Adrian Carton de Wiart: The Soldier That Could Not Be Killed

Grace Higgins | August 13th, 2019

Carton de Wiart was a British soldier who fought in three major wars and multiple small conflicts. This resulted in him being one eyed and one armed, yet still he threw himself into any battle. In fact, when asked about World War I he responded that he had a great time.

npg.org.uk

Starting in the Boer War, Carton de Wiart took part in World War I and World War II. Notably he was sent into countries such as Poland, Norway or Yugoslavia alone to help them prepare military defenses and provide advice. As a Belgian national also from ancient aristocracy he had many connections and family all around Europe. This is why he was used regularly on British military missons.

Not to say he never commanded divisions or platoons either, he was known to throw his forces into any battle with little to no fear. Every trooper and soldiers across the Allied forces knew his name. His stories became those of legend, such as the time he tunneled out of a prisoner of war camp. Or the time he escaped arrest in Romania with a fake passport. He was also wounded countless times.

The full tally of war wounds was losing an eye, shot in the hip, the ankle, the skull, leg and ears. He also lost a hand, which he amputated himself after a doctor refused to do it. During the battle of somme he was seen pulling grenade pins out by his teeth and throwing them at the enemy.

At the age of 60 he was sent on a military mission to Yugoslavia but his plane was shot down over the Mediterranean. He swam ashore and was captured by the Italians. Despite his age and distinctive looks, and lack of Italian he always tried to escape. He even alluded recapture for 8 days once, when released 2 years later he was sent to China to be Churchill’s representative until he retired.

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