Tue Nov 12, 2019 London
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WILDCARDS

The free spirits

Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (1880 – 1963)

Sir Adrian Carton de WiartThis British Army officer served in the Boer, First World and Second World Wars. He was shot in the face twice in WWI and lost his left eye and was shot once through the skull, hip, leg, ankle and ear. In 1915, he lost his left hand and tore off his own fingers after a doctor refused to amputate them. Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart also survived two plane crashes, escaped capture twice, was branded a “model of chivalry and honour” by Winston Churchill and won a VC in WWII. Of the 1914 – 1918 conflict, he later wrote: “Frankly, I enjoyed the war; it had given me many bad moments, lots of good ones, plenty of excitement and with everything found for us”. Aside from his military might, Evelyn Waugh modeled the character of Brigadier Ben Ritchie Hook in his Sword of Honour trilogy upon this twice married, Oxford educated aristocrat and in retirement he is said to have enjoyed indulging in “pursuing salmon and snipe”. In male company he is described as having been “a delightful character [who] must hold the world record for bad language”.

 

 

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