THE ORDERS AND DECORATIONS AWARDED TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL SIR ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO, 4TH DRAGOON GUARDS.
22 January 2010

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart's military career in the British Army was probably one of the most prestigious in its history. His first foray abroad was to travel privately to South Africa, enlisting as a Trooper in the Imperial Light Horse, to take part in the 2nd Boer War. In September 1901 Carton de Wiart accepted a commission in the 4th Dragoon Guards and upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw him in Somaliland fighting Dervish Forces where he lost an eye and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order.

After returning to England in early 1915 his regiment was posted to France later in the year where throughout the war he lost a hand at Zonnebeke and was wounded a further eight times, each time returing to the fray. It was whilst commanding the 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, at La Boiselle that he earned his Victoria Cross.


During the Second World War Carton de Wiart was still earning awards and decorations but at some point the General's house was bombed in London and his medals were thought to have been destroyed or lost. He therefore applied to the War Office for official replacements, which were issued to him, and to which he added the Orders and decorations subsequently awarded for his service in the Second World War.

After Adrian Carton de Wiart's death on 5th June 1963 in Co Cork, the 'original' set of medals, including his Victoria Cross were found among his effects in his estate. With Lady Carton de Wiart's agreement they were first placed in the safe custody of the Ogibly Trust and then entrusted into the care of the National Army Museum. She also agreed that the later 'replacement' set, being more complete, should be handed over to the General's old regiment, the 4th / 7th Royal Dragoon Guards Museum in Halifax, South Yorkshire.

Sadly, this set of medals were stolen from the Halifax Museum sometime during the 1960s and a further replacement set was commissioned by the regiment. These medals now comprise the full medal entitlement of Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart and are held by the 4th / 7th Royal Dragoon Guards Museum in York.

Below is a list of the two sets of medals, the second 'replacement' set and the 'original' medals earned by Carton de Wiart and held by the National Army Museum. The gaps in the NAM's holding represents the missing 'original' medals stolen from the Halifax Museum.


( select to enlarge )


4th Dragoon Guards 'replacement' medal set National Army Museum 'original' medal set
Victoria Cross Victoria Cross
Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire ( KBE )
Companion, Order of the Bath ( CB ) Companion, Order of the Bath ( CB )
Companion, Order of St Michael & St George ( CMG ) Companion, Order of St Michael & St George ( CMG )
Commander, Legion of Honour ( France )
Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ) Distinguished Service Order ( DSO )
Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 ) Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 )
4 clasps: "Cape Colony" - "Orange Free State" 4 clasps: "Cape Colony" - "Orange Free State"
"Transvaal" - "South Africa 1901" "Transvaal" - "South Africa 1901"
Africa General Service Medal ( 1902-56 )
1 clasp: "Shimber Berris 1914-15"
1914 - 15 Star 1914 - 15 Star
British War Medal ( 1914-20 ) No medal ( suspension & part ribbon only )
Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf
1939 - 45 Star
Africa Star
Burma Star
Italy Star
War Medal ( 1939-45 ) + MiD Oakleaf
King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 ) King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
Order of the Crown ( Belgium ) Order of the Crown ( Belgium )
Order of Military Virtue ( Poland ) Order of Military Virtue ( Poland )
Croix de Guerre ( Belgium ) Croix de Guerre ( Belgium )
Cross of Valour ( Poland ) Cross of Valour ( Poland )
Cross of Valour ( Poland ) Cross of Valour ( Poland )
Croix de Guerre ( France )


[ London Gazette, 9 September 1916 ], For the award of the Victoria Cross, La Boiselle, France, 2 - 3 July 1916, Captain ( T / Lieutenant Colonel ) Adrian Carton de Wiart, DSO, 4th Dragoon Guards, command 8th Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature. ( La Boiselle, France ).

It was owing in a great measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands, and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of supplies, passing unflinchingly through fire barrage of the most intense nature.

His gallantry was inspiring to all.

Adrian Carton de Wiart was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 29th November 1916.


[ London Gazette, 15 May 1915 ], Created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ), Captain Adrian Carton de Wiart, 4th ( Royal Irish ) Dragoon Guards.

For distinguished service in the field in connection with the operations against Dervish Forces at Shimber Berris, Somaliland, during the months of November 1914 and February 1915.

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Iain Stewart, 22 January 2010