The Battle of the Somme, which lasted from 1 July to 18 November 1916, is remembered as one of the most horrific and tragic battles of the First World War. On the first day alone nearly 19,000 British troops were killed - the greatest one-day loss in the history of the British Army. By November the death toll from the armies of Britain, France and Germany had risen to over a million. This book tells the stories of fifty-one soldiers from the Commonwealth and Empire armies whose bravery on the battlefield was rewarded by the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour - men like Private Billy McFadzean, who was blown up by two grenades which he smothered in order to save the lives of his comrades, and Private 'Todger' Jones, who single-handedly rounded up 102 German soldiers. Not only do we learn of heroic endeavours of these men at the height of battle, but we also read of their lives before 1914, ranging from the backstreets of Glasgow to a country house in Cheshire, and of what life was like after the war for the thirty-three survivors.
Gerald Gliddon ,bookseller,publisher turned author published his first book, 'When the Barrage Lifts',in 1987. It is a topographical history of the Battle of the Somme and its publication was greeted with great acclaim and its current updated edition is entitled 'Somme 1916: A Battlefield Companion',.Over the next fifteen years this work was followed by the appearance of eight books of the thirteen volume ' VCs of the First World War' series. This comprehensive and popular series was followed by the 'VCs Handbook:The Western Front 1914- 1918'.
Other books by Gerald Gliddon include 'The Aristocracy and the Great War';'Legacy of the Somme' a bibliography,'Norfolk & Suffolk in the Great War', and joint authorship with Tim Skelton of 'Lutyens and the Great War'.
At the present time the author is working on the revision and updating of eight volumes of the VCs of the First World War series of which Arras & Messines 1917 was issued in paperback in April and Cambrai 1917 in November 2012.The Spring Offensive 1918 was published in February 2013 and The Road to Victory 1918 will be published later this year.