The most interesting Irish man in the world

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war," he said after biting off his own fingers

The most interesting Irish man in the world

This is the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia page for Adrian Paul Ghislain de Wiart, and Irish-Belgian soldier.

It's amazing.

Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963), was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent.

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 a plane crash; tunneled out of a POW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them.

He later wrote that "Frankly I had enjoyed the war" when describing his service in the First World War.

This amazing intro took off online after it was tweeted by a guy called Matthew Barrett last week - and retweeted a few thousand times.

But it flew under the radar here in Ireland, despite his Irish mammy.

This isn't just a case of a cracking trailer for a film that turns out a bit pants. The man's life is genuinely that crazy.

For example, after being shot in the stomach, it "instilled in him a strong desire for physical fitness" and "he was 'a delightful character and must hold the world record for bad language.'"

He was a man's man, it seems. He married an aristocrat, but oddly, "in his memoirs … [he] makes no reference to his wife or to his daughters."

He was shot several more times and lost his left hand, won the Victoria Cross - that's the highest honor in the British Army - for taking over the command of three other battalions when their commanders were killed, and lost his eye and part of an ear.

At this point he was about 36.

By the time he was fighting in Poland at the start of World War II, he looked like this:

Not quite done with breaking the boundaries of what's possible, the man was captured after surviving a plane crash, and then proceeded to break out of his Italian prison.

He successfully hid for eight days before they found him, disguised as a peasant. Not speaking Italian and having no left hand and missing an eye didn't give him away at all.

He later broke his back by falling down the stairs, and his doctors at the time extracted most of the shrapnel from old wounds. Because he'd been carrying it around, obviously.

Here's the kicker: he later retired to Co Cork, after marrying his second wife at the age of 71, and took up fishing.

We can only imagine what he was like down the pub with the locals.

Hat-tip to foreignpolicy.com.

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