Donald Dean VC

Terry Crowdy, Susan Bavin

Date Published :
July 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
40 black and white photos and maps
No associated books available.


Donald Dean lied about his age to enlist in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and serve on the Western Front, where he worked his way up from Private to acting Captain. It was in the last weeks of the war, late in September 1918, that he won his VC for leading a platoon in the determined defense of a recently captured and isolated trench against repeated German counterattacks. In one of these attacks, the Germans actually broke into the trench, forcing Dean to break off a radio call for artillery support with the words 'The Germans are here, goodbye!' Refusing to be overrun, he personally killed four of the Germans before they were finally evicted.

Dean also served in World War II, witnessing the fall of France in 1940 and claiming to be the last Brit to get out of Boulogne. His frank account of the evacuation challenges some cherished conceptions and is very critical of the conduct of the Irish Guards in particular. He went on to fight in Madagascar, Sicily and the Italian mainland. Donald Dean died in 1985.

Military historian Terry Crowdy has edited Dean's letters and diaries, never previously published, adding additional notes and material from official reports to give the reader context. The result is a moving, often amusing and inspiring portrait of a little-known hero of two world wars.

About The Author

T.E. CROWDY is a well-established author specializing in the Napoleonic Wars and espionage history. Known for his lively narrative and attention to detail, Crowdy’s research on Marengo has won awards with the respected Napoleon Series Writing Contest. Marengo is the product of twenty years of research and visits to the battlefield. The author is the Fire and Emergency Planning Adviser for Historic Royal Palaces. He lives in Rainham, Kent.


"A Fascinating account of WW1 VC who also saw much action in Second World War."

- Victoria Cross Society

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