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Adrian Carton de Wiart

Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Died when: 83 years 31 days (997 months)
Star Sign: Taurus

 

Adrian Carton de Wiart

This article uses a Belgian surname: his surname is Carton de Wiart, not Wiart Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart, (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963) was a British Army officer born of Belgian and Irish parents.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" in various Commonwealth countries.

He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War.He was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; was blinded in his left eye; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and tore off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them.

Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, "Frankly I had enjoyed the war." After returning home from service (including a period as a prisoner-of-war) in the Second World War, he was sent to China as Winston Churchill's personal representative.

While en route he attended the Cairo Conference.In his memoirs, Carton de Wiart wrote, "Governments may think and say as they like, but force cannot be eliminated, and it is the only real and unanswerable power.

We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose." Carton de Wiart was thought to be a model for the character of Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook in Evelyn Waugh's trilogy Sword of Honour.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography described him thus: "With his black eyepatch and empty sleeve, Carton de Wiart looked like an elegant pirate, and became a figure of legend."


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