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Forces War Records Blog


A ward honouring the memory of the only man to be awarded two Victoria Crosses in World War I has opened in Liverpool.

The Walton Centre's Chavasse Ward has been named after Captain Noel Chavasse, a Liverpool surgeon and army officer. Capt Chavasse won his first VC in 1916 and a second, posthumously, a year later.

Capt Chavasse received his first Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty after attending to wounded soldiers in the open while under heavy fire for two days at Guillemont in 1916.

He was awarded his second VC for refusing to leave his post after being severely wounded at Passchendaele in 1917, instead choosing to attend to wounded soldiers, again in the open and under heavy fire.

He later died of his wounds and was awarded his second medal posthumously.

Source: National Museums Liverpool

Medical director Dr Peter Enevoldson said he was proud to honour "a fellow doctor and an amazing man". "He was a true hero. It appears that his one mission in war was to save lives, even in the most appalling conditions and at enormous risk to himself," he said. Members of Capt Chavasse's family attended the opening, which also saw the unveiling of a permanent display detailing his achievements by the director general of the Army Medical Services, Major General Ewan Carmichael.

Family member Martin Baillie said the Chavasses had a "very strong family association with Liverpool, reflected in many ways including the Anglican Cathedral, which was founded by Noel's father, Chavasse Park and the memorial statue".

"It is particularly pleasing for the family that the people of Liverpool continue to honour his memory some 95 years after his death on the battlefields of the First World War," he said. Dr Enevoldson said Capt Chavasse's name had been suggested by several members of staff and the plan to name the ward after him had had "unanimous" support. A spokeswoman for the centre said the naming followed a tradition to name wards after "neuroscience luminaries", including Sir Hugh Cairns, Sir Charles Sherrington and Professor Norman Dott. Capt Chavasse died on 4 August 1917, at the age of 32, and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery in Belgium. He is remembered in Liverpool in a memorial in Chavasse Park and a statue in Abercromby Square. Source: BBC NEWS.  
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