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Forgotten Voices of the Victoria Cross [Paperback]

Roderick Bailey , The Imperial War Museum
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Oct 2011 Forgotten Voices

'It wasn't until after he was safely back in the aircraft again that I heard that he'd actually been out on the wing to try to put the fire out ... Remember that we were flying at about 90 miles an hour at a height of 13,000 feet'

Squadron Leader RP Widdowson on Sergeant James Ward, who earned his VC in 1941

The Victoria Cross, awarded to the most courageous and determined servicemen, is the highest military decoration that can be bestowed.

In Forgotten Voices: Victoria Cross, first-hand accounts of soldiers, sailors and airmen describe the incredible events that earned these extraordinary men the VC in the last century.

Captivating and often humbling, these stories depict exceptional acts of bravery in unimaginable situations, of men who would say they were just doing their duty.

Introduction by General Sir Richard Dannatt.

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Price For All Three: 19.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (13 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091938171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091938178
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Roderick Bailey is a historian of the Second World War and a specialist in the study of Britain's Special Operations Executive. His books include the acclaimed official history of SOE's war on Fascist Italy, 'Target: Italy - The Secret War Against Mussolini,' and, based on his PhD, 'The Wildest Province,' about SOE operations in the Balkans. A graduate of Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, he is a former Alistair Horne Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, and has also served in Afghanistan with the British Army. He is currently a Wellcome Trust research fellow in the history of medicine at Oxford University.

Product Description


"This profound study by Roderick Bailey goes a long way to identifying the common characteristics of the bravest of the brave ... Here is a testament to what is good about humankind against the backdrop of what can be the worst. The abiding thought with which the reader is left is one of hope; that adversity can indeed bring out the best in us. These "Forgotten Voices" are eloquent in proclaiming this enduring truth" (General Sir Richard Dannatt, from the Introduction)

"A significant and important book ... Over the last 45 years I have read hundreds of VC books but this volume has a unique place because of the "voices" of the VCs themselves ... Highly recommended and should be read by anyone with an interest in the VC" (Victoria Cross Society)

Book Description

Extraordinary accounts of heroism and the servicemen who earned the Victoria Cross

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Voices of the Victoria Cross 29 Oct 2010
Forgotten Voices of the Victoria Cross by Roderick Bailey, is one of the finest books
about Victoria Cross recipients published in the last five years.
Based on interviews held at the Imperial War Museum, some sixty-odd recipients are
dealt with in either eye-witness accounts of the VC deed, accounts by the recipients themselves,
or by men who knew the recipient.
The period covered dates from the First World War up to the Korean War, and the illustrations are
As a researcher who has been interested in the Victoria Cross for well over thirty years,I
strongly recommend this book to all - even those with just a passing interest.
for me, it was a great revelation of 'the man behind the medal.'
Roderick Bailey has done an excellent job, and after reading the book, I felt very humbled
by what I had read.
Highly recommended.

Vic. Tambling
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I enjoy military history and, like so many similar-minded people, enjoy reading about heroism in all its forms. The Victoria Cross is possibly the most famous of all medals for valour and takes precedence over all other British honours and awards to the extent that the post-nominal letters ‘VC’ would appear before even the highest orders of Knighthood. Formally established in January 1856, the first medal was actually awarded for an action in 1854. The most recent award (to date) being in 2013. Altogether, 1,354 people have been awarded the VC with three of these having earned the medal twice. Eight recipients, however, later forfeited their medal after being convicted of various crimes. Nevertheless, each of those 1,357 instances of individual heroism has all the ingredients for an engrossing short story in its own right.

This is a work of collusion between the author and the Imperial War Museum (IWM) which seeks to create a different emphasis from anything which may have gone before on the same subject. This is achieved by reproducing the personal accounts of a select number of VC recipients – as penned at the time or shortly thereafter, instead of repeating their actual citation and adding whatever additional information may be available. There appears to be no set format for those accounts which are included which include VC actions from WW1, Russia 1919, WW2 and Korea only.

These personal accounts, however, - as I say, written at the time, do not do justice to each man’s specific deed of bravery. When required to write whatever reports and accounts after the event, people are usually far too modest and will not, therefore, provide the reader with a blow-by-blow account of what truly happened.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb 25 Mar 2014
By Jesse R
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As with all true accounts of the horrors of war, the Victoria Cross is fascinating, there are many amazing stories of self sacrifice and
bravery in this book, it's value in the face of adversity is the example it has for future generations.
A must for all students of war and thegreat heritage we have before us.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 19 Nov 2013
By Mr M.R.Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
I'm going to go against the flow here. This book is one of a series based on the Sound Archive of the Imperial War Museum; recorded interviews with people who have lived through various conflicts from the 20th Century onwards. The archive was begun in 1972 with the purpose of recording testimony from those who lived through WWI which means, unfortunately, it misses the earliest conflict of the 20thC, the Boer War. In the introduction, the author admits that, despite the fact that over 600 VCs were awarded in WWI; more than half the total awarded to date & more than 3 times as many as in WWII; most of the accounts featured come from the latter conflict, simply because there are more such recordings in the archive.

As the series, as a whole, claims to focus on conflicts of the 20thC, I can't help feeling that the premise could have been stretched for this one book. Using not only recorded but written recollections of VC winners would have allowed a more representative selection of awards to have been examined. It also, surely, would have allowed the book to have taken in the whole of 20thC & included the Boer War, where some 81 VCs were awarded. That's enough of a disappointment to cost 1*.

A fault present throughout this series is cheap production on the part of Random House. As with others in it, the book is reasonably well illustrated, but the publisher couldn't be bothered to use decent paper for the photo's; they are printed on exactly the same paper as the text. Contrary to the opinion of another reviewer, I find the pictures are therefore of rather variable quality; sometimes OK, all too often decidedly not. Finally, I was also disappointed to find that many of the passages for the WWI VCs I had already read in Forgotten Voices of the Great War.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy tribute to true heroes 5 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many of us (me included) are often guilty of over using the word "Hero".
Many service men and women often go unrecognised but these Vicoria Cross winners are the ultimate heroes.
I met Johnson Beharry VC once. Like many VC winners he was so modest too.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravest of the brave 3 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gives us an insight to an era that ordinary men and women suffered for our country in wartime. Recommend to all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
Brilliantly written, gives a real sense of the horror of WW!. Arrived well packaged and sooner than expected. Great all round service.
Published 9 months ago by Gillian
5.0 out of 5 stars VC so good
Anything to do with the Victoria Cross has to be good. This doesn't disappoint. Very interesting read and informative too.
Published 11 months ago by Helen1960
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Voices
I bought this book for my husband as he enjoys war books. He enjoyed reading it and found it informative and an inspiration.
Published 13 months ago by Elisabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Heros;Lest We Forget.
An historical look at the men who risked everything for us.Often in their words or that of their peers.They diserve not to be forgotten.
Published 18 months ago by LAWRENCE KNOWLES
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving
The accounts of heroism make one feel very humble, especially considering the ages of those involved. A rare breed indeed!
Published 20 months ago by Celia
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories of VC Recipients
My eleven year old Canadian grandson is fascinated by Army, Navy and Air Force heroes. He loved the stories written up in this book.
Published 20 months ago by margaret bather
5.0 out of 5 stars victoria cross
Husband has had his nose in the book since he was given it. Clearly of great interest to those curious about the Victoria Cross recipients.
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by avocet
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Voices
As this is a christmas present for me I have not been allowed to look at it yet! I have read others in the series and I would expect this to be of the same informative standard. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by John Hughes
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