November 2009

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Captain Noel Chavasse,
Royal Army Medical Corps
att'd King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment ( Liverpool Scottish )

  • Victoria Cross & Bar
  • Military Cross ( MC )
  • 1914 Star + clasp "5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914"
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf

It has been announced that the Victoria Cross and Bar, Military Cross, and WWI campaign medals awarded to Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, Royal Army Medical Corps, attached King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment ( Liverpool Scottish ), have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection. The Trust has reputedly paid around £1.5 million pounds for the group.

The Victoria Cross & Bar group of medals were initially held for a number of years by St. Peter's College, Oxford. However, in February 1990 it was decided by the Chavasse family and the college to send the group to the Imperial War Museum in London where it has been on a long loan. This decision was made purely for security reasons.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 26 October 1916 ], Guillemont, France, 9 August 1916, Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, MC. Royal Army Medical Corps, att'd King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment ( Liverpool Scottish ).

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty ( Guillemont, France ).

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 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, beside the ordinary cases which passed through his hands. His courage and self-sacrifice were beyond praise.

For the award of a Bar to the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 14 September 1917 ], Wieltje, Belgium, 31 July - 2 August 1917, Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC, MC. Royal Army Medical Corps, att'd King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment ( Liverpool Scottish ).

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action ( Wieltje, Flanders ).

Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Captain 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.

For the award of a Military Cross.

[ London Gazette, 14 January 1916 ], Battle of Hooge, Belgium, 10 June 1915, Lieutenant Noel Chavasse, Royal Army Medical Corps, att'd King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment ( Liverpool Scottish ).

Chavasse was recommended by his Commanding Officer for a Military Cross for his work during the battle but unfortunately the recommendations were lost at Divisional level and not one of the battalion received any recognition for their actions. ( Chavasse was finally awarded the Military Cross on 14 January 1916, but there was no citation in the London Gazette owing to the lost recommendation and the length of the list ).

Noel Chavasse died of wounds two days after his VC Bar action on the 4th August 1917 at the Brandhoek Road Casualty Clearing Station, Ypres, Belgium. He is buried at the Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Vlamertinghe, Belgium, with two Victoria Crosses carved into his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.


Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 24 November 2009