Carton De Wiart, Adrian.

Back to all people

- Medals

united kingdomArmyGeneralleutnant
Carton De Wiart, Adrian, born on 05-05-1880 in Brussel, Belgium, the eldest son of the Belgian magistrate Léon Constant Ghislain Carton de Wiart (1854–1915) and his Irish wife Ernestine Wenzig (1860–1886). After his mother’s death, the family moved to Egypt, where his father worked for the Egyptian government. By his contemporaries, he was widely believed to be an illegitimate son of King Leopold II
of the Belgians. He spent his early days in Belgium and in England. The ‘loss of his mother’ when he was six prompted his father to move the family to Cairo so his father could practise at Egypt’s mixed courts. It was widely assumed by biographers that his mother had died in 1886; however, his parents had in fact divorced in that year and his mother remarried Demosthenes Gregory Cuppa later in 1886. His father was a lawyer and magistrate, as well as a director of the Cairo Electric Railways and Heliopolis Oases Company and was well connected in Egyptian governmental circles. Adrian Carton de Wiart learned to speak Arabic. Once old enough, he was sent to boarding school in England, after which he began his studies at Balliol College Oxford.
At the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, he enlisted in the British Army. The Second Boer War  11-10-1899 – 31-05-1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics (the South African Republic and the Orange Free State) over the Empire’s influence in Southern Africa from 1899 to 1902.
In South Africa Adrian suffered the first of his many war wounds, after which he was sent back home. He was promoted to second lieutenant in the cavalry. In 1908 he married the Austrian countess Frederika Fugger von Babenhausen (1887-1949), with whom he had two daughters.
Carton De Wiart’s military career in the British Army was probably one of the most prestigious in its history. Upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, saw him in Somaliland fighting Dervish Forces where he lost an eye and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order. With his black eye patch and empty sleeve, Carton de Wiart looked like an elegant pirate, popular with the ladies and became a figure of legend. During world War II he met with the Polish Marshal of Poland, Edward Rydz-Smigly in late August 1939 and formed a rather low opinion of his capabilities. He strongly urged Rydz-Śmigły to pull Polish forces back beyond the Vistula River, but was unsuccessful. Carton de Wiart, ordered by Sir Winston Churchill arrived back at the British naval base of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on his 60th birthday, 05-05-1940, shortly for the unexpected German invasion of Holland (see Ackermans).
  As head of the British Military Mission in Yugoslavia he was flying, on 05-04-1941, to Belgrade and after refueling in Malta, the aircraft left for Cairo with enemy territory to the north and south. Both engines failed off the coast of Italian cotrolled Libya, and the plane crash landed in the sea about a mile from land. Carton de Wiart was knocked unconscious, but the cold water brought him to. When the plane broke up and sank, he and the rest aboard were forced to swim to shore. They were captured by the Italian authorities. De Wiart was a high profile prisoner and was transferred to a special prison for senior officers at Castello di Vinciglatas, with prisoners of Erwin Rommel
  Africa corps File:DAK.svg.   Carton de Wiart made friends, especially with General Sir Richard O’Conner, RichardO'Connor , who died old age 91, on 17-06-1981 in London, Thomas Daniel Knox
82493151_132511397031 82493151_132511378320 who died age 74 on 06-11-1974 and Lieutenant General Philip Neame, VC  VCPhilipNeame who died age 88, on 28-04-1978, in Selling, Kent. The four were committed to escaping. He made five attempts including seven months tunneling. Once Carton de Wiart evaded capture for eight days disguised as an Italian peasant (which is surprising considering that he was in northern Italy, couldn’t speak Italian, and was 61 years old, with an eye patch, one empty sleeve and multiple injuries and scars). Ironically, Carton de Wiart had been approved for repatriation due to his disablement, but notification arrived after his escape. As the repatriation would have required that he promise not to take any further part in the war, it is probable that he would have declined anywa. When Italy changed his role in the war, Carton was released in August 1943. He arrived in the headquarters of the Nationalist Chinese Government, Chungking, in early December 1943 and as a diplomatic, he got on well with Chiang kai Shek. In Rangoon as a guest of the army commander, coming down the stairs, he slipped on coconut matting, fell down, broke his back and several vertebra and knocked himself out. A sad end for an old warrior returning home. He eventually made it to England and into a hospital where he mended. The doctors succeeded in extracting a remarkable amount of shrapnel from his old wounds and generally patched him up. But the old warrior was not through yet. Sheer will got him on his feet and soon he was on the road again, to Belgium to visit relatives. His wife died in 1949 and in 1951, at the age of 71, he remarried and settled in County Cork, Ireland, to resume a life with fishing rod and shotgun.
Carton de Wiart in the Cairo Conference, behind Soong Mei-ling on the right. From left to right: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soong Mei-ling. Back row, Chinese Generals Chang Chen and Ling Wei; American Generals Somervell, Joseph Warren “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell   and Henry Harold “Hap” Arnold; and senior British officers, Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten.   De Mountbattens met Mahatma Gandhi in 1947.  Mountbatten died on 27-08-1979, age 79, while on holiday in Ireland after a bomb explosion on his ship Shadow V. The attack was claimed by the IRA. Three others were killed: Patricia’s youngest son Nicholas, her mother-in-law Lady Doreen Brabourne (83) and Paul Maxwell (15), who assisted as a boatswain. On 23-11-1979, the perpetrator, Thomas McMahon,
was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1998 after the Good Friday Agreement. After a state funeral and service in Westminster Abbey, London, Louis Mountbatten was interred in Romsey Abbey, Hampshire.

Death and burial ground of Carton De Wiart, Adrian.

preview Portrait of Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart   Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia: Mountbatten with General Chiang Kai-Shek (left) and Dr T V Soong (right). In the background are Captain R V Brockman, Lt Gen F A M Browning and General Carton de Wiart VC at Chungking.
His wife Joan died in 1949 and in 1951, at the age of 71, he married Ruth Myrtle Muriel Joan McKechnie, a divorcee known as Joan Sutherland, a woman 23 years his junior (born in late 1903, she died 13-01-2006 at the age of 102), and settled at Aqhinagh House, Killinardish, County Cork, Ireland, taking up a life pursuing salmon and snipe. The old hero died at the good age of 83, on 05-06-1963  and is buried with his wife Joan, on the Caum Killinardish Churchyard, County Cork, Ireland. The grave site is just outside the actual graveyard wall on the grounds of his own home Aghinagh House.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:

Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *