"Famous men are usually the product of an unhappy childhood," Winston Churchill once wrote, and this was certainly his experience. Nevertheless, he was elated by courage and beauty, and determined to protect, as best he knew how, the thing he loved more than life even if it meant going through hell several times.
Scott, Shackleton, Wilson, Mawson, and Cherry-Garrard take the most severe punishment on earth in the hope of scientific discovery. Living on a relentless diet of tea, biscuits and pemmican, they are cheerfully defiant of icy storms, snow blindness, exhaustion, and gangrene. National Geographic calls Cherry-Garrard's description of their travels in Antarctica the number one adventure book of all time.
PASSING THE TORCH
FINDING A DOOR INTO THE LIGHT
Heroes of parliamentary democracy
Winning horse races, setting flying records, taking her small plane into the African bush on rescue missions, Beryl Markham lives an odyssey, and finds the Homer who will describe it to the world.
Gerald Durrell's hilarious adventures have a transcendent purpose. His mission is to save animals from extinction, a vocation that begins when he is a boy and that he describes in a series of unforgettable books and films.
During World War II, Digby Tatham-Warter and fellow Brits parachute into the Netherlands and hold off a SS Panzer Division at the Arnhem Bridge.
The man who confronted the Red King, freed British slaves, and helped to establish the Charter of Liberties.
When Germany invades Belgium in the First World War, Edith Cavell nurses the wounded regardless of nationality. As Allied troops retreat, she helps hunted British soldiers escape, though she knows her punishment if she is caught is the firing squad. She is not alone. There are thousands of British women who brave battlefields to help injured and dying men. A few of their stories can be read here.
The Elizabethan who does more to send Brits around the world than any other man.
In the most war-torn, desperate lands on earth, Baroness Cox risks her life to bring medical supplies, food, and hope. Along the way she makes implacable enemies and steadfast friends.
A HEROIC POINT OF VIEW
PATRICK, SAINT OF SECOND CHANCES
Heroes because of what they risked and what they gave, Richard Dawes and George Hogg are but two of that host of teachers who metaphorically and actually saved the lives of their students.
Persuading cannibals to live differently.
THE EMPTY QUARTER
In the 1940s, only a few white men had ever seen the Empty Quarter, now known as the southern Arabian desert. Living with the Bedouin, Wilfred Thesiger, explores its wilderness on foot and on camel. He lives in a vanished mediaeval world where death is a brother.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
The Gurkhas, called the ‘bravest of the brave’ by their Brit soldier brothers, fight fearlessly for liberty.
Flights of imagination are crucial to the success of the Ukrainian vodka caper; to the World War II naval intelligence coups led by Ian Fleming, future creator of James Bond; and to Frank Foley’s effectiveness in derailing the Nazi’s bomb research while running an underground railroad to help Jews escape from Berlin.
THE ONE AND ONLY
Proving that the most ‘ordinary’ people can become heroes, men and women like Richard Dawes, Trevor Huddleston, and Sue Ryder rescue children, sometimes in unpredictable ways.
THE MOUNTAIN SO HIGH NO BIRD CAN FLY OVER IT
Brits and Sherpas conquer Everest with superb preparation, teamwork, and unparalleled physical effort. Hilary and Tenzing walk in the in the footsteps of Mallory and Irvine, who never returned from the mountain. Young Brits like Oliver Burr, who fought off myalgic encephalomyelitis to reach the summit, walk in their shadow
THE TWELVE CHARACTERISTICS OF A BRIT HERO
Every essential characteristic is listed along with the inspirational sources of heroism.
Dressed like the Victorian lady she is, Mary Kingsley investigates fetishes and sacrificial rites, and tackles spear traps and crocodiles with understatement and good humour. Equally stoic in facing hardship, Mungo Park leaves one of the most shocking pieces of travel accounts ever written. His fate at the fabled city of Tellem remains a mystery.
ON THE RUN
William Penn, courageous and surprisingly witty, fights for free juries; goes unarmed to negotiate with Indian tribes; and finds himself on the run in the slums of London. Before he dies he establishes Pennsylvania with a free local government and freedom of religion. His treaties with the Indians are never broken.
INTO THE HEART OF AFRICA
For at least two thousand years men had tried without success to find the source of the Nile. Born in Devonshire, commissioned in the British Indian Army, John Speke travelled through Tibet and the Himalaya before joining Richard Burton's party in exploring Somaliland in 1855. Speke is severely wounded in an attack, but manages to catch up with the expedition on the island of Zanzibar. The two explorers are determined to find the great lake that is said to lie in the heart of Africa. They reach and explore Lake Tanganyika, then Speke leaves Burton and heads north alone. In 1858 he reaches and names the great Lake Victoria, and identifies it as the source of the Nile. He proves his thesis in a second expedition in 1860, which is as full of exciting exploits as his first.
DIVING INTO THE TSUNAMI
An injured fireman on vacation in Thailand rescues women and children from the colossal wave.
There are hundreds of heroes and adventurers we have not written about. We hope you will tell us about the heroes you love, and want to see described here. To email us
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FOLLOWING HER HEART
AN ARMY NURSE
Never a dull moment on the road to Runnymede and Magna Carta
Frequently engaged in rescues, they maintain a sense of humour in desperate situations
You'll find more heroes in
He fights the Nazis and writes travel classics
This wonderful book describes Britain's gifts to the world. Adults will refresh their understanding of profound events in British history, and young people will find inspiration. Warning: This book defies aggressive secularism and unthinking multiculturalism. Written by the co-editors of this website, Share the Inheritance is beautifully illustrated with 125 colour images and a timeline. Available at Amazon UK and at Amazon USA.