13 April 2008

Victoria Cross: N. G. Chavasse


Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps; attached 1/10th Battalion The King's (Liverpool) Regiment

Born: 9 November 1884, Oxford
Died: 4 August 1917, near Ypres, Belgium

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.
During an attack [on 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France] 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 shell 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 twenty 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.

(London Gazette Issue 29802 dated 26 Oct 1916, published 24 Oct 1916.)

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action.
Though severely wounded early in the action [on 31 July 1917 at Wieltje, Belgium] whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Capt. Chavasse 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 in a number of badly wounded men, over heavy and difficult ground.
By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example, he was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions.
This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.

(London Gazette Issue 30284 dated 14 Sep 1917, published 14 Sep 1917.)

Note: Captain Chavasse is one of only three men who have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice.

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