There are plenty of books on the recipients of the Victoria Cross, so a new volume needs to have something different about it to stand out. In this case the unique selling point is the amount of detail given for each person. There are twelve Cumbrian, twenty four Durham and eleven Northumbrian winners, so the author is able to provide much more background information than is often the case. This includes tracing the entire life story of each VC (when possible), and on occasion including several eyewitness accounts of their deeds. As a result I learnt that one of the Cumbria VCs lived in the same village as me, and was landlord of a pub at the edge of the village.
I must admit I was slightly disconcerted by the wide timescale - having recently read quite a few books on First World War Victoria Crosses, it was quite a shock to go from an account of bravery in the Trenches to a slice of the Indian Mutiny!
This extra detail allows us to see what impact winning the V.C. had on its recipients. In general the trend appears to be short term celebrity, which then faded away. Many of the First World War winners covered here were miners before the war, and ended up going back down the pit afterwards. Sadly there are also several cases of men who couldn't adjust to their post-military lives, and ended up embittered or in poverty.
This is a fascinating study of a cross-section of Victoria Cross winners, and will be of interest to both local historians and military historians.
Cumbria Victoria Cross Holders
Durham Victoria Cross Holders
Northumberland Victoria Cross Holders
Author: Alan Whitworth
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military