Category Archives: Ramblings and Rants

Centenary commemoration for Captain Noel Chavasse, double VC – Part Four. Passchendaele.

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We have just returned from a fascinating few days in Ypres and last Friday’s moving ceremony to remember Noel on the 100th anniversary of his death. There has been a tremendous amount of coverage about the Battle of Passchendaele, and Noel’s extraordinary achievement of winning his second Victoria Cross has also featured quite prominently: there’s a detailed tribute, for example, to ’the First World War’s bravest soldier’ by Lord Ashcroft in The Sunday Times Magazine (the online version is behind a paywall but you can read it here free for up to a week) and the Royal Mint have announced that there will be a five pound coin bearing a picture of Noel.

Even so, I wanted to complete these (very long) posts of Noel’s actions from a family perspective.

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Centenary commemoration for Captain Noel Chavasse, double VC – Part Three, The Somme

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The Somme is infamous for the carnage on the first day of the battle: the 1st of July 1916 was the worst day in the history of the British Army in terms of casualties, with over 57,000 dead or wounded. Yet it was a battle that dragged on until November, with staggering loss of life on both sides. (The picture is a view from the Thiepval Memorial.)

Noel’s Liverpool Scottish regiment, to which he was attached as a doctor from the Royal Army Medical Corps, wasn’t involved until the end of July. Sadly, following on from (my great uncle) Arthur’s death in March, news came through that another of his cousins had been lost: 2nd Lieutenant Louis Maude, Noel’s first cousin on his mother’s side, had been missing and then reported killed on that first day of the battle.

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Centenary commemoration for Captain Noel Chavasse, double VC – Part Two

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This is the second part of my blog about Captain Noel Chavasse, the only serviceman to have won two Victoria Crosses during the First World War – and, as a doctor, he never fired a shot.

In between his heroic actions at the Battle of Hooge in June 1915 that earned him a Military Cross (see Part One) and his extraordinary bravery and a subsequent VC at the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916, Noel was promoted to Captain and, far more importantly for him, he got engaged.

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Centenary commemoration for Captain Noel Chavasse, Royal Army Medical Corps, double VC – Part One

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We are on our way to Ypres for a ceremony to remember cousin Noel, 100 years after his death on 4 August 1917.

I mentioned the Centenary of the start of the Battle of Passchedaele in the July review newsletter, which we sent to everyone on our email list on 31 July, and that the medals of Captain Noel Chavasse VC and Bar, MC have just gone on display at the Museum of Liverpool until 5 January. The collection will then be returned to the Imperial War Museum in London.

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17 unpalatable truths about UK wine duty

UK duty on wine went up by 10p a bottle to £2.60 (£2.16 plus Vat) in the Budget this month. You’d be forgiven for not picking up on that, as it’s customary for the Chancellor of the day to confuse the media with a short burst of twaddle. “I will make no changes to previously planned upratings of duties on alcohol” is what he said. What he meant was that all alcohol duties were to increase by the chunky rate of inflation (RPI) of 3.9%.

The rise of 8p plus VAT, which came into effect on 13 March, is actually a significant whack on the cost price of your average bottle in a supermarket or in a pub. And completely out of line with what you pay on the continent; here are some facts: Keep reading