Victoria Cross Heroes
|Victoria Cross Heroes|
|Presented by||Charles, Prince of Wales|
|Voices of||Crispin Bonham-Carter|
|Narrated by||Kenneth Cranham|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||3|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||November 19 – December 3, 2006|
The series was commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross in 2006.
It was produced in association with Lord Ashcroft and the Ashcroft VC Collection, which is the largest collection of its kind in the world.
Former British soldier and noted military historian Richard Holmes acted as historical advisor to the series.
Episode one: The Modern Age
The Prince of Wales introduces the stories of some of the servicemen who have been awarded the Victoria Cross through the 60 years from World War II to the Iraq War, including the most recent recipient, Private Johnson Beharry.
- Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski lost his life attempting to rescue his friend from a burning Lancaster Bomber.
- British Army Captain Jack Randle lost his life taking an enemy machine gun nest at the Battle of Kohima.
- Royal Navy mini-submarine commander Lieutenant Ian Fraser and diver James Magennis destroyed an enemy cruiser.
- British Army Private Bill Speakman was wounded leading charges to hold back an advancing enemy platoon in Korea.
- Gurkha Rifles Lance Corporal Rambahadur Limbu captured enemy prisoners in a nighttime raid in Sarawak.
- Australian Army Training Team Warrant Officer Keith Payne was wounded covering the retreat of a native unit in Vietnam.
- British Parachute Regiment Lieutenant Colonel 'H'. Jones and Sergeant Ian McKay lost their lives in assaults against enemy positions during the Falklands War.
- British Army Private Johnson Beharry was wounded rescuing the crew of his Warrior in two separate ambushes in Iraq.
Episode 2: The Great War
Charles, Prince of Wales, introduces the stories of some of the servicemen who were awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I when over 630, nearly half of all the awards ever given, were earned.
- Royal Fusiliers Lieutenant Marurice Dease and Private Sid Godley defended Nimy Bridge from invaders at Mons, Belgium.
- Indian Army Lieutenant Jackie Smyth carried ammo to a captured enemy trench in France.
- Australian Imperial Force Lance Corporal Albert Jacka single-handedly recaptured a trench at Battle of Gallipoli.
- Royal Navy Commander Loftus Jones and Boy (First Class) Jack Cornwell lost their lives at the Battle of Jutland.
- Royal Irish Rifles Private Billy McFadzean sacrificed his life falling on an accidentally dropped grenade at the Battle of the Somme.
- Medical Officer Captain Noel Chavasse awarded double VC rescuing wounded from battlefields at the Somme and Passchendaele.
- Royal Flying Corps fighter pilot Lieutenant William Leefe-Robinson shot down a Zeppelin in an aerial battle over London.
- British Army Lieutenant Colonel Wilfrith Elstob lost his life defending the Manchester Redoubt to the last man.
Episode 3: The Empire
The Prince of Wales, introduces the stories of some of the servicemen who have were awarded the Victoria Cross during the early years from its introduction by Queen Victoria during the Crimean War as a democratic award open to all soldiers for extreme acts of bravery to the Boer War when it had been recognised as the most famous gallantry award in the world.
- Royal Navy Captain William Peel and Midshipman Edward St John Daniel distinguished at the Siege of Sebastopol among first recipients.
- British Army Lieutenant William Raynor and John Buckley defended the Red Fort during the Siege of Delhi.
- Royal Navy Able Seaman William Hall single-handedly operated the cannon that breached the walls at the Siege of Lucknow.
- British cavalry officer Evelyn Wood who had fought alongside Peel and Daniel rescued a British informer from captors in India.
- Valentine Bambrick falsely accused of stealing a colleague’s medals commits suicide prior to having his own VC stripped.
- British Army Lieuenant John Chard, Private Harry Hook and Private Fred Hitch defended the station at Rorke's Drift.
- Captain Harry Schofield, Lieutenant Freddie Roberts, Captain Walter Congreve and Private George Ravenhill rescued field artillery at the Battle of Colenso.
The 2006 companion book to the series written Lord Ashcroft tells the stories of over 150 VC winners individuals whose medals are in his collection and those whose stories feature in the television series with each chapter covering on a different conflict.
- Ashcroft, Michael (Nov 6, 2006). Victoria Cross Heroes: Men of Valour. Headline Book Publishing (hardcover). ISBN 978-0-7553-1632-8.
- Ashcroft, Michael (May 3, 2007). Victoria Cross Heroes: Men of Valour. Headline Review (paperback). ISBN 978-0-7553-1633-5.