Happy Odyssey (ePub)
As seen on BBC NewsFollow this link to read more about Sir Carton de Wiart and his extraordinary life: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30685433
Adrian Carton de Wiart's autobiography is one of the most remarkable of military memoirs. He was the son of a Belgian barrister, Leon Constant Ghislain Carton de Wiart (1854-1915). He, himself, was intended for the law, but abandoned his studies at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1899 to serve as a trooper in the South African War.
He abandoned the law for all time on 14 September 1901 when he received a direct commission in the 4th Dragoon Guards. Carton de Wiart's extraordinary military career embraced service with the Somaliland Camel Corps (1914-15), liaison officer with Polish forces (1939), membership of the British Military Mission to Yugoslavia (1941), a period as a prisoner of war (1941-43), and three years as Churchill's representative to Chiang Kai-shek (1943-46). (Churchill was a great admirer.)
During the Great War, besides commanding the 8th Glosters, Carton de Wiart was GOC 12 Brigade (1917) and GOC 105 Brigade (April 1918). Both these command were terminated by wounds. He was wounded eight times during the war (including the loss of an eye and a hand), won the VC during the Battle of the Somme, was mentioned in despatches six times, and was the model for Brigadier Ben Ritchie Hook in the Sword of Honour trilogy of Evelyn Waugh.
This is one of the most unusual and most entertaining autobiographies that I’ve ever read, combining elements of POW story (complete with a tunnel escape from a castle), campaign accounts and travelogue, with appealing pictures being painted of Poland and China.History of War
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The life of a war hero like Carton De Wiart, decorated with Victoria Cross in the Great War is a life that can perhaps be a starting point for a film (a character from the literary saga "Sword Of Honor" by Evelyn Waugh was inspired by him) as there are many events that involve him as well as the famous people he meets and with whom he become friend. He is the quintessence of the British Officer, despite being Belgian, and it is not difficult to notice the points of contact between him and other fictitious officers of books and films (one among all Colonel Blimp of "The life and death of Colonel Blip" beautiful film of the Powell / Pressburger couple), as the epitome of the loyal officer, perhaps old-fashioned and very, but nicely, snobbish. Great credit to Pen & Sword who re-edits this fantastic book from 1950 (with a preface by Winston Churchill!) and makes it known to fans of military history and great characters, as was undoubtedly Sir Adrian Carton De Wiart, VC.On The Old Barbed Wire
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Basis of feature article The Unkillable SoldierWargames Illustrated, December 2018
Overall, this is a book that, through the life experiences of one man, incorporates much of British Imperial history and therefore a snapshot of an approach to life and the world that is long since gone.Jon Sandison, Freelance
'I enjoyed the book when I read it many years ago, and enjoyed it again today'War Books Out Now, KJF
'It is a joy to read'Military Illustrated, Gary Sheffield