Noel Chavasse 


Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a medical doctor and British Army officer in the First World War who is one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice. On 1st November, 1914 when Chavasse left with his battalion for France, he wrote to his father, ‘Goodbye my dear father. I am going to do my best to be a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ and King George.’
Noel quickly gained a reputation for special commitment to his men and for his outspoken advocacy. It was not usual for medical officers to do the regular dangerous work of search and rescue for the wounded in the lethal No Man's Land. But it was common practice for Noel Chavasse to work with surgery all day then to go with the orderlies and stretcher bearers into No Man's Land at night leading the way with exploding shells and bullets whistling around their ears.
Towards the end of July 1916, Chavasse’s Liverpool Scottish Battalion was sent to the trenches of The Somme. The 8th August attempt to advance on Guillemont resulted in heavy losses. In Death Valley under a hail of machine gun fire, the battalion of 600 soldiers was decimated. Twice wounded by shell blasts, Noel kept working. He went to within 20 metres of the German front line to rescue three wounded brothers resulting in his first Victoria Cross. The citation reads: ‘His courage and self-sacrifice, were beyond praise.’
After he recovered, similar sacrificial action in the offensive at Passchendaele gained him a second VC. The second citation reads: ‘Though severely wounded early in the action 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… By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example, he was instrumental in rescuing many wounded... This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.’