The following eight men were awarded a Victoria Cross in World War 1.  They were either born or educated in South Australia; some enlisted here, while others lived here, either before or after the war.


 

Lieutenant Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, VC

Service:                             10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, AIF

Army number:                  31

Date/Place of birth:        25 November 1892, Woodville, South Australia

Date of enlistment:         19 August 1914

Date awarded VC:      23 July 1916

Field of war:                     Pozières, France

Date/Place of death:      24 November 1960, Crafers, South Australia

Buried:                               AIF Garden of Memorial Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide

Location of medal:           Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

Supplement to the London Gazette, 9 September 1916, p.8870

‘For most conspicuous bravery. He was directed with fifty men to drive the enemy from a strong point. By dogged determination he eventually captured their trench after personally leading four separate parties of bombers against it, many of whom became casualties.

In face of fierce opposition he captured 250 yards of trench. Then, after crawling forward to reconnoitre, he returned, attacked and seized another 120 yards of trench, establishing communication with the battalion on his left.’

 


Private John Leak, VC

Service:                              9th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, AIF

Army number:                  2053

Date/Place of birth:        c.1892, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Date of enlistment:         28 January 1915

Date awarded VC:      23 July 1916

Field of war:                     Pozières, France

Date/Place of death:      20 October 1972, Redwood Park, Adelaide

Buried:                               Stirling General Cemetery, Adelaide Hills

Location of medal:          Private Collection

Supplement to the London Gazette, 9 September 1916, p.8871

‘For most conspicuous bravery.  He was one of a party which finally captured an enemy strong point. At one assault, when the enemy’s bombs were outranging ours, Private Leak jumped out of the trench, ran forward under heavy machine-gun fire at close range, and threw three bombs into the enemy’s bombing post. He then jumped into the post and bayonetted three unwounded enemy bombers.

Later, when the enemy in overwhelming numbers was driving his party back, he was always the last to withdraw at each stage, and kept on throwing bombs.

His courage and energy had such an effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reinforcements, the whole trench was recaptured.’

 


Private Jørgen Christian Jensen, VC

Service:                              50th Battalion, 13th Brigade, 4th Division, AIF

Army number:                  2389

Date/Place of birth:        15 January 1891, Løgstør, Aalborg, Denmark

Date of enlistment:         23 March 1915

Date awarded VC:      2 April 1917

Field of war:                      Noreuil, France

Date/Place of death:      31 May 1922, Adelaide, South Australia

Buried:                               AIF Garden of Memorial Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide

Location of medal:          Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 June 1917, p.5705

‘For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when, with five comrades, he attacked a barricade behind which were about 45 of the enemy and a machine gun. One of his party shot the gunner, and Pte. Jensen, singlehanded, rushed the post and threw in a bomb. He had still a bomb in one hand, but taking another from his pocket with the other hand he drew the pin with his teeth, and by threatening the enemy with two bombs and by telling them that they were surrounded, he induced them to surrender.

Pte. Jensen then sent one of his prisoners to order a neighbouring enemy party to surrender, which they did. This latter party were then fired on in ignorance of their surrender by another party of our troops; whereupon Pte. Jensen, utterly regardless of personal danger, stood on the barricade, waved his helmet, caused firing to cease, and sent his prisoners back to our lines.

Pte. Jensen’s conduct throughout was marked by extraordinary bravery and determination.’

 


Private Reginald Roy Inwood, VC

Service:                             10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, AIF

Army number:                  506

Date/Place of birth:        14 July 1890, Adelaide

Date of enlistment:         24 August 1914

Date awarded VC:      21 September 1917

Field of war:                     Polygon Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium

Date/Place of death:      23 October 1971, Adelaide

Buried:                               AIF Garden of Memorial Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide

Location of medal:           Adelaide City Council

Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 November 1917, p.12330

‘For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the advance to the second objective. He moved forward through our barrage alone to an enemy strong post and captured it, together with nine prisoners, killing several of the enemy. During the evening he volunteered for a special all-night patrol, which went out six hundred yards in front of our line, and there – by his coolness and sound judgment – obtained and sent back very valuable information as to the enemy’s movements.

In the early morning of the 21st September, Pte. Inwood located a machine gun which was causing several casualties. He went out alone and bombed the gun and team, killing all but one, whom he brought in as a prisoner with the gun.’

 


Corporal Phillip Davey, VC, MM

Service:                             10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, AIF

Army number:                  1327

Date/Place of birth:        10 October 1896, Unley, South Australia

Date of enlistment:         22 December 1914

Date awarded VC:      28 June 1918

Field of war:                      Merris, France

Date/Place of death:      21 December 1953, Springbank, South Australia

Buried:                               AIF Garden of Memorial Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide

Location of medal:           Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

Third Supplement to the London Gazette, 17 August 1918, p.9659

‘For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in attack. In a daylight operation against the enemy position, his platoon advanced 200 yards, capturing part of the enemy line, and whilst the platoon was consolidating, the enemy pushed a machine gun forward under cover of a hedge and opened fire from close range, inflicting heavy casualties and hampering work.

Alone Corporal Davey moved forward in the face of a fierce point-blank fire, and attacked the gun with hand grenades, putting half the crew out of action. Having used all available grenades he returned to the original jumping-off trench, secured a further supply, and again attacked the gun, the crew of which had in the meantime been reinforced. He killed the crew, eight in all, and captured the gun. This very gallant N.C.O. then mounted the gun in the new post, and used it in repelling a determined counter-attack, during which he was severely wounded. By his determination Corporal Davey saved the platoon from annihilation, and made it possible to consolidate and hold a position of vital importance to the success of the whole operation.’

 


Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers, VC

Service:                              43rd Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Division, AIF

Army number:                  1153

Date/Place of birth:        14 May 1890, Te Kopuru, New Zealand

Date of enlistment:         3 February 1916

Date awarded VC:      2 September 1918

Field of war:                      North of Péronne, Somme Valley, France

Date/Place of death:      29 September 1918 (died of wounds in France)

Buried:                               Unicorn Cemetery, Vend’huile, France

Location of medal:           Private Collection

Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 December 1918, p.15118

‘For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 2nd September, 1918 north of Péronne, when with an advanced bombing party.

The attack having been held up by a strongly held enemy trench, Cpl. Weathers went forward alone under heavy fire and attacked the enemy with bombs. Then, returning to our lines for a further supply of bombs, he again went forward with three comrades, and attacked under very heavy fire.  Regardless of personal danger, he mounted the enemy parapet and bombed the trench, and, with the support of his comrades, captured 180 prisoners and three machine guns.

His valour and determination resulted in the successful capture of the final objective, and saved the lives of many of his comrades.’

 

 


Private James Park Woods, VC

Service:                             48th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Division, AIF

Army number:                  3244A

Date/Place of birth:        4 January 1886, Two Wells, South Australia

Date of enlistment:         29 September 1916

Date awarded VC:      18 September 1918

Field of war:                      Le Verguier, north west of St Quentin, France

Date/Place of death:      18 January 1963, Perth, Western Australia

Buried:                               Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth

Location of medal:           Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

Supplement to the London Gazette, 26 December 1918, p.15119

‘For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Le Verguier, north-west of St. Quentin, on the 18th September, 1918, when, with a weak patrol, he attacked and captured a very formidable enemy post, and subsequently, with two comrades, held the same against heavy enemy counterattacks.

Although exposed to heavy fire of all descriptions, he fearlessly jumped on the parapet and opened fire on the attacking enemy, inflicting severe casualties. He kept up his fire and held up the enemy until help arrived, and throughout the operations displayed a splendid example of valour, determination and initiative.’

 


Corporal Arthur Percy Sullivan, VC

Service:                              45th Battalion, British Royal Fusiliers, Sadlier-Jackson’s Brigade

Army number:                  133003

Date/Place of birth:        27 November 1896, Crystal Brook, South Australia

Date of enlistment:         27 April 1918

Date awarded VC:     10 August 1919

Field of war:                    Sheika River, south of Archangel, North Russia

Date/Place of death:       9 April 1937, London, England

Buried:                               Ashes at Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Sydney

Location of medal:           Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

Third Supplement to the London Gazette, 29 September 1919, p.11197

‘For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 10th August, 1919, at the Sheika River, North Russia. The platoon to which he belonged, after fighting a rearguard covering action, had to cross the river by means of a narrow plank, and during the passage an officer and three men fell into a deep swamp.

Without hesitation, under intense fire, Corporal Sullivan jumped into the river and rescued all four, bringing them out singly. But for this gallant action his comrades would undoubtedly have been drowned. It was a splendid example of heroism as all ranks were on the point of exhaustion and the enemy less than 100 yards distant.’