Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.
The October issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Captain Noel Chavasse, the only person to be awarded a VC & Bar – equivalent to two VCs – during the Great War.
Chavasse was born in Oxford, and, along with his twin brother Christopher, was the son of the Bishop of Liverpool. One of seven children and Oxford-educated, he was commissioned as a lieutenant into the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) as the First World War loomed.
After initially being awarded the MC, Chavasse was awarded the VC in October 1916 for bravery at Guillemont, France, over two days in late July 1916 when he repeatedly went in no-man’s land to save the lives of an estimated twenty seriously-wounded soldiers.
He was awarded a posthumous Bar to his VC in September 1917 for further bravery over three days from July 31 to August 2 1917 at the Third Battle of Ypres, when he again helped many badly-wounded soldiers. However, Chavasse himself received several serious wounds over the three days and died on August 4 1917, aged 32.
Lord Ashcroft purchased Chavasse’s medal group privately in 2009 – only three VCs and Bars have been awarded in the VC’s entire 160-year history.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past four years have been largely based on excerpts from four of his books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes and Heroes of the Skies. His sixth bravery book, Victoria Cross Heroes Volume II, will be published next month.
For the foreseeable future, Lord Ashcroft’s “hero of the month” articles will concentrate on men who were awarded the VC during the First World War. Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who has lectured extensively on courage and his various medal collections.
- Lord Ashcroft’s latest article appears in the October issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.