Adrian Carton De Wiart – the luckiest military man to brutally survive Boer War, WWI and WW2


This story is something which we read in the Comics book. This is one of those stories which are hard to believe due to the excessive ‘Luck quotient’ in them. The story of Sir Adrian Carton De Wiart- the one eyed, one handed war hero is much more like this. He is attributed to fighting three significant conflicts across six decades miraculously escaping plane crashes and PoW camps.

He is the luckiest military man to serve, fight and survive WW1, WW2 and Boer War.

Sir Adrian served in Boer War, World War 1 and World War 2. In this process he underwent multiple injuries; he was shot in the face, lost his left eye, was also shot through the skull, hip, leg, ankle and ear. Somehow, he survived and mocked at death every time!

In WW1 he was severely injured on eight occasions and mentioned in dispatches in six times.

As the adage goes – fortune favors the brave, during the battle of Somme, Sir Adrian was seen by his men pulling the pins of grenades out with his teeth and hurling them with his one good arm. He had lost his eye and one hand in the previous battle. That’s what we call a brave soldier!

Sir Adrian was born on 5 May 1880 into an aristocratic family in Brussels. In 1891, he was enrolled in a boarding school in England, going on to study law at Oxford. In 1899, he saw the opportunity to taste the war for the first time. He left for South Africa, abandoning his studies, to serve as a trooper in the British Army during the second Boer War.

In April 1941, Sir Adrian was dispatched from a British Military mission in Yugoslavia. However, his plane was shot down over the Mediterranean. After swimming to shore, the Italians captured him. But, the brave soldier despite being in his 60’s made several attempts to escape the PoW camps. Eventually, he was released after over two years and was sent to China by Winston Churchill to be his personal representative to Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek.

Churchill was a firm admirer of Sir Adrian. He described him as “a model of chivalry and honor.”

In retirement, the brave and fortunate soldier settled in County Cork, spending his time fishing. Having escaped death several times on battlefield, Sir Adrian Carton De Wiart died peacefully in 1963, aged 83.

P.S. – He has received the Victoria Cross, the highest British military award for gallantry, for his actions at La Boiselle.

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Adrian Carton De Wiart – the luckiest military man to brutally survive Boer War, WWI and WW2