There are lots of legends around. Legends we don’t hear about and plenty of people who aren’t legends that we do hear about.
What makes a legend?
I think this will be different from person to person, there is no right or wrong answer. Opinions are relative to the onlookers experience.
It’s most likely someone you look up to. Someone you think has amazing achievements in their life. Let me introduce this man, this legend, Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart.
Some of you may have heard of him, some of you may not have. I hadn’t until recently but this guy is a proper legend.
Carton di Wiart has been shot more times than you’ve had hot dinners. He survived two plane crashes and both World Wars. When asked about the first one he said “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.”
Where did he serve?
Carton di Wiart served in the Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War. He picked up a few injuries. Not only was he shot in the stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear, he was also shot in the face and the head. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
I don’t know the mindset required to agree for amputation without hesitation. In my eyes it would take a very strong-willed person. Carton di Wiart was shot in the hand but goes a step further during fighting on the Western Front. The doctor didn’t want to amputate Carton di Wiart’s hand so he chopped his own fingers off.
You name the worst battles of World War One and this man was there. Carton de Wiart was shot but survived like a hero in a badly made zombie movie.
It puts it into perspective when you hear stories nowadays. Grown men having roped off areas at universities to protect them from horrible words. This world is getting far to soft for the likes of Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart. He would unleash a can of whoop ass on these men to toughen them up a bit.
Every Man Needs a Rest
He did have a little bit of down time though. Don’t think that he was all action because that would just be silly wouldn’t it….would it?
The man was inactive for a little while after WWI but called into major action in the 1940s. Carton di Wiart is appointed head of the British-Yugoslavian Military Mission on 5 April 1941. Hitler was preparing to invade the country and the Yugoslavs asked for British help. Carton de Wiart travelled in a Wellington Bomber to Belgrade, Serbia to negotiate with the Yugoslavian government.
Both engines failed as he flew past the coast of Italian controlled Libya. A mile from land the plane crashed. Carton de Wiart survived the crash. He then swam to shore where he was captured by Italian forces. He spent time in a prisoner of war camp.
Di Wiart travelled around and spent time doing a variety of jobs. It’s the sheer amount of injuries and hostile situations that this man not only experienced but survived and enjoyed that blows me away.
Carton de Wiart is a great man who survived until he was 83. I salute him, and you should too.