The History of Captain Chavasse

The History of Captain Chavasse

Thursday 12 March 2020

Ever wondered why our park is called Chavasse Park? It’s actually named after hero Noel Chavasse, the only soldier to be awarded two Victoria Cross medals during the First World War.

To honour Noel Chavasse we want more people to know about his incredible bravery. So, who was he? Noel Godfrey Chavasse was born in Oxford in 1884 and was the son of the Right Reverend Francis Chavasse. He arrived in Liverpool in 1900 after his father took up the post of Bishop of Liverpool and attended Liverpool College, where he excelled at sport – he actually represented Great Britain in the 400 metres at the Olympics in 1908!

After training to become a doctor, he joined the British Army as a medical officer, where he was attached to the 1/10th Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. Although he wasn’t a frontline soldier, Noel Chavasse was responsible for some of the bravest and most unselfish acts of the entire four-year conflict and became the most decorated soldier of the war for his actions.

to the left, showing noel chavasse himself and to the right, his monument at chavasse park

His first award was the Military Cross, which he received for his actions in June 1915 at Hooge near Ypres. For nearly 48 hours, he continually went into no man’s land to help treat the wounded and only stopped when he was satisfied he could do no more. Additionally, his first Victoria Cross was awarded for his actions in August 1916 on the Somme where he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire. It’s estimated he saved the lives of some 20 seriously injured men, as well as treating countless others.

His second Victoria Cross was awarded for his action in July and August 1917 in Wieltje, Belgium. Despite being severely wounded in his skull, he refused to leave his post and carried on performing his duties, as well as searching for and helping the wounded lying out under heavy fire. Once again, his brave actions saved the lives of countless men who would have likely died as a result of the poor weather conditions.

Even after being struck by a shell at his first-aid post on 2 August, he put others before himself and crawled for half a mile to get help for the others. He died on 4 August, but not before dictating a letter to his fiancée Gladys in which he explained he carried on working because “duty called and called me to obey”.

Plan your visit

Planning on visiting Chavasse Park, the Museum of Liverpool or Abercromby Square to pay your respects to Captain Chavasse?  Pre-book your parking with Q Park now and get up to 40% off.

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