90 Years of Heroes - Matt Croucher GC

The Royal British Legion was founded in 1921. It is now the country’s leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to those who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their dependants. The RBL is behind the annual Poppy Appeal, the highest profile charity appeal in Britain.

This superbly illustrated book has the full support of the Royal British Legion and will tell the complete story of its history through exclusive access to its archives, thus providing a celebratory, as well informative, tribute to their work over the past 90 years. It will be the definitive history of this much-loved organisation, charting its work with soldiers and former-service individuals through the stories of its heroes, famous as well as unknown, during the highest-profile military campaigns of the past 90 years. The book will be divided into nine chapters, each representing one decade in the RBL’s existence. Each chapter will celebrate one hero per year; 1921, 1922, 1923, etc. giving an account of that particular person, and what they achieved. Within each chapter will be special spreads that emphasise also the social history of the evolution of the RBL as a charity, supported with iconic imagery and text. Each one of the heroes, from 1921 right through to 2011, has been personally chosen by decorated Royal Marine and RBL ambassador, Lance Corporal Matt Croucher GC. Men such as Major Robert Henry Cain VC (1909-1974), who destroyed six tanks during Operation ‘Market Garden’ at Arnhem in 1944 and was one of the only officers from his battalion to escape the German encirclement of the British 1st Airborne Division.

The book will be published in late autumn to coincide with the 2011 Poppy Appeal, which will be the biggest in the Legion’s history, with events running nationwide, TV advertising, celebrity involvement and a high-profile marketing campaign. Matt Croucher will be involved in the campaign as an ambassador for the RBL. For any serving member of the armed forces, or those retired from service, or members of the public who are keen to know about this beloved organisation; this will be a fascinating and valued purchase, knowing that royalties will be going to the charity themselves.

General Sir David Richards GCB CBE DSO ADC Gen

"It is a great privilege to introduce the Royal British Legion's 90 Years of Heroes. I have had the honour of commanding British Forces at every level from platoon upwards over the past 40 years and have learned many things about heroism. While it is clear that those represented in this book represent the very best of our people and our nation there are heroes among our men and women than those who wear medals."

"Every time I go to visit troops in Helmand or at an air station or on a warship, I am reminded of the raw courage so many need to do their daily jobs. Willingly going on patrols they know put them in harm's way, consciously diving in dangerous waters or flying over enemy positions which test their nerves as any moment could change their future for ever. This quiet courage, the kind that is often unreported and too often unrewarded, is the ordinary, daily life for many of the young men and women I am so honoured to lead. It reminds me of the times my father did so much the same in the Second World War and others including my grandfather did the same nearly a century ago."

"The title 90 Years of Heroes applies just as well to the Royal British Legion. Over the years the Legion has heroically defended the rights of servicemen and women who have returned from combat to find the hardest challenges before them - adapting to life changing injuries and getting on with ordinary life. This quiet heroism, and the heroism of those who supported and still support them, is a vital part of what makes the Legion so essential to fabric of our military covenant."

"for all these reasons I am honoured to be part of this appeal for the Royal British Legion and the look forward to the book exceeding all fundraising targets."

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PM David Cameron

'The Royal British Legion is as relevant today as it was 90 years ago. The formation of the charity enhanced the welfare and support available to all those who have served this country and, throughout the years, has provided a poignant symbol for remembrance through the Poppy Appeal. While the needs of service personnel and veterans have changed over that time, the need for the Royal British Legion has not. The care and support provided is as vital now as it was in 1921 and since then, the Royal British Legion has helped and touched millions of people. I am delighted to continue to support their work."

"This 90th anniversary year is a time for us to remember just how much the Royal British Legion does acre for our Armed Forces and their families, from those who served in the two world wars to those who are serving in Afghanistan. I hugely value and appreciate all the devotion and effort undertaken by the Royal British Legion. I know that, whatever the problems encountered by those who have served with our Armed Forces. they are never too great or too small for the Legion to deal with, and many lives have truly benefited from the fantastic work they do."

"It is our duty to remember and honour the fallen, and the nation remains grateful to the Royal British Legion for maintaining their role as the country's custodians of remembrance. The poppy is one of the most recognised symbols of remembrance and I truly believe that the simple nature of wearing a poppy is representative of the appreciation of our nation to those who have fallen. The poppy remains as effective toady as it has done for the past 90 years and this is all made possible by the Legion. The work carried out every year is nothing short of spectacular, and I hope that the nationwide support towards this is everlasting."

"Finally, I cannot give enough praise to all the former and current service personnel, who have so admirably served this country. The Coalition Government and I recognise and fully appreciate the professionalism, dedication and sacrifices that our Servicemen and Women have made on a daily basis while serving and protecting this country."

"This book is a fitting tribute to recognise "90 years of Heroes" and the work carried out by the Royal British Legion. Long may the Legion stand shoulder to shoulder with all who serve within our Armed Forces."


Bullet Proof - Matt Croucher GC

One Marine's ferocious account of close combat behind enemy lines

AFGHANISTAN, FEBRUARY 2008: in an out-of-control, dangerous country torn apart by war, littered with Taliban guerrilla forces and thousands of miles from home, Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, a Royal Marine with 40 Commando, accidentally activates a grenade whilst on a covert patrol behind enemy lines.

With only a split second to react, Croucher’s instincts kick in and he throws himself beside the grenade, reasoning that saving the lives of his three comrades was worth the likelihood of losing his own. 

Miraculously, and against all the odds, Croucher survived, and mere hours later was taking part in a gun battle against local insurgent fighters, demonstrating a raw, unique courage and devotion to military duty that would later see him awarded the George Cross - a distinction bestowed only on those who perform acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.

Croucher’s George Cross would make him famous around the world. But his story is much more than just one heroic act in isolation. His is a life of bullets, blood and loyalty, and of lives saved and lives taken. From a young marine aged 19, when he was one of the first 200 Allied soldiers to invade Iraq back in 2003 as part of an elite force of British Royal Marines Commandos and US Special Forces, through to his second tour of duty in 2004, when he suffered a fractured skull following a roadside bomb attack, only to return to action just weeks later, and then being thrust into hellish Afghanistan, Croucher has seen vicious fighting, intense gun battles, roadside ambushes, and witnessed the death and injury of close colleagues on an almost daily basis.

This is his incredible story: a searing, vivid, non-stop account of one man’s heroism and courage under fire, in the most gruelling combat environment since the Second World War.


Flash Point - Matt Croucher GC

The fantastic debut military fiction novel from a very modern British hero

Click here to purchase Matt Croucher GC 'Flash Point' from Amazon.co.uk

Dan Coldrain is a former elite Royal Marine Commando haunted by the death of his best mate Reese, killed in action by enemy forces. Coldrain used to believe in honour, service, and the call of duty, but haunted by Reese’s death, he drops out of service and instead seeks the lucrative pay cheques on the private military contractor’s circuit.

Soon the Sandman, a shadowy figure with connections to the political underworld, lurks into view, with a proposal for Coldrain: find a man called Dogan – a terrorist responsible for a slew of lethal IED attacks in both Iraq and Afghanistan – detain him and hand him over to the Sandman. For this simple task Coldrain will be granted a four-man team, access to high-grade weapons and explosives and vehicles, and a cool £1 million per head once the mission is completed.

And so the hunt begins, with the contractors dragged through hell and back in search of their deadly suspect. Will Coldrain and his team complete their mission successfully? And, most importantly, will Coldrain battle the demons which so haunt him over his friend’s death?