The best Wikipedia opening paragraph ever?

Foreign Policy blog looks at the Twitter storm over what is described as “the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever”.

And no it isn’t the opening paragraph of Judith Collins Wikipedia page.


On Sunday, Twitter user Matthew Barrett created something of a sensation by linking to the obscure Wikipedia biography of the British army officer Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart. His tweet — “This guy surely has the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever” — has been retweeted more than 3,200 times over the past several days.  

So just how mind-blowing is the introduction on Carton de Wiart’s page? Judge for yourself:

Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart[1] VCKBECB,CMGDSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963), was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He fought in the Boer WarWorld War I, and World War II, 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 wouldn’t amputate them. He later said “frankly I had enjoyed the war.” [2]

Sounds impressive…and the Daily Mail did a feature of him too.

So who was this man of extraordinary valor? A Daily Mail profile last year relays much of the same information contained on Carton de Wiart’s Wikipedia page: By the end of his life, the British soldier had been awarded his military’s highest honor for bravery during World War I and served in the Second Boer War and World War II, commanding troops in a daring World War II raid in Norway. He wore a black patch to cover a missing eye, and had been wounded in the skull, groin, ankle, and stomach. A missing hand betrayed a grisly backstory — he had once chewed off his own wounded fingers. He had tunneled out of an Italian prisoner-of-war camp, and had wound up there after crashing his plane in the Mediterranean. To top it all off, he had also served as Winston Churchill’s special representative to China’s Chiang Kai-shek. He had indeed remarked that he “enjoyed” World War I, going on to add that “it had given me many bad moments, lots of good ones, plenty of excitement and with everything found for us.”


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • We ran that as a Trivia item yesterday.

  • johnbronkhorst

    Where’s the film of this guy’s life?

  • opusx

    Balls Of Steel…a real man, and a hero to boot. My Grandfather said of WWll: “We all rushed to sign up, hell, travel the world for free, yes please! We had nothing, and this was an opportunity to have experiences we never could of otherwise. Having some of my mates killed kinda put a damper on some of it though.”

  • Middleagedwhiteguy

    I know one that beats it…..

    “Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar (16 September 1906 – 8 March 1996), nicknamed Fighting Jack Churchill and Mad Jack, was a British soldier who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow, and a Scottish broadsword. He is known for the motto “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly armed.”

    • Hazards001


      I’d be willing to be a penny to a pinch of pig shit that your Lt. Col. was one of the public school elite that never got within a bulls roar of actual front line danger as he spent his time hunkered down in a bunker while his batman fetched tea and bickies for supper with visiting Generals.

      A man that most likely had his compass pointing North while the map faced East.

      Running around with his fucking Claymore out while he pointed good men into the direction of death with never a thought and then being appropriately rewarded in the gong allocations thanks to his incredible ability to stomach the deaths of the lesser mortals of his regiment!

      NB. Am generalising. Haven’t looked at his profile and aren’t going too.

      • Bart

        Suggest you do take a look at his profile, you misinformed willfully ignorant little scrote! To make a statement on ignorance is bad enough, but to embrace the ignorance without having the intellectual courage to actually click on the handy link and have your perceptions challenged is the worst kind of moral cowardice!

        To put it bluntly, grow a fucking pair, will you.

        Mad Jack Churchill was a legend, and as a Commando Officer, he could never be accused of leading from the rear!

        • Hazards001

          Give yourself a slap you piss weak little internet troll. Did you drop your commando comic in your weet bix this morning?

  • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

    I will confidently bet that he was the chief buggerer of the trench and when it came to receiving, he was prepared to use tears and blood instead of that pussy vasoline shit…

  • Bad__Cat

    Psychopaths who fortunately had a legal outlet for their homicidal urges. Handy people to have around in wartime.