[November 30, 2014] As a continuing tribute to those involved in World War I, we are recognizing Captain Noel Chavasse of Great Britain. He was part of the Scottish Liverpool Regiment that saw active combat across France, being awarded two Victoria Crosses for action in 1916 – being the highest decorated British soldier in the war.1
Noel Chavasse showed extreme bravery in the face of the enemy on many occasions, being severely wounded several times. The last wound occurred in 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele. He died shortly after from those wounds. From July through November 1917, the Allies made a strenuous attempt to break the Germans during the Battle of Passchendaele because it was thought they were on the verge of collapse.2
Noel Chavasse is a true hero for all who cherish freedom. We salute him and his men for their bravery and service to the cause of defeating the Axis powers.
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Primary Sources for Captain Neol Chavasse’s Victoria Crosses:
The London Gazette (October 28, 1916)
During an attack he (Noel Chavasse) 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.
The London Gazette (September 14, 1916)
Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the dressing station, he (Noel 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 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 undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions. This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.