Adrian Carton De Wiart VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Here's a one of a kind .... the likes of which we'll never see again !! :)

    Adrian Carton De Wiart
    Birth - May 5, 1880
    Death - Jun. 5, 1963

    World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. He was born in Brussels, Belgium; his father was a lawyer who later went to South Africa to practice law and became a naturalized British citizen. Carton de Wiart went to England to attend school and was at Balliol College, Oxford, when the Boer War broke out. He enlisted as a private in the Middlesex Yeomanry (Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars) and served with distinction in South Africa, being wounded twice and receiving the Queen’s Medal with three clasps. He was commissioned in 1901 and served in a variety of staff and command capacities until the outbreak of World War I. An action in Somaliland in 1915 lost him an eye but gained him a DSO and Mention in Despatches. After recuperating from his wounds he joined the 4th Dragoon Guards in Flanders, but was almost immediately wounded and lost his left hand. (In fact, the claim could be made that Carton de Wiart was the most wounded soldier in the British Army: twice in the Boer War, once in Somaliland and eight times on the Western Front; he was having shrapnel removed from his body for years afterwards.)

    He was awarded the VC for action at La Boisselle in the opening stages of the Battle of the Somme, July 2-3, 1916. From his citation: "For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature. It was owing in a great measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of supplies, passing unflinchingly through fire barrage of the most intense nature. His gallantry was inspiring to all." Carton de Wiart was involved in later fighting on the Somme, at Arras, and during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele).

    After the war he served with the British Military Mission to Poland, where he stayed for twenty years until World War II broke out. He then commanded troops with the unsuccessful British Expeditionary Force in Norway in 1940. In 1941 he was sent on another military mission to Yugoslavia, but his airplane was forced down off the Libyan coast, and he was made a prisoner of war by the Italians. He was released in August 1943 to assist the Italians in their surrender negotiations with the Allies. In October 1943 he was sent to China on still another military mission, this time as Winston Churchill’s personal representative to Chiang Kai-shek. Carton de Wiart retired in 1947, published his autobiography “Happy Journey” in 1950 (written without notes, as they had been lost when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939), and passed away at his home in Killinardrish, County Cork, Ireland, at the age of 83. His medals are on display at the National Army Museum, London

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