Victoria Crosses on the Western Front Battle of Albert 21-27 August 1918 written by Paul Oldfield and published by Pen & Sword Books – £16.99 – Softcover – Pages 214.

In the past, while visiting the First World War battlefields, the author often wondered where the various Victoria Cross actions took place. He resolved to find out. In 1988, in the midst of his army career, research for this book commenced and over the years numerous sources have been consulted.

Victoria Crosses on the Western Front: Battle of Albert, is designed for the battlefield visitor as much as the armchair reader. A thorough account of each VC action is set within the wider strategic and tactical context. Detailed sketch maps show the area today, together with the battle-lines and movements of the combatants. It will allow visitors to stand upon the spot, or very close to, where each VC was won. Photographs of the battle sites richly illustrate the accounts. There is also a comprehensive biography for each recipient, covering every aspect of their lives warts and all: parents and siblings, education, civilian employment, military career, wife and children, death and burial/commemoration. A host of other information, much of it published for the first time, reveals some fascinating characters, with numerous links to many famous people and events.

These books are fast becoming a favourite of mine, despite being surprised by the format before reading a previous copy. Let’s just say the format has grown on me. These books are great in that you get the story of the battle and the major incidents, you then get the story of the person beyond the award. It’s not just the basic info you could find elsewhere but it has the in depth story and the full story of the man who has won the award. Credit must go to the author Paul Oldfield, who writes a great book and who must have to do so much research for them. These books are really good and I would happily recommend them to anyone, they are so important so that these events and stories are not forgotten.