Adrian Carton de Wiart

Today let’s talk about Adrian Carton de Wiart, who, let’s be honest, scares me a little bit. I don’t know if this guy is the most extreme adrenaline junkie I’ve ever heard of, or had a death wish, or a screw loose, or is maybe a cyborg, or one of Satan’s minor demons, or what, but JESUS CHRIST.

Let me just copy and paste the introduction to his Wikipedia page: “He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World war; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a POW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in World War I, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.”


“Your regard for personal safety disgusts me. You’re disgusting.”

While attending Oxford at age 19, Adrian decided, “Enough of this book learnin’, I got Boers to kill,” so he quietly joined the army under the name “Trooper Carton”, claiming to be 25. It was only when he was wounded in the stomach and in the groin and sent home from the war that his father even knew his son was no longer still at Oxford.

I bet that was one awkward visit back home.
“My god, son! What on earth has happened to your penis?!”
“Well, sir, heh heh, funny story. You know how there’s a war on right now . . . ?”

He went back to Oxford for a bit while his junk was healing, but within two years was back in South Africa, and then India. Much like Teddy Roosevelt, Adrian was shamed by his body’s limitations and believed that exercise was the ONLY medicine. In Teddy Roosevelt’s case, his limitation was severe asthma, which he held at bay with lots of hiking. In Adrian’s case, his limitation was that his body was not impervious to bullets. He jogged his bullet wounds closed. You can’t keep a suicidal good man down!

He did well in the army and got promoted to supernumerary lieutenant. It probably didn’t hurt that he spoke several languages and was related to a shit-ton of important and aristocratic people on the Continent (that is, of course, a metric shit-ton, because they use the metric system on the Continent).

By way of example, check out who he married. I’m going to copy and paste this blurb straight from Wikipedia purely for the glorious names:

“In 1908 he married Countess Friederike Maria Karoline Henriette Rosa Sabina Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen (1887 Klagenfurt – 1949 Vienna), eldest daughter of Karl Ludwig, 4th Fürst (Prince) Fugger-Babenhausen and Princess Eleonora Fugger von Babenhausen of Klagenfurt, Austria”.


I want to change my name to Fugger.

He had two daughters with Friederike Maria Karoline etc. etc., but in his memoirs he never mentions his wife or daughters ONCE.

Then things presumably got too quiet for him, and I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume that he single-handedly started WWI. No need to fact check.

Not only did he hot-foot it into the war, but he went straight to fucking SOMALIA because he likes things EXTREEEEME. And in case you’re saying, “But surely Somalia (or British Somaliland, as it was then known) was not as messed up and hellish back then as it is today!” please keep in mind that Somalia was once a part of Abyssinia, the most fucked up place on earth, as these two previous posts illustrate.

(At least I think Somalia was once a part of Abyssinia. That’s what a library book told me, but please correct me if I am wrong).

And just to show you just how extreme Adrian liked it, he immediately got shot twice in the face. TWICE. And not only did he live, despite losing an eye and an ear, but he probably chewed the bullets into amusing shapes and spat them out. Voila: toys for the children.

“Daddy, Daddy, you’re home from war! What did you bring me?”
“Proof of my perverse immortality. And also, my preserved ear. Do you like ears?”

Then, within SIX MONTHS (because healing is for the weak), he was on a boat to France to go fight on the Western Front, where he was wounded seven more times. Let’s just take a look at his injuries so far:

-Wounded in the stomach. (Who cares? He gets everything he needs from the blood of his enemies and the bullets his body absorbes and converts into nutrients.)
-Wounded in the groin. (Double who cares? His junk still obviously works, unless his Mrs. was stepping out with the milkman, but he doesn’t talk about his kids anyway.)
-Shot in the face; lost an eye. (He has two. NBD.)
-Shot in the face; lost an ear. (Ditto.)

Now for the new wounds:
-Shot through the skull; recovered.
-Shot in the ankle; walked it off.
-Shot in the leg; meh.
-Shot in the hip; who needs hips?
-Shot in the other ear; didn’t even notice.
-Wounded in the left hand; I’m NOT making this part up–he bit off his own fingers when the doctor refused to amputate them. Eventually he lost his whole left hand.

Also, I would like you to note that he has been shot in the head four times and it didn’t kill him. God forbid this man ever becomes a zombie.

After all of that, he finally conceded to resting for a tiny bit of time. The government rewarded this huge sacrifice (not his injuries and lost body parts, but his staying in bed instead of slaying) by promoting/rewarding him eight times in the space of a year. One for each injury, and one for the bedrest, I guess.

The war ended, to which he probably responded, “NOOOOOOOOO”, but it was all okay, because the British sent him to Poland to run military missions. Not only did he have complete command over this mission, but I’m convinced that he was the only one operating them. The British just dumped him in the middle of Poland and said, “Sort this shit out. We know you can do it single-handedly.”

Don’t bother to correct me, my version of the story is better.

While there, his train got machine-gunned. Other people died, but not him. Never him.

Then he got in a plane crash out there and got captured by Lithuanians, but that was a walk in the park. Come on, he had to sit IDLE in a jail cell? They could have at least flogged him or put him on the rack or something. You know he was sitting there, yelling at his captors, “Guys, torture me a little! I’m so BORED! At least give me some cigarettes that I can put out on myself!”

After he got released from captivity, some more shit went down. The details are boring, but one time he was on a train when it got attacked by the Red Army. He pulled some serious cowboy moves and just grabbed a revolver and leaned out the door and started shooting at the army. As far as I can tell, he was alone. Then he FELL OFF THE TRAIN ONTO THE TRAIN TRACKS (wait, was the train moving? What’s happening?) and managed to jump back on the train while still fighting the Red Army.

Okay, historians are just fucking with me at this point. (Or are they?)

Then, in a totally wild card move, he retired from the army. Maybe he just got bored. Maybe it wasn’t giving him the same thrill. He needed to find something way more metal than fighting whole armies on public transportation all by himself. He didn’t even lose any body parts.

Eventually WWII happened.

“I can sense them out there. People killing things. Without me.”

He was sent on a mission to Yugoslavia. On his way there, his plane’s engines both failed near Italy and the plane crashed into the sea. He was knocked unconscious (or maybe just fell asleep–for him, plane crashes were so 1920), but the cold water woke him up (invigorating bath after a day of peril, wot wot?)

He swam a mile to shore and was immediately arrested by the Italian authorities.

He was held in prison for two years, where the Italians made the mistake of putting him in a special prison for high-ranking badasses. IDIOTS. He quickly made friends with other hellions who were bent on escaping. They tunneled for seven months. Adrian managed to make it out, and evaded capture for eight days disguised as an Italian peasant, which is remarkable considering 1.) he didn’t speak a word of Italian, and 2.) he had an eye patch, a missing arm, and a whole range of identifying scars.

Just as he had escaped, the Italian authorities had decided that, due to his ailments, they were going to send him back to England as long as he promised not to have anything more to do with the war (yeah, like he REALLY would have accepted that). It was only when they went to bring him the offer that they discovered he had escaped. Considering how recognizable he was, it’s a bit embarrassing that it took them over a week to recapture him.

Not long after, Italy realized the war wasn’t going so well for them and decided to leave. They needed someone to negotiate peace with the UK on their behalf, so they chose Adrian and sent him back home. Only, because this was a top-secret mission, they told him he had to dress in civilian clothes. He didn’t trust Italian tailors, but said he’d wear a normal suit provided them thar foreigners didn’t make him “resemble a gigolo”.

He wasn’t home a month before he was sent to China on diplomatic missions. During this mission, he was rude to Chairman Mao at a dinner party, because Adrian Carton de Wiart does not give a SINGLE shit. Chairman Mao was so stunned by this audacity that he just laughed.

Eventually he went home to retire at age 66, for there were no more worlds to conquer embarrass with his firm resolve never to die. He stopped off in French Indochina on his way back to England, slipped on coconut matting coming down the stairs, broke his back and several vertibrae, had some surgeries in which the doctors pulled an alarming amount of shrapnel from his body, and then went home.

His wife died not long after, so, at the ripe old age of 71, he decided to remarry a 40-something divorcee, and took up fishing for the next 20 years. He eventually died of natural causes, which is code for “boredom”.

I’m not going to lie to you–I’m as scared by this guy as I am turned on by him.

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6 Responses to Adrian Carton de Wiart

  1. linda_lupos says:

    When I came to the part that said he retired at age 66, I pretty much went “wait, he was ONLY 66??”
    Good Lord.


  2. hearts_blood says:

    This is the sort of man Hollywood refuses to make movies about, because the amount of suspension of disbelief required would cause movie-goers to start breaking the laws of physics and floating round the theater.


  3. Angie says:

    After the Italians let him go he spent a week in a country house pacing the back garden before being sent to sort out Chairman Mao! I know this as I was a kid at the time & my mother had part of his ration card dated 5/9/43. I still have it!!


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