Bishop James Jones remembers Noel Chavasse, VC and Bar, MC
As part of today's Armistice Day commemorations, the Rt Revd James Jones, former bishop of Liverpool (1998-2013) and college Visitor, remembered Captain Noel Chavasse, VC and Bar, MC, on this morning's Radio 4 Thought for the Day.
Reflecting on Liverpool's links with the building of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, Bishop Jones recalled the life of Noel Chavasse, son of St Peter's founder, Francis Chavasse (1846-1928), who was himself bishop of Liverpool before, during, and after the Great War.
Noel Godfrey Chavasse is today best known as the only person to win the Victoria Cross twice during World War I. He was born on 9 November 1884 and baptised at the church of St Peter-le-Bailey, now the college chapel. He was a student at Magdalen College School and Trinity College, Oxford, from which he graduated with a degree in Natural Science in 1907.
Subsequently training at Liverpool in medicine, with the outbreak of WWI he went to France with the Royal Army Medical Corps as a doctor attached to the Liverpool Scottish Regiment. There he won the Military Cross at Hooge in May 1915, and the Victoria Cross 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. He made several innovations in the methods and procedures for the medical care of soldiers, and took progressive steps to help men suffering from the mental pressures of trench warfare. He frequently clashed with his superiors in his attempts to improve military hygiene.
Noel was seriously wounded by a shell on 2 August 1917 while attending to wounded men in no-man's land. He subsequently died on the 4 August and was buried at Brandhoek military cemetery. He was posthumously awarded a second Victoria Cross. His medals, along with those awarded to his siblings, are today displayed in the college chapel.
Bishop Jones's full reflection can be listened to on the BBC Sounds website.