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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lt Aidan Chavasse

Stephen Nulty

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I came across this entry in the diary of 17th KLR and though it worth posting for those with an interest in the Chavasse family


4th July 1917

12:15 a.m. Lieut. A CHAVASSE & 8 Other ranks left our trenches to patrol German Front Line with the objective of ascertaining disposition of enemy, obtaining identification & killing occupants. This patrol, on nearing enemy wire, encountered a German Patrol, which opened fire on them, wounding Lt CHAVASSE. Our patrol withdrew to our lines, Lt CHAVASSE was missing and Capt A I DRAPER, Capt C E TORREY, Capt F B CHAVASSE (RAMC), 2/Lt C A PETERS & L/Cpl H DIXON (11531) searched No Mans Land for him. During the search, Capt C E TORREY was wounded and taken in to our trenches. 2/Lt C A PETERS was killed when returning to our lines for assistance to carry the wounded officer in, L/Cpl DIXON remaining to bandage his wounds. After awaiting the arrival of the necessary assistance, L/Cpl DIXON returned for stretcher bearers to carry Lt CHAVASSE in, but on going back, the party was unable to find the officer and had to retire on account of the dawn breaking.

5th July 1917

Battalion holding front line. L/Cpl DIXON & 3 men left our trenches to search for Lt CHAVASSE. Capt F B CHAVASSE also went across No Mans Land to endeavor to find his brother, but the wounded officer was not discovered. The body of 2/Lt C A PETERS was carried to our line by another party.

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Lt CHAVASSE was missing and Capt A I DRAPER, Capt C E TORREY, Capt F B CHAVASSE (RAMC), 2/Lt C A PETERS & L/Cpl H DIXON (11531) searched No Mans Land for him.

Captain Arnold Draper was himself killed a few months later near Hollebeke on 21st October.


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Captain FB Chavasse MC RAMC survived the war to become an ophthalmic consultant in Rodney Street Liverpool. According to a family source, it is hoped that a location will be found for the permanent display of the medals of three of the four brothers in the near future, Noel's double VC group being in the Ashcroft Gallery at the IWM.

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That will be good if there can be a permanent display of the medal groups.


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A little more about F.B. Chavasse, MC, from a website on the history of St Paul's Eye Hospital, Liverpool (based on a history written for the fourth annual dinner of the Honorary Surgeons of that hospital, held in Liverpool in 1932, but edited later):

"At about this time [late 1918- early 1920s] (Francis) Bernard Chavasse (1889 – 1942) was establishing paediatric ophthalmology at the then Liverpool Eye and Ear Infirmary. He made major contributions to strabismus, completely revising the sixth edition of Worth’s classic textbook “Squint” and adding his own ideas on physiology and pathology. He invented of a number of surgical instruments, among them: fixation forceps, a strabismus hook still in use today and a marginal myotomy retractor. He also was a strong supporter of orthoptic training, not so much on the treatment methods but as a help in diagnosis.

His family will always be remembered for their outstanding valour in the First World War. In less than two months the parents of Chavasse (his father was Bishop of Liverpool), saw two of their sons killed, two Military Crosses awarded and the only Victoria Cross with Bar of the Great War awarded posthumously to Noel Chavasse (a VC with Bar signifies that the recipient has been decorated with the Victoria Cross twice, the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve). Bernard, whose Military Cross was awarded for outstanding bravery, was originally cited for a VC. Having survived the war he lost his life in a car accident at the age of 42."

The dates do not add up but are shown as published.


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