Noel Chavasse letters

Correspondence of Captain Noel Chavasse VC and Bar MC, 1914-1917

Following the outbreak of World War I, Noel Chavasse went to France as a Royal Army Medical Corps doctor attached to the Liverpool Scottish Regiment. There he won the Military Cross at Hooge in May 1915, and the first of his two Victoria Crosses at Guillemont in August 1916. He was famous for his dedication to the wellbeing of his men and his bravery when rescuing wounded soldiers from no-man's land. 

Despite the daily horrors of trench warfare, his duty to the men under his command, and the constant stream of wounded soldiers who came into his care, Noel, in an attempt to maintain a tradition he had first begun while a student at Oxford, nevertheless found time to write regularly to his parents and siblings telling them of his news. 

His numerous letters, which are today conserved at the Imperial War Museum, offer a unique insight into life on the frontlines during World War I. They record everything from Noel's pioneering efforts to improve fitness and hygiene among his men, to poignant accounts of those he witnessed give up their lives, including many of his own friends, fighting for their country. They also shed remarkable light on the ways in which both he and his family responded to the horrors of a war that would eventually claim Noel's own life on 4 August 1917.

As part of the St Peter's celebrations marking the remarkable role played by the Chavasse family in World War I, this page will make available throughout 2016/17 a selection of Noel's letters.

The descriptions and images of these letters have been made available with the kind permission of the Chavasse family.

Questions, corrections and enquiries about the use of images should be directed to archives@spc.ox.ac.uk

1914 1915

Letters sent Aug 1914 - Oct 1914

Letters sent Nov 1914 - Dec 1914

Letters sent Jan 1915 - Mar 1915

Letters sent Apr 1915 - Jul 1915

Letters sent Aug 1915 - Oct 1915

Letters sent Nov 1915 - Dec 1915

1916 1917

Letters sent Jan 1916 - Mar 1916

Letters sent Apr 1916 - Jul 1916

Letters sent Aug 1916 - Oct 1916

Letters sent Nov 1916 - Dec 1916

Letters sent Jan 1917 - Apr 1917

Letters sent May 1917 - Jul 1917