Chavasse, Captain Noel Godfrey, RAMC, (1888-1917). Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse V.C and Bar, MC, 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.
Clayton, Ann, Chavasse - Double VC , , Leo Cooper, (ISBN 0-85052-296-X)
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