Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC

Noel Godfrey Chavasse, photo courtesy Liverpool Daily Post and EchoThis page is dedicated to the memory of Noel Godfrey Chavasse, Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps, attached the 1/10th King’s (Liverpool Regiment), the Liverpool Scottish. One of just three men to have been twice awarded the Victoria Cross and the only soldier to gain both awards during the First World War.

Guillemont, August 1916: “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“.

Wieltje, August 1917: “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 undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions. This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds“.

Noel died whilst in the care of 32nd Casualty Clearing Station, situated at Brandhoek between Ypres and Poperinge. He lies in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, his headstone unique in carrying two emblems of the VC.

The headstone of Noel's grave at Brandhoek - one of the most visited sites in the Ypres area.

The headstone of Noel’s grave at Brandhoek – one of the most visited sites in the Ypres area.

A 1998 memorial with explanation can be found near the village church.

His full story can be read in Ann Clayton’s excellent biography:

Links

King’s (Liverpool Regiment)

55th (West Lancashire) Division