About Special Forces Heroes and author Michael Ashcroft
Over the last century, Britain’s Special Forces have performed a whole host of operations with unequalled skill, secrecy and bravery. From the Cockleshell Heroes daring 1942 raid deep into Nazi-occupied France to the dangerous sorties into enemy territory during the Gulf wars, their actions have epitomised heroism.
Fascinated by bravery since he was a boy, Michael Ashcroft has assembled what is believed to be the largest private collection of British Special Forces medals in the world.
In his new book Special Forces Heroes published by Headline Review (November 2008) – the sequel to the best-selling Victoria Cross Heroes – he tells the action-packed stories behind the medals awarded to more than 40 courageous men.
The foreword to the book is written by Andy McNab, an ex SAS operative and best selling author. McNab served in B Squadron 22 SAS for ten years and worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS in February 1993.
Special Forces Heroes is linked to a four-part television series of the same name, co-funded by Lord Ashcroft, which is to be shown on FIVE (November 2008). Both the book and the series recognise the astonishing valour and ingenuity of Britain’s most elite servicemen.
Lord Ashcroft is donating all the author royalties from the sale of Special Forces Heroes to the charity Help for Heroes which provides support for the servicemen and women wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lord Ashcroft, KCMG is an international businessman, philanthropist and author.
He has worked for nearly 40 years in the world of business as an innovative entrepreneur. During this time, he has bought, sold and merged numerous companies. Lord Ashcroft has a controlling interest in several publicly and privately-owned companies. He is a Director of BCB Holdings Ltd (formerly BB Holdings Ltd). In 1997, he negotiated the sale of ADT, the business services company, for more than $6.7 billion (Â£3.7 billion).
Lord Ashcroft was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party from December 2005 to September 2010. Lord Ashcroft has supported the Conservative Party for all his adult life. He was a donor under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership and was treasurer of the party, under William Hague’s leadership, from 1998 to 2001. He is also treasurer of the International Democratic Union (IDU).
Lord Ashcroft has a wide range of charity commitments. He has, however, always concentrated on areas that interest him most, particularly crime prevention and education. In 1998 he formed Crimestoppers (originally called Community Action Trust), which was aimed at combating crimes against the person. Since its inception, Crimestoppers has received over one million calls with useful information. This has resulted in more than 87,000 arrests, while more than Â£103 million of property has been recovered along with drugs worth almost Â£160 million.
In 1991 Lord Ashcroft founded ADT City Technology College, now Ashcroft Technology Academy (ATA) , in south-west London to provide a free education for more than 1,000 inner city children of all abilities and backgrounds. The school’s conversion to ATA as part of the new Government-backed Academy programme, will enable it to continue building on the highly successful reputation of ADT College.
Lord Ashcroft is also the Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University. In 1999 he gave Â£5 million towards the building of the new Ashcroft International Business School at the University. Officially opened by the Earl of Wessex in 2003, it is now one of the largest business schools in the UK, with more than 3,000 students and 80 full-time staff.
Lord Ashcroft is a respected author. Special Forces Heroes is his third book. His second book, Victoria Cross Heroes was published in hardback in November 2006 and tells the story of how Lord Ashcroft built up the world’s largest collection of VCs over the past 22 years. He has assembled a collection of more than 150 VCs, which are now owned by a trust set up to care for and protect the medals.
The book also provides an insight into how the VC, Britain’s most prestigious award for gallantry, was created in January 1856, towards the end of the Crimean War. It tells how, over the years, the rules governing how someone can win a VC have been altered in order to move with the times.
The bulk of the book is taken up with the stories behind each of the VCs in the collection. Victoria Cross Heroes provides a short background to each recipient and gives an account of how he carried out an act of such extreme bravery that he was awarded the VC.
Because the book was written in connection with a channel FIVE series of the same name, it also tells the stories of some of the most remarkable VCs that have been awarded but that are not in the collection assembled by Lord Ashcroft. The channel FIVE series is now available to buy on DVD.
His first book Dirty Politics, Dirty Times was published in hardback in 2005. The book told the story of his battles against The Times newspaper and New Labour. His other publications include Smell the coffee: a wake-up call for the Conservative Party, a 114-page pamphlet which analysed the party’s performance in the build-up to the 2005 general election. He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of subjects.
Special Forces Heroes by Michael Ashcroft was published in hardback by Headline Review in November 2008.
Those wanting to know more about Lord Ashcroft should visit LordAshcroft.com.