Chavasse VC pavestone Liverpool

A pavestone commemorating Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC & Bar MC was unveiled today in Liverpool.

Serving with the 10th Battalion King’s (Liverpool Regiment), Captain Chavasse received the military cross for his efforts in Belgium, 1915. 

Then in 1916, Chavasse was bestowed a VC for his actions in France where he tended to the wounded under severe fire and in view of the enemy.

His record-breaking bar was presented after his death in 1917 for his actions during the Battle of Passchendaele.

Only ever awarded for “gallantry of the highest order”, the Victoria Cross is the uppermost award a British and commonwealth serviceman can achieve; it takes precedence over all order, decorations and medals.

Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse is one of only three men to ever receive more than one VC. Both surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake and Captain Charles Upham also gained the esteemed double VC status.

Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC & Bar MC
Portrait of Captain Chavasse

The awards beginnings are said to be in the Crimean War in 1854, the first major war reported by a war correspondent from The Times.

Journalist William Howard Russel pushed for the award after being stunned by the bravery of the common soldier.  

Though popular with Parliament and Queen Victoria, senior military figures opposed the medal, for fear that it would encourage individual attempts of mindless acts in order to win the prestigious prize.

The medal, which was instructed not to recognise birth or class is simplistic in design.

The award was deliberately cast in bronze and though the metal has little monetary value, its value lies in what it represents.

Chavasse VC medals in Liverpool

Tradition dictates that the bronze used for the medal came from a captured Chinese-made cannon used by the Russians at Sevastopol.

The remainder of the cascabel, now determined to be from a Chinese 18-pounder cannon, is kept at the army base DSDC Donnington. It has been estimated there is enough metal left to make 80 more medals.

Since 1856, 1,357 people have been awarded Victoria Cross.

Interestingly, one VC is in existence that is not counted in any official records.

Recipients of the VC from the 1914-1918 are set to receive dedicated pavestones as part of a government initiative to remember the extreme courage of those fighting in the First World War.

Victoria Cross