Today's Postcard Staying in Belgium we visit Lijssenthoek Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. First used in 1915 by the French army. Ultimately the cemetery came to house the remains of more than 10,000 men and one woman. It is the second largest war graves cemetery in Belgium after Tyne Cot. In this photo we see, what is almost a never ending task, an engraver keeping the gravestones in pristine condition, chiseling in the details of that soldier, A lonely figure among the many headstones at Lijssenthoek, near Poperinge, West Flanders

 

When visiting war graves one sees a VC winners headstone from a long way off. This one is one of a very select group. There are only three men to have ever won this highest of British Empire war decorations twice. Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a British medical doctor, Olympic athlete, and British Army officer from the Chavasse family. He is one of those three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice out of 1355 recipients in more than 160 years. The Battle of Guillemont was to see acts of heroism by Captain Chavasse, the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War. In 1916, Chavasse was hit by shell splinters while rescuing men in no-man's land. It is said he got as close as 25 yards to the German line, where he found three men and continued throughout the night under a constant rain of sniper bullets and bombing. He performed similar heroics in the early stages of the offensive at Passchendaele in August 1917 to gain a second VC and become the most highly decorated British officer of the First World War. Although operated upon, he was to die of his wounds two days later in 1917.