Captain Noel Chavasse’s (VC and Bar, MC) medal group on show at the Museum of Liverpool
The medals of Captain Noel Chavasse, the only serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) twice during the First World War, go on display at the Museum of Liverpool from 31 July to 5 January 2018.
Timed to coincide with the centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele (31 July 1917), it is the first time this important medal group, on loan from Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, has gone on public display in Liverpool, the family’s home from 1900. The medals will also be on display for the centenary of Chavasse’s death (4 August 1917).
Janet Dugdale, Director of the Museum of Liverpool, said: “The name ‘Chavasse’ is forever associated with heroism and courage thanks to the actions of Noel, and other members of the family, during the First World War. In unimaginably appalling conditions, Captain Chavasse saved the lives of many of his men, losing his own as a consequence in 1917. This group of medals tells a powerful story of the extremes of human sacrifice. We’re extremely proud to be bringing them to Liverpool on the centenary of his death.”
The medals, which are part of the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at IWM London, are a highlight in a citywide programme of events:
31 July - Free talks at the Museum of Liverpool about the life and times of Chavasse and the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele). The talks will mark the centenary of the first day of Ypres and give visitors a fuller understanding of the significance of the medals. Real and replica items from the First World War handling collection will also be available, giving visitors some insight into life on the Front.
Also on display at the Museum until 1 September, are stained glass windows, commissioned by the Chavasse family in memory of ‘those who died’ and ‘those who gave their life’ during the First World War.
There will be two significant civic events in August to mark 100 years since the death of Noel Chavasse. A Commemorative Paving Stone will be unveiled at Abercromby Square on Tuesday 29 August, followed by a re-creation of his Memorial Service at Liverpool Parish Church, a century to the day after it took place.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “Noel Chavasse was a courageous medical doctor whose selfless actions saved many lives. He was completely devoted to his duty and in his own words as he lay dying, he wrote ‘Duty called and called me to obey’. He had been set for a brilliant career in medicine, but instead he became one of the most extraordinary soldiers Britain has ever seen, winning the Victoria Cross twice and that is why Liverpool is incredibly proud of him.”
Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, who owns the largest collection of VCs in the world, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the medal group of Captain Noel Chavasse VC & Bar, MC is going to be on display at the Museum of Liverpool, in the city where both he and his family had such significant links. It is entirely appropriate that the centenary of Captain Chavasse's death should be marked in this way."
"I feel privileged and humbled to be the custodian of this courageous man's gallantry and service medals. Captain Chavasse deserves his unique position in history as the only 'double VC' of the Great War and his military career has come to epitomise self-sacrifice. As Captain Chavasse himself put is so succinctly as he lay dying: 'Duty called, and called me to obey'."
Noel Chavasse’s medals are part of the Lord Ashcroft Collection on display at IWM London.