Keeping it in the family


Three men, two generations, one award. In this exclusive article, Lord Ashcroft profiles the Gough family’s Victoria Cross recipients and asks, is battlefield bravery hereditary?

Iam sometimes asked whether I think there is a ‘bravery gene’. My simple answer to that is “not specifically”, but there is undoubtedly overwhelming evidence that some families have a greater propensity to display immense courage. Step forward… the Gough clan.

Their achievement over two generations is nothing short of incredible. Two brothers were both awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain and the Commonwealth’s premier award for gallantry in the presence of the enemy, in the mid-19th century. Then, early in the 20th century, one of these VC recipients’ sons was also awarded the VC, meaning three close members of the same family each received the famous decoration in less than half a century.

At the very least, this could suggest that valour runs in the blood.

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