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THE ANGLO-BELGIAN MILITARY MEDALS SOCIETY

'THE GLIMPS OF WAR REFLECTED IN THE BRAVERY AND SERVICE OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND DIED FOR OTHERS'

ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART VC, DSO


 

ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART WAS A BELGIAN BORN BELGIAN-IRISH SOLDIER IN THE BRITISH ARMY FROM THE BOER WAR TILL THE END OF WORLD WAR II. DURING HIS SERVICE HE WAS WOUNDED COUNTLESS TIMES IN BATTLE. THIS IS WHY HE LOST HIS LEFT EYE, HIS ARM, BIDE OFF HIS OWN FINGERS WHEN A FIELDHOSPITAL REFUSED TO AMPUTED THEM AND WAS SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES. HE ESCAPED FROM A P.O.W CAMP IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND SERVICED A PLAINCRASH. HE URNED HIS VICTORIA CROSS IN THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME ON 2-3 JULY 1916. AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II HE WAS PROMOTED TO LUITENANT-GENERAL AND RETIRED IN 1947.

 

IT IS UNDOUBTABLE THAT THIS BELGIAN BORN SOLDIER IS THE MOST BRITISH DECORATED SOLDIER IN OUR HISTORY. THIS IS WAY THE ANGLO-BELGIAN MILITARY MEDALS HAS A SPECIAL ARTICLE AND THE GOLDEN AWARD (n°1) OF OUR SOCIETY FOR MEDALGROUPS AND PERSONS WHO ARE OF VERY HIGH HISTORIC IMPORTANCE OF OUR COUNTRY AND BRITAIN.

 

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war… and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?"  -ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART -

PERSONAL HISTORY


ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART was born on the 5th of may 1880. His mother died when Adrian was only six year old. His father Leon Carton De Wiart moved the familly to Egypt where he practised on the Egypts mixed courts and became a director of the Cairo Electric Railways and Heliopolis Oases Company. Adrian had a cousin Henri Carton de Wiart who was the prime minister of Belgium from 1920 till 1921.

 

Adrian was sent to boarding school at the Roman Catholic Oratory School, in England by his stepmother. From there, he went to Balliol College, Oxford, where he became friends with Aubrey Herbert.

 

In 1908 he married his first wive Countess Friederike Maria Karoline Henriette Rosa Sabina Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen and gets two daughters with her. When his first wive died in 1949 he remaried with Joan McKechnie and moved to Ireland.

 

Andrian published his book Happy Oddysey, wich contains his memoires in 1951. Winston Churchill road the foreword of this book and said that Adrian was "a model of chivalry and honour".

 

Adrian Carton de Wiart died at the age of 83 in 1963 and is burried in the cemetary of Carrigadrohid near Killinardrish in Ireland.

AN ARTICLE FROM:


MAARTEN CALLAERTS

PRESIDENT

MILITARY HISTORY


In 1899 Adrian joined the British military when he was 19 years of age, wich makes him underage, because the minimum age for the British military service at that time was 21. He pretended to be 25 years and signed in with the Pseudonym 'Trooper Carton' whitout the consent of his parents. When his father found out , he was furious that Adrian had abondend college, but he allowed his son to serve further in the British Army.

 

Short after he enlisted he was transfert to South Africa where he took place in the early fighting of the Second Boer War. Here he recieved his first battlewound when he was hit in the stomach, making him unfit to continue and transfert home for recovery. He returned for a small period to Oxford University, until he was offered a commission in the second Imperial Light Horse. Adrian returned to South Africa and was promoted on the 14th of september 1901 as Second Luitenant in the 4th Dragoons Guards.

After the Boer War he was stationed in India in 1902.

THE SECOND BOER WAR (1899-1902)

THE EDWARDIAN ARMY IN PIECE TIME

Adrian Carton De Wiart was promoted to Luitenant on the 14th of July 1904 and a aide-de-camp to Commander-in-Chief, Sir Henry Hildyard. Adrian was by 1907 eight years in the British Army, and still a Belgian citizen, until he swore the oath of allegiance to Edward VII and became British. Through is close band with Sir Henry Hildyard and his aristocratic roots he was able to participate in the famous Duke of Beaufort's Hunt where he met the later Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson and later Air Marshal Sir Edward Leonard Ellington. Adrian became a captain on the 26th of february 1910 in the Duke of Beaufort's Royal Gloucestershire Hussars and served there as the regiments adjudant from 1912 to 1914.

THE FIRST WORLD WAR (1914-1918)

 When the British governement declared war on Germany on august 4th 1914, Adrian was on his way to the former British Somaliland, where Mohammed bin Abdullah had made an uprise. Once he arrived he was incorperated into the second Somaliland Camel corps. During the attack on a British fort near Shimber Berris, Adrian suffered from two gunshots in the face, one costing his left eye and one went through his ear. For this action he recieved his first British Gallantry Medal, the DSO on the 15th of May 1915.

 

After the recovery of his wounds from the Somaliland campaign he embarked in february 1915 to France. Here he fought during the Battle of the Somme with the 4th Dragoon Guards.The battle began on the 1st of July 1916 and was one of the greatest dissasters in the history of the British Army. On the second and tirth day Adrian, no promoted to Temporary Major distinguished himself with the Victoria Cross, Britains highest military decoration. His actions during this time at La Boiselle were rapported in the London Gazette and is stated as follows:

 

         Capt. (temp. Lt.-Col.) Adrian Carton de Wiart, D.S.O., Dn. Gds.

 

           For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during

           severe operations of a prolonged nature. It was owing in a great

           measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a

           serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and

           courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion

           Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands,

           and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He

           frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of

           supplies, passing unflinchingly through fire barrage of the most

            intense nature. His gallantry was inspiring to all.

 

          London Gazette, 9 September 1916

 

Considering that Adrian was shot through his skull and ankle during the battle of the Somme it is at least to say that it is a miracle that he still was fit enough to participate in the battle of Passendaele where he was shot in the hip after he was brevetted to lieutenant-colonel on the 3th of June 1917. After his second recovery from wounds substained in the First World War, he returned to the front and took command in the battle of Cambria where he was shot through the leg and later to through his air at Arras. These wounds and the end of the war by the 11th of November 1918 took him back to Britain were he recoverd from all his injuries at the Sir Douglas Shield's Nursing Home.

ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR

THE FIGHTING IN DELVILLE WOOD AT LABOISSELLE IN 1916 WHERE ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART RECIEVED HIS VC

THE POLISH MISSION

After the first World War the British Army supported the Polish army in the Polish-Soviet war, the Polish-Ukrainian War, Polish-Lithuanian War and the  Czech-Polish border conflicts. Adrian Carton De Wiart was sent to Poland under the command of General Louis Botha and replaced him in his abcense. The Polish mission was to establish an political agreement with the axis forces supported by English and French diplomats. Adrian's first political encounter with the Ukrainian nationalist Simon Petlyura didn't go well, and on his way back to his base, his train was shot by Ukrainian machine gunners, killing two Polish officers. An other meeting with  Lithuanian politicians didn't go as planned after Adrian's airplane crashed and he was briefly taken prisoner. He returned to Britain and submitted his report to the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill. In august 1920, now promoted to Aide-De-Camp of King Edward VII and Colonel, his train was attacked by the Red Army who stought at the gates of Warshaw. Only armed with his revolver he fought a skirmish off from his trainplatform. The Poles won the war and the British retreated from Poland. Andrian didn't go back to Britain but stayed on a large estate called Prostyń, wich he was granted by his last Aide-De-Camp, Prince Karol Mikołaj Radziwiłł. 

Adrian Carton de Wiart stayed for 15 years in his Polish estate until Germany declared war on Poland on the 1st of September 1939, and when the Russians joined there forces on the 15th September, Adrian lost all his possations to the Soviets. Adrian was recalled to the British Army and was assigned to take a Anglo-French force to occupy Namsos in Norway. The campaign became a disaster. Adrians boat came under attack by a German fighter. The German Luftwaffe bombed Namsos to the ground and the French Alpine troops were taken under fire by German Luftwaffe as well. Adrian managed to take his unit over the mountains to Trondheimsfjord, were the unit was attack by German Kriegmarine destroyers. Adrian recommended a withdrawal but was asked to hold his position for political reasons, which he did. Only when the campaign was a total loss, his unit was evacuted and arrived back at the British naval base of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on the 5th of  May 1940, his 60th birthday. Adrian had come to an age and rank,temporary major-general, where the British army couldn't let him command an active duty. After a short inactive service he was put in charge of the British-Yugoslavian Military Mission on 5 April 1941. Though he never reached Yugoslavia, because of the aircrash of his Wellington Bomber at the shores of Italie where he was captured as a Prisoner of War.

 

After four months at the Villa Orsini at Sulmona, he was transferred to a special prison for senior officers at Castello di Vincigliata. Here he met with senior British officers who were captured during the African Campaign against Erwin Rommel. He became good friends with Lieutenant-General Philip Neame VC, an fellow recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War. Adrian was commited to escape and made five attempts to make it happen, for wich he had been tunneling for five months. His 'battlefield' appereance made it difficult to go unnoticed in the North Italian region and he was recaptured and was taken to Rome in august 1943 for the Italian negotiations with the British government and betrayal to the Germans. He was sent in Lisbon in civilian clothing and made in back to Engeland on 4 august 1943.

 

Soon after his return to England, Winston Churchill gave him the diplomatic mission of China and promoted Adrian to acting Luitenant-General on 9 october 1943. He flew to India nine days later. Adrian had to work out a diplomacy with the Chinese governement, to make a Anglo-Chinese army that will fight against the Japanese invaders. He attended the 1943 Cairo conference from 22 till 26 November 1943. From here Adrian conducted a diplomatic tour on China and South Asia and coördinated with the American in the Pacific until the formal Japanese surrender in August 1945.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR

THE MEDALS OF ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART


BRITISH AWARDS:

VICTORIA CROSS (inscriped: Capt (Contemp. Luitenant Colonel) A.C.DE WIART  D.S.O - 4th Dragoon Guards - 2-3 july 1916)

KNIGHT COMMANDOR OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

COMPANION OF THE ORDER OF THE BATH

COMPANION OF THE ORDER OF ST MICHAEL AND ST GEORGE

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER

QUEENS SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL (Clasps: South Africa 1901;  Transvaal;  Orange Free State and Cape Colony

AFRICA GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL (Clasp: Shimber Berris 1914-15)

1914-15 STAR

BRITISH WAR MEDAL

VICTORY MEDAL (Mentioned in Dispatches)

1939-45 STAR

AFRICA STAR

BURMA STAR

ITALY STAR

WAR MEDAL (Mentioned in Dispatches)

KING GEORGE V CORONATION MEDAL

QUEEN ELIZABETH II CORONATION MEDAL

RECONSTRUCTION

FOREIGN AWARDS:

COMMANDEUR IN THE LEGION D'HONNEUR (FR)

OFFICER IN THE ORDER OF THE CROWN (BE) - April 1917

SILVER CROSS IN THE ORDER OF VIRTUTI MILITARI (PL)

BELGIAN CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM (BE) - March 1918

CROSS OF VALOUR (PL)

CROSS OF VALOR (PL)

FRENCH CROIX DE GUERRE WW2 WITH PALM (FR)

RECONSTRUCTION

LINKS

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