BY JOHNSON BEHARRY VC & NICK COOK
Johnson Beharry was born in 1979 in Grenada as one of eight children, living in a two-bedroom hut, surviving on meagre meals of beans and rice and walking barefoot, three miles to school. At 13 he quit school and worked as a decorator and labourer. In 1999 he scraped together the airfare for England and joined the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.
He served six months in Kosovo, three months in Northern Ireland and then went to Iraq. On 1 May 2004, Beharry helped assist a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. His vehicle was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades but he drove through the ambush and extracted his wounded colleagues from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for ‘valour of the highest order’.
While back on duty on 11 June 2004, a rocket propelled grenade hit Beharry’s vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his very serious head injuries, Beharry took control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries, and he was still recovering when he was awarded the VC in March 2005.
Nick is an author of twenty fiction and non-fiction titles in the US and the UK, including several ghost-written Sunday Times bestsellers. He is well known for his ground-breaking, best-selling non-fiction work, The Hunt For Zero Point. He has also written, produced and presented two feature-length documentaries for the History and Discovery channels.
As an accomplished keynote speaker, Nick imparts his wealth of experience passionately on issues such as global challenges, sustainability, defence and security, the future of technology, the power of story – and (tapping the theme of his new, fact-based thriller The Grid) the human mind itself.
In 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Nick launched, via NickCook.Works, a ‘Call to Action’ for cross-sector solutions to Global Challenges fuelled by the power of Aerospace and Defence sector science and technology. For more on this, please click here.