Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse V.C and Bar, MC, RAMC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, May 5, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Chavasse, Captain Noel Godfrey, RAMC was Britain's most highly decorated soldier of World War I.

    Captain Chavasse was medical officer to the 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Battalion, The Kings (Liverpool) Regiment from 1914 to 1917.
    Captain Chavasse was a member of the Territorial Army, joining up at the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. He arrived in France on 2nd November 1914 with his battalion, and won his first medal, the Military Cross at Hooge on 17/18 June 1915. This award was gazetted on 14th January, 1916 but there was no citation due to the length of the list.

    It was on the 8th August 1916 during the attack on Guillemont, that Captain Chavasse performed the deeds that won him his first Victoria Cross. The award was gazetted on 26th October 1916 on page 10394 of the London Gazette with the following citation:

    During an attack he tended the wounded in the open all day, under heavy fire, frequently in view of the enemy. During the ensuing night he searched for wounded on the ground in front of the enemy's lines for four hours. Next day he took one stretcher-bearer to the advanced trenches, and, under heavy fire, carried an urgent case for 500 yards into safety, being wounded in the side by a shell splinter during the journey. The same night he took up a party of trusty volunteers, rescued three wounded men from a shell hole twenty five yards from the enemy's trench, buried the bodies of two officers and collected many identity discs, although fired on by bombs and machine guns. Altogether he saved the lives of some twenty badly wounded men, besides the ordinary cases which passed through his hands. His courage and self-sacrifice were beyond praise.

    Captain Chavasse won his second Victoria Cross on 31st July, 1917. The award was made posthumously; Captain Chavasse was so severely wounded by a shell which entered his dugout at Wieltje on 2nd August that he died of his wounds on 4th August, 1917. The citation in the London Gazette on 14 September, 1917 read:

    Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the dressing station, he refused to leave his post, and for two days, not only continued to perform his duties, but in addition, went out repeatedly under heavy fire to search for and attend to the wounded who were lying out. During these searches, although practically without food during this period, worn with fatigue and faint with his wound, he assisted to carry an number of badly wounded men over heavy and difficult ground. By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtably succumbed under the bad weather conditions. This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.

    Captain Chavasse is buried in Brandhoek Military Cemetery, near Poperinghe Belgium. His headstone has two Victoria Crosses inscribed in it.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    I'm pretty sure that Noel Chavasse played Rugby for Liverpool RFC before the War.

  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    You might be right Gareth ... I know he was a runner though ... him and Christopher !! :D

    Noel Chavasse the most decorated serviceman in British Military history once wore the colours of Sefton Harriers and competed along with his twin brother Christopher in the 1908 London Olympics. As a young doctor living and working in the South end of Liverpool prior to the outbreak of war, Noel was also an active athlete excelling in both athletics and rugby. Sefton Harriers based at the Florence Institute in Mill Street was the natural local club for the young Noel.

    Noel Chavasse lived at Bishop's Lodge, 19 Abercromby Square ( Abercromby Square now owned by the University of Liverpool ) His father was the second Bishop of Liverpool and ( twin brother Christopher was Bishop of Rochester ) Bishop's Lodge was originally built in 1863 for Charles Prioleau of South Carolina and Confederate States' Liverpool financial agent

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  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC and bar, MC, RAMC. Born - Oxford, Nov 9 1884. Died - Brandhoek, Aug 4 1917.

    Quite why the 'biopic' of Noel Godfrey Chavasse has not been made remains a mystery. He was like a character in Chariots of Fire - and one of only three individuals to be awarded the Victoria Cross and Bar - curiously he was related by marriage to one of the other two, New Zealander Charles Upham.

    Chavasse was medical officer of the 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Battalion, the King's (Liverpool) Regiment and was initially best known as an outstanding athlete at Oxford University, going up to Trinity College with his twin brother, Christopher, in 1904.
    Noel studied medicine at Oxford and was a stalwart of the Oxford University athletics and lacrosse teams, representing Great Britain in the 400 metres at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, finishing second in his heat though not qualifying for the final. Christopher finished third in his heat. Both competed in the 4 x 400m relay. He then concentrated on his medical career and automatically joined up as war loomed, becoming a field medic.

    Chavasse's first Victoria Cross was for his actions on Aug 9, 1916, at Guillemont in France, when he attended to the wounded all day, frequently in view of the enemy, and at night continued searching for injured men in front of the enemy's lines. The next day, under heavy shell fire, he and a stretcher bearer carried an urgent case 500 yards to safety. He was wounded himself during the journey, but the same night, with 20 volunteers, he rescued three men from a shell hole 35 yards from enemy trenches. Altogether he saved the lives of about 20 wounded men.

    Chavasse's second Victoria Cross, awarded posthumously, was a result of his actions between July 31-Aug 2, 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium. His citation read: "Capt Chavasse, although severely wounded early in the action while carrying a wounded officer to the dressing station, refused to leave his post and, in addition to his normal duties, went out repeatedly under heavy fire to attend the wounded. During this time, although practically without food, worn with fatigue and faint from his wound, he helped to carry in badly wounded men, being instrumental in saving many who would otherwise have died under the bad weather conditions. Captain Chavasse later died of his wounds in Brandhoek."

    On the eve of his second Victoria Cross, Chavasse's younger brother, Aiden, had been lost in action at Ypres, while Christopher was awarded the MC for his part in the battle. His father wrote with the news but Noel had been killed by the time the letter arrived.
  6. royjo71

    royjo71 New Member

    Clearly Captain Noel Chavasse was a hero. He has a statue in Liverpool. What bugs me is the fact that there was an area to the west of the city centre named chavasse park, next to the Holiday inn/moat house hotel. Not the most beautiful park in the world, but one with a story to tell. It has gone now, in favour of the Liverpool one shopping centre. Dissapointing.


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