Noel Chavasse first Victoria Cross honoured
The Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson OBE, and Mark Damazer CBE, Master of St Peter's College, today unveiled a commemorative paving slab in honour of Captain Noel Chavasse, the only person to win the Victoria Cross twice in World War I and twin brother of St Peter's first Master, Christopher Chavasse.
The unveiling coincided with the 100th Anniversary of Captain Chavasse's first Victoria Cross, which was awarded for his actions on 9 August 1916 during the Battle of Guillemont, part of the larger Battle of the Somme. The paving slab is one of hundreds that are being laid between 2014 and 2018 to commemorate the Victoria Cross winners of World War I. It is located outside the chapel of St Peter's College, where Noel Chavasse was baptised, and opposite 36 New Inn Hall Street, the house in which he was born.
Speaking at the event, Mark Damazer said, "The heroism and duty displayed by Noel Chavasse is of an order of magnitude that is difficult to comprehend. He was clearly an extraordinary man who did extraordinary things in extraordinary times and we can only marvel and give thanks. He saved countless lives as an army medic and never fired a shot. St Peter’s is extremely proud to have the association with Noel Chavasse, and indeed with the Chavasse family, many of whom served with great distinction in the First World War, including Noel’s identical twin brother, Christopher, who was the first Master of St Peter’s".
The ceremony was attended by civic and military dignitaries, including representatives from both the Liverpool Scottish and Royal Army Medical Corps, with whom Noel Chavasse served, as well as over 30 members of the current Chavasse family. The slab was officially inaugurated by the laying of a wreath by Thomas Chavasse, Noel Chavasse's nephew, and James Chavasse, his great-great nephew.
The unveiling forms part of the series of commemorative events 'Duty, Courage, Faith: The Chavasse Family in World War I'.