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Adrian Carton de Wiart
08.16.2013 30045813384

"Governments may think and say as they like, but force cannot be eliminated, and it is the only real and unanswerable power. We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose."

Adrian Carton de Wiart was a Belgian aristocrat who survived 11 wounds across three wars, led infantry charges on three continents, survived a couple plane crashes, was shot in the face at least three times, lost an eye, a hand, and a lung, accumulated enough shrapnel in his body to set off every metal detector from here to Berlin, made friends with basically every world leader from Pope Pius to Chiang Kai-Shek, and still spent the majority of his 80s hunting ducks one-handed on a massive estate where he lived with a woman half his age.

He's a guy with a Wikipedia article that reads like a Badass of the Week entry, and he looks like a righteously pissed-off Pirate Tom Selleck in a British Lieutenant-General's uniform.



Born in the late 19th century to ultra-wealthy Belgian nobility with enough names and titles to max out the character limit of any government form not printed in Eastern Europe, Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart, Esquire DDS VC ETC was far more interested in kicking asses and beating the shit out of enemy warriors on the blood-stained field of battle than he was in having dinner parties or learning the White Guy Macarena or doing any of that other annoying Pride and Predjudice bullshit, so the minute Carton de Wiart's parents shipped him off to some annoying Catholic Boarding School he broke out of there, ran to the nearest British Army recruiting office, grew an insta-'stache, convinced the dude there that he was a 25 year old drifter, and joined the Service of the Queen fighting the Boers in South Africa.

Fighting alongside legendary future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Carton de Wiart led infantry attacks straight-on into the face of the enemy whenever those quasi-Dutch German-Afrikaners or whatever the hell they are presented him an opportunity to point the tip of a bayonet their direction.  He caught a bullet with his iron-plated groin and took another round through a lung that knocked him out of action for about fifteen minutes, so Carton de Wiart went home, attended Oxford University for a while, and married an Austrian Countess, but even those two were married for like 50 years he doesn't even bother mentioning her in his memoirs because whatever it's not like it's a big deal to marry an Austrian Countess or anything.


Charging Boer Kommandos head-on like he means it.


One his lungs and balls had recovered, Carton de Wiart joined the Imperial Light Horse, served in South Africa and India, and became well-known for being the toughest, strongest, most foul-mouthed, most badass motherfucker anywhere he went.  His favorite hobbies were polo and hunting wild boar with a knife, he was known to drink wine to celebrate surgeries or disasters, and he tried to avoid carrying his revolver into combat because he was genuinely worried he'd get so uber blood-rage pissed off once the bullets started flying that he'd turn it on his own men if he thought they were acting like pussies on the battlefield. 

When the Great War came around, Adrian Carton de Wiart was naturally ready to start cracking skulls like pistachio nuts and then presumably devouring anything that came out of the middle.  His experience fighting in Africa got him assigned to the East Africa Camel Corps, a badass unit of hard-looking bastards who rode through the desert on camels and launched surprise hit-and-run raids on enemy positions with a hail of gunfire and dromedary spit.  While leading one charge in Somaliland against the "Mad Mullah" Mohammad bin Abdullah, Carton de Wiart was climbing up a fort when he got shot in the face, but all this did was piss him off and give him a good excuse to wear a fucking eyepatch for the rest of his life.  It didn't even knock him out of that campaign – a few weeks later he was shot in the face again, this time losing part of his ear, but still went on to win the British Army's second-highest award for military bravery for his service.


Dude even made camels badass.


After charging through the sands on camelback deflecting bullets with his face and capturing enemy strongholds in East Africa, A.D.C. was transferred to France, where the war was pretty fucking far from quiet on the western front.  Commanding British Infantry battalions over-the-top into no-man's-land, personally leading attacks face-first into German machine gun nests, Carton de Wiart got a hand blown off a Ypres, bit a few of his fingers off to prevent infection, was shot through the skull and the ankle at the Battle of the Somme, took bullets to the hip, leg, and other ear, and still somehow recovered from these presumably crippling/fatal wounds quickly enough to receive the Victoria Cross for kicking ballsacks at the Battle of La Boiselle in 1916.  Apparently Carton de Wiart was leading the 8th Glouchestershire Regiment in a bayonet charge when three other less-badass British Battalion commanders died like assholes, so Wiart took command of all four units and pressed the attack, personally running up and down the trenches barking orders and waving around a walking stick while German bullets whizzed past his eyepatch.

He also doesn't mention his Victoria Cross in his memoirs.  Because fuck it, ball don't lie.

When asked about his experience being shot and/or blown up eight separate times while leading infantry in the bloodiest military conflict in human history, Carton de Wiart remarked, "Frankly I enjoyed the war."


Over the top in more ways than one.


In the 1920s, Carton de Wiart was sent to Poland to help them deal with being simultaneously attacked by the Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Czechs, and pretty much very other Commie bastard Eastern Europe had to offer.  He survived having his train car machine gunned by Ukrainian infantry, befriended Josef Pilsudski, became aide-de-camp to the King of Poland, and received a huge land grand on the Poland-USSR border for his services.  Naturally, Carton de Wiart spent every day in the DMZ firing a shotgun trying to hunt ducks with one arm.

Carton de Wiart spent his tenure in Poland advising the British Crown and the Pope personally, surviving two plane crashes in two years, running a gun-smuggling ring to bring supplies to Poland through Budapest, participated in a duel that involved Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim, the future overall commander of the Finnish military in World War II, and fighting a war against the Russians.  In 1920 he shot his way out of Warsaw on a train, hanging onto the railing of a moving express train firing his revolver at a band of Cossack Red Army cavalrymen who were trying to arrest and execute him. 



After Carton de Wiart helped the Poles win the war he continued living on his Polish estate, but in 1939 the Nazis blew up his house so I guess he had to leave town and fight yet another World War.  A.C.W. drove through Poland, had his car attacked by Luftwaffe dive-bombers, made his through Romania on a fake passport (somehow disguising himself despite being a 60 year old one-armed, one-eyed British-Belgian man), and enlisted back in the British military.  He commanded a raid in Norway to re-take Trondheim from the Nazis in 1940, and when promised support and reinforcements never showed up he commanded his troops as they fought off a counter attack by German Destroyer ships and badass Bond Villain-style ski troops.  A year later, while flying to Yugoslavia, Carton de Wiart's plane crashed in the water off Libya, so the 60 year-old dude swam to the shore, where he was captured by Italian troops and thrown into a POW camp, making the General one of the highest-ranking POWs of the entire war.

He undertook five escape attempts, including one where he spent 7 months digging a tunnel, escaped, and evaded capture for over a week.  He was eventually released in 1943, and sent to be the Special Representative to China, where he helped Chiang Kai-Shek fight the Japanese and once talked shit to Mao at a dinner party.

Adrian Carton de Wiart, wounded 11 times in 3 wars, retired from the military in 1947, married a chick half his age, and survived to be 83 years old.

His memoirs are titled Happy Odyssey.  Winston Churchill wrote the foreword.




RDG Museum

Daily Mail Bio




Carton de Wiart, Adrian.  Happy Odyssey.  Pen and Sword, 2007.

Davies, Norman.  White Eagle, Red Star.  Random House, 2011.

Tucker, Spencer.  Who's Who in Twentieth Century Warfare.  Routledge, 2003.

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Tags: 19th century | 20th century | Battle Rage / Berserker | Belgium | Boer War | British Army | Catholic | Military Commander | Soldier | War Hero | World War I | Writer | WWII

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