Only soldier to win Victoria Cross twice is face of new £5 coin

The Royal Mint's new coins will tell the story of the First World War

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Investitures and Awards - The Victoria Cross - Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse - London - 1915

The only person to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War is to be honoured with his portrait on a new £5 coin.

Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse will feature on one of the Royal Mint's new six precious metal coins which tell the story of the First World War 100 years on.

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He was awarded his medals for bravery at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and a year later at Passchendaele, where he lost his life.

Born in Oxford in 1884, Chavasse was the son of the Reverend Francis Chavasse, later Bishop of Liverpool and founder of St Peter's College, Oxford.

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Credits: PA

The coin is one of six new coins by he Royal Mint which tell the story of the First World War, 100 years later

He and his identical twin Christopher both competed for Great Britain in the 400m at the 1908 London Olympics.

After qualifying as a doctor he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was soon attached to the 10th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment), known as the Liverpool Scottish.

In June 1915 Chavasse was awarded the Military Cross and soon promoted to captain.

At the Somme he tended the wounded under heavy fire, saving the lives of at least 20 men winning his first VC.

The citation in the London Gazette read: "His courage and self-sacrifice were beyond praise."

Then at Passchendaele on August 2 1917 he was gravely wounded by shell fire but continued to care for other wounded soldiers until was taken to a casualty clearing station where he died two days later.

Our grandad, the hero we never knew - the WW1 soldier who lost his life helping the wounded at Passchendaele

Credits: Getty Images

He was awarded two medals for bravery during the Battle of the Somme

One comrade described Chavasse that day: "I was beginning to think he was not human, because nothing made him flinch or duck.

"The first wound that he received was in the head, and all he did was to take his tin hat off, put a bandage around his head, and carry on.

"This he did all day and all night until the next wound he got, in the side, did for him."

Again the London Gazette VC citation read: "By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions. This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds."

Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint's Director of Consumer Business said: "The Royal Mint has a long association with the military, having made medals for military campaigns since 1815.

"The Royal Mint will have made Captain Noel Chavasse's Military Cross, for example, so we are honoured this year to be reflecting on his bravery, and other poignant First World War themes from 1917, 100 years on."

Only three people have ever won two Victoria Crosses. As well as Chavasse, Surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake was awarded the honours after bravery during the Boer War and in Belgium, in the first year of year of World War One, and New Zealander Captain Charles Upham won them during action in Crete and Egypt during World War Two.

New stamp series to mark centenary

New stamp to commemorate WW1

New stamp will also be released to commemorate the centenary of the First World War

The Passchendaele centenary is being marked with a stamp showing a shattered poppy.

It was made by freezing the flower in liquid nitrogen and breaking the petals.

The set on sale from today also features Tyne Cot Cemetery, where the battle's fallen are buried, and a Bible that saved a soldier's life by blocking a shell fragment.

Incredibly valuable coins

Incredibly valuable coins


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