The research for this book commenced in 1988 while the author was serving in the Army. In the years since, numerous sources have been consulted, but career imperatives left insufficient time to complete the project until retirement from the military. In the past the author spent many days on the First and Second World War battlefields wondering precisely where the Victoria Cross actions took place. He resolved to find out. The book is designed for the armchair reader as much as the battlefield visitor. A detailed account of each VC action sets it in 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, where the VCs were won. Photographs of the battle sites illustrate the accounts. There is also a comprehensive biography for each VC recipient and photographs. The biographies cover every aspect of their lives 'warts and all' - parents and siblings, education, civilian employment, military career, wife and children, death and burial or commemoration. There is also a host of other information, much published for the first time.
Some fascinating characters emerge, with numerous links to many famous people and events.
Paul Oldfield was born in Sheffield and was educated at Victoria College in Jersey. After serving in the Army for 36 years, he became a freelance battlefield guide and historian. In 1988, while still serving, he co-authored 'Sheffield City Battalion' in the 'Pals' series. 'Cockleshell Raid' and 'Bruneval' in Pen & Sword's Battleground Europe series were published in 2013. When not touring the battlefields or researching another book, Paul is a keen orienteer, hill walker and cyclist. He lives in Wiltshire with wife Deb and they have three grown-up children.