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Remembered Today:

Happy Odyssey


armourersergeant
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I managed to get a copy of this of ebay for 25p plus postage and a bargain it was too.

The manner of the tale is very infectious to read. He recounts his life, involving his time during not just WW1 and WW2 but also his time in the Boer War, his life between the wars in Poland and various other adventures he had.

I have found that I wish a more critical biography exists of the man though, as I am left with an opinion that he was alittle 'mad'. His often quoted thoughts on war, as having an exciting and 'enjoyable' (my word) time strike a cold cord with me and I am left also to wonder if he was a good commander or just a brave one.

I particulary liked the times he recounted of his adventures in Poland during the Russo-Polish wars of the early 1920's and then his life he lived there after the wars almost upto 1939.

His time in prision during WW2 is recounted in some detail and would perhaps be of note to those forum members who have been involved in the recent thread on him and others such as Neame and O'Connnor and the time spent in Italian captivity.

So my summing up would be a good enjoyable read though perhaps it leaves me wondering on the true character of a man who claims to like war yet it took his eye and arm. Would you not be bitter?

regards

Arm

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Carton de Wiart seems larger than life but he seems also to have taken the rough with the smooth. After the Norway campaign, when he extricated his troops from uder the noses of the German, he was not bitter; indeed he seems to have relished life as a soldier and took his injuries as part and parcel of the life he lead.

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  • 2 years later...

I am resurrecting this thread as I have just finished rereading Carton de Wiart's autobiography. The style in which it was written does grate occasionally but his extraordinary personality shines through.

Am I correct in thinking that this is the only book dealing with this man? The time would seem ripe for an authoritative biography - his accounts of his service in the Great War are thin and decidedly unsatisfactory. Perhaps too little original material survives? Any thoughts?

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Ian

The Long Long Trail displays Cubitt's Somaliland Despatch at: http://www.1914-1918.net/cubitts_first_despatch.htm

This mentions the action where Carton de Wiart was severely wounded (twice). Moyse-Bartlett's "The King's African Rifles" describes the action (the attack on Shimber Berris forts) in more detail on page 420 (Volume 2).

I believe that Evelyn Waugh's "The Sword of Honour Trilogy" bases the character of Brigadier Ritchie Hook on Carton de Wiart, as does the dvd of the trilogy.

These old colonial soldiers are fascinating, and we cannot judge them by the very different "values" of modern times. Campaigning, especially with local troops, was the life to live. The fighting tended to be close-quarter and savage, serious wounds often resulted in death as casualty evacuation could be extremely difficult, camp life was simple and sometimes rough, food was what you shot or fished, fevers lurked in every swamp and snakes and other wild life could kill you.

But despite that situation a steady stream of British officers served in the colonial forces, maintaining national law and prestige within the boundaries of the empire.

Harry

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Harry, thanks for the link - I hadn't seen that.

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Ian

Is Sir Adrian's cousin, Monseigneur Carton de Wiart, mentioned in the book? He was the priest in charge of St Andrew's Hospital, Dollis Hill and led the services for many of the Belgian soldiers' burials in London.

Myrtle

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I believe that Evelyn Waugh's "The Sword of Honour Trilogy" bases the character of Brigadier Ritchie Hook on Carton de Wiart

Harry

I believe so, too. His reputation for "Biffing" the Bosche seems to confirm it.....and the story of Apthorpe's Thunderbox must be one of the funniest in military literture.

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Ian

Is Sir Adrian's cousin, Monseigneur Carton de Wiart, mentioned in the book?

Sorry, Myrtle, he doesn't get a mention. Those of his relatives who are mentioned are: Baron Edmond, Count Henri, Countess Henri and Leon.

Ian

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