guards in particular. He went on to fight in Madagascar, Sicilya and the Italian mainland. Donald Dean died in 1985.

Military historian Terry Crowdy has edited Dean's letters and diaries, never previously published, adding additional notes and material from official reports to give the reader context. The result is a moving, often amusing and inspiring portrait of a little-known hero of two world wars.

Product Description


He has produced a portrait of an outstanding Territorial which is also an illuminating study of how to command men in battle. It would bear reading by modern soldiers who seek to lead. - The Society of Friends of the National Army Museum

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2252 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (23 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,160 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We knew what had to be done" 27 Aug. 2013
By Four Violets VINE VOICE
When war was declared in 1914, Donald Dean was too young for military service. However he lied about his age and signed up at the first opportunity. He played an active part in the trench warfare of 1916/17 and this autobiographical account, written before he died in 1985, is perhaps most vivid in the chapters The Ypres Salient, Passchendaele and Reflections on Trench Warfare.

The statistics speak for themselves: within eight weeks of Dean leaving cadet school, of an original 20, 18 were dead. The new daily reality was the Germans: across no man's land, a mere twenty feet away.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross "for most conspicuous bravery, skilful command and devotion to duty during the period 24th to 26th September 1918... he worked unceasingly with his men and repulsed attacks... he inspired his command with his own contempt of danger, and set an example of valorous leadership and devotion to duty of the very highest order."

After nineteen years spent as a volunteer Territorial Officer between the wars, in WW2 Dean was a Pioneer Commander, responsible for large numbers of serving men and civilians of all nationalities, who provided logistical support from stores and ammunition, building camps, roads, and bridges, to loading and unloading ships. These men were originally unarmed; but Dean ensured that his men were eventually provided with weapons. His care for his men and all those serving under him shines through; and if he seems at times to be proud of his achievements, he well deserved to be. He justifiably felt that the essential work of the Pioneers was unrecognised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dean VC 27 Dec. 2013
By Stumps
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Filled with under-statement but riveting nonetheless, one man's story of two wars and other things besides. Dean had the old-fashioned virtues of Duty, Service and Loyalty in spades together with the indefatigable energy and single-mindedness that damns all difficulties. Clearly he was a truly intrepid character who, despite his heroic reputation, remained a gentleman throughout. The country needs more Deans - but not too many!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fighting Pioneer Corps 3 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very well written biography of an other of the unsung heroes of both the 1st & 2nd world Wars.
Donald Dean was a quiet local hero who had an active 1st War in the trenches & His 2nd War was spent proving just how misunderstood was the role of the Pioneer Corps.
Hopefully, people who were somewhat ashamed of their relatives who served in the Pioneers will see that they should be proud rather than ashamed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUE LIFE OF A HERO 11 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
How one man fitted so much war fighting into one life is truly amazing. Mr Dean VC deserves all the plaudits he gets. Well written and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars but a disappointment thereafter. He seems 23 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable first half (WW1), but a disappointment thereafter. He seems, on his own admission, to have won WW11 by himself. Memoirs written for grand-children should remain as such, and not be published as seems to be the norm, sadly. Only an opinion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative. An excellent read. 14 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are plenty of biographies around detailing how various senior officers helped to win the war. This one starts from being a private to receiving a commission during WW1 and gives an insight to the business end of that war. Between the wars, as a territorial, his rank rises to lieutenant colonel. Rejected by front line regiments he takes a position in a supposedly none combatant pioneer regiment. It details how important pioneer were not only in their incredible support of front line action but how the even became an effective combatant group covering retreating front line troops. There are many accounts how regulations were bent or broken and officialdom in all its pomposity was circumvented to enable vital tasks to be completed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By stewpot
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Starts off well in the great war but the latter part of the book let's it down but still not a bad read from a very brave man and a good soldier/officer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 26 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I originally bought this as part of my remembrance of those who fought in the great war. But learned much more about WW 2. I had never heard of the Pioneers. When you think of the difficulties keeping units supplied and roads open and airfields built. These units had great importance and little is heard of them. COL. Dean was a witty man and very humorous. Highly recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but short on WW1 detail.
I was a little disappointed to find that The Great War was a small part of the book and the story of his winning of his VCwas barely covered. Still a good read though.
Published 3 days ago by Dubes
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Interesting account of one brave man's war experiences which were understated at times. It's seems he got little recognition for such a distinguished career.
Published 3 days ago by MR T
2.0 out of 5 stars Have read better.
Wasn't completely convinced by this book .
Published 20 days ago by Stephen Webster
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
A very interesting read. It had pieces of war history that I hadn't read about before. I enjoyed the read.
Published 1 month ago by G Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Donald Dean VC
As I'm interested in military history I found this to be a very interesting read. Not only about his experiences, but about his man management.
Published 1 month ago by ocd
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent
Published 2 months ago by Arthur R. Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars This personal account of a soldier of the Great Wars conveys the...
This personal account of a soldier of the Great Wars conveys the reality of those terrible times as no official histories can. Read more
Published 2 months ago by AshleyG
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
really enjoyed reading this book as it told the true story of bne mans war
Published 3 months ago by Bryan Beer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
really very interesting ,what a very brave man
Published 3 months ago by gerald cornish
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful life story
Despite the fact that the story is sad in places it's a great insight into a fascinating life. Well worth the read
Published 3 months ago by Superbilly999
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