Johnson Beharry VC - Barefoot Soldier
On 18 March 2005, Johnson Beharry, a private with the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, received Britain's highest award for gallantry. He became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross for nearly forty years.
Born a world away, in an isolated village on the Caribbean island of Grenada, Johnson forged his instincts for survival against a backdrop of grinding poverty. One of eight children, with a volatile, alcoholic father, he grew up in a tiny wooden shack, never knowing what challenges the next day would bring.
With encouragement from his beloved gran, he dreamed of a better life, of a place where he 'could make something of himself. But arriving in England at the age of nineteen, he discovered that his new home offered just as many dangers. To escape a life that was sliding out of control, he decided to enlist with the British Army.
The driver of a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, Johnson Beharry carried out two acts of outstanding heroism during a series of explosive operations in southern Iraq and, in doing so, saved the lives of thirty of his companions. He was just twenty-four years old. In the second action, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded six inches from his head, and yet he managed to reverse his vehicle out of the ambush zone before collapsing. Nobody thought he would survive.
Against all odds, he emerged from his coma, was evacuated to the UK and endured a series of complex operations to remove shrapnel and bone shards from his brain. Then he began his most painful and remarkable journey of all - the journey to recovery.
Frank, heartbreaking, but laced with Johnson's irrepressible humour, BAREFOOT SOLDIER is an utterly compelling story of extraordinary courage that will inspire this and future generations.