First World War Veteran Honoured With Memorial Service 100 Years On

First World War Veteran Honoured With Memorial Service 100 Years On

A memorial service to honour a First World War hero has been recreated – 100 years after it was originally held.

Captain Noel Chavasse, who served as a medic, was the only officer to be awarded two Victoria Cross medals during the First World War.

A centenary service was held at Liverpool Parish Church, where his memorial service had originally been held on August 29 1917.

The service included hymns which Capt Chavasse had chosen for his original service, as well as readings and psalms.

Extracts from diaries and letters of Capt Chavasses’s colleagues and family were also read during the ceremony, which was attended by his relatives, and Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Rev Paul Bayes paid tribute to him in a sermon.

Capt Chavasse’s sword was carried into the church at the beginning of the service and was on display throughout the service.

Thomas Aidan Chavasse, Capt Chavasse’s nephew, said: “Noel’s life was characterised by duty, service, and above all a deep sense of compassion and care for both the citizens of Liverpool, and for his brothers in arms in the Liverpool Scottish Regiment.

“This August, we both mourn and celebrate his extraordinary life and death, and in particular his supreme acts of bravery and courage in saving so many lives on the battlefield.”

Capt Chavasse was also honoured with a commemorative paving stone, unveiled at Abercromby Square Gardens in Liverpool.

The war hero was born in Oxford in 1884 but moved to Merseyside in 1900 when his father, the Rt Rev Francis Chavasse, took up the post of Bishop of Liverpool.

After representing Great Britain in the 400m at the 1908 Olympic Games, he went on to serve as a medical officer with the Liverpool Scottish, a battalion of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.

His first Victoria Cross medal was awarded for his actions in August 1916 at Guillemont in France on the Somme when he tended to the wounded all day under heavy fire and was estimated to have saved the lives of 20 seriously injured men, as well as treating countless others.

His second Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously for his action in July and August 1917 in Wieltje, Belgium, when, despite being severely wounded to his skull, he refused to leave his post and for two days continued to perform his duties, going out under heavy fire to search for and tend to the wounded.

On August 2 1917, he was resting at his first-aid post when it was struck by a shell, so he crawled for half a mile to get help for the others.

He died two days later.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, said: “Noel Chavasse was a courageous medical doctor whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty and in his own words as he lay dying, he wrote ‘duty called and called me to obey’.”


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