THE “incredible” story of a Salisbury war hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the First World War is the focus of a new book.

'My Dad, Colonel Tom VC: The Life and Legacy of Lt Col Tom Edwin Adlam VC' has been penned by his youngest son Clive.

Tom Adlam was born in Salisbury, where he spent most of his early years before joining the army at the outbreak of the First World War.

The book explores his life as well as giving a detailed account of his actions at the Battle of the Somme, which saw him receive the Victoria Cross, the British and Commonwealth’s highest award for gallantry.

Salisbury Journal:

Clive, 91, says his cousin phoned him out of the blue to say she had been approached regarding commemorations for the Battle of the Somme at Thiepval and relatives of Lt Col Adlam were being sought to speak at the service in June 2016. He accepted an invitation to speak about his father at the service in front of 10,000 people including dignitaries and the Royal family.

"I was most elated and so pleased to be able to speak about my dad and what he'd done," says Clive.

"Strangely when I finished I felt rather disappointed. It was all over in a few minutes and there was so much more I could have told them about what my dad had done, It was only a very small part of the story of why he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

"I thought about this for a while afterwards and eventually thought the only thing I could do would be to write a book and tell the full account of what he did and his life story". While writing the book Clive used family photos, old newspaper cuttings and other memorabilia that his father had kept. In civilian life he was a headmaster in Hampshire.

Salisbury Journal:

Clive says his father rarely spoke to his family about his time during the war but the story of his heroics only came to light during an interview with his father about his Victoria Cross in 1974.

"When the Imperial War Museum interviewed my dad it was the first time we had ever really heard the story of why he was awarded the Victoria Cross. I t was quite incredible. He rarely ever spoke about it, like most other people who had been through that awful time. He just didn't like talking about it", he says.

Leading just 12 men he cleared two enemy trenches defending the strategically placed village of Thiepval after seven previous attempts by the whole battalion which had all ended in failure.

Lt Col Adlam VC, who was born in Salisbury on October 21,1893 in Farley Road, attended St Martin’s Primary School and Bishop Wordsworth’s School.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1912. When war broke out in 1914 he was called up into the Army and posted to India and worked his way through the ranks to become a Sergeant. When stationed at Quetta, he applied for a commission and returned to England.

Lt Col Adlam later joined the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment as a second lieutenant in November 1915.

He unveiled the city's war memorial in February 1922.

He was called into service once again at the outbreak of the Second World War and rose from the rank of Captain to Lt Colonel

He lived to the age of 81 - passing away on May 28, 1975.

A special paving stone to commemorate Lt Col Adlam was unveiled at the Guildhall Square War Memorial in 2016.

Salisbury Journal:

The book is available to buy online at