The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Amazing life of the soldier who ripped off his own fingers
a biography of Sir Winston Churchill, I was intrigued when it mentioned that his representative to China, Carton de Wiart, had won a Victoria Cross and that he was a very interesting character. So please tell me more, Queries Man. – D.
Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart, VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO, to give him his full title, was indeed an interesting man.
Before he became Churchill’s personal representative in China in 1943, he had already led an amazing life.
He had served in the Boer War, the First World War, and the Second World War.
He was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes and had tunnelled out of a prisoner-ofwar camp.
Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote: “Frankly I enjoyed the war.”
Having previously lost an eye and a hand in battle, Carton de Wiart, as commanding officer, was seen by his men pulling the pins of grenades out with his teeth and hurling them with his one good arm during the Battle of the Somme, winning the Victoria Cross in 1916.
“For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature,” according to his citation.
He had lost his hand the previous year, when hit by shrapnel.
Doctors refused to amputate his badly-damaged fingers, so he simply tore them off himself.