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Military: Private John Carroll, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Private John Carroll, 33rd Battalion, Victoria Cross action at St Yves (battle of Messines).

Jack Carroll was born in Brisbane but grew up in Western Australia and worked around Kalgoorlie and nearby Karrawang. In 1916 he joined the AIF's 44th Battalion, but soon transferred to the 33rd. Messines was the battalion's first big action.

Over the period of 7-10 June, during the battle at St Yves (near Messines), Carroll was outstanding: he rushed an enemy trench and killed four Germans; assisted a soldier in distress and killed another German; attacked a machine-gun team, killing three men and capturing the gun; then extracted comrades buried in a shell hole while under heavy fire. His citation declared: "his magnificent example of gallantry and devotion to duty inspired all ranks in his battalion".

Carroll was a casual and happy-go-lucky man, known by his mates as "the wild Irishman". He was wounded a month later and again, severely this time, on 12 October 1917. Returned to Australia, he resumed work as a labourer and railwayman. In 1927 he...

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Military: Private John Carroll, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Private John Carroll, 33rd Battalion, Victoria Cross action at St Yves (battle of Messines).

Jack Carroll was born in Brisbane but grew up in Western Australia and worked around Kalgoorlie and nearby Karrawang. In 1916 he joined the AIF's 44th Battalion, but soon transferred to the 33rd. Messines was the battalion's first big action.

Over the period of 7-10 June, during the battle at St Yves (near Messines), Carroll was outstanding: he rushed an enemy trench and killed four Germans; assisted a soldier in distress and killed another German; attacked a machine-gun team, killing three men and capturing the gun; then extracted comrades buried in a shell hole while under heavy fire. His citation declared: "his magnificent example of gallantry and devotion to duty inspired all ranks in his battalion".

Carroll was a casual and happy-go-lucky man, known by his mates as "the wild Irishman". He was wounded a month later and again, severely this time, on 12 October 1917. Returned to Australia, he resumed work as a labourer and railwayman. In 1927 he...

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Military: Lieutenant Rupert Moon, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Lieutenant Rupert Vance 'Mick' Moon, 58th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Bullecourt.

Rupert "Mick" Moon was born at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and grew up in Gippsland. He had been in the militia, and in 1914 enlisted in the light horse. He was sent to Gallipoli, then in September 1916 was commissioned and transferred to the 58th Australian Infantry Battalion to replace recent losses.

At Bullecourt on the 12 May 1917, Moon led an attack on an enemy strongpoint but was soon wounded. Not giving up, and continually calling, "come on boys", he was badly wounded twice more but still stayed to lead, inspire, and encourage his men. "We would have followed him anywhere, he was that game", said one. Only when he was wounded for a fourth time, severely now, did he finally agree to retire and seek medical help.

Moon returned to Australia but went back to Europe and ended the war as a temporary captain. Afterwards he worked in a bank and as an accountant. He was eventually one of the last surviving Australian Victoria Cross–holders of the war.


Military: Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton, 5th Machine Gun Company, Victoria Cross action at PozièresFrance.

Born in England, Claud Castleton (1893-1916) arrived in Melbourne in 1912 seeking travel and adventure. For three years he toured Tasmania, the eastern states, and Papua. He was in Port Moresby when the First World War began, but in March 1915 returned to Sydney to enlist. He served on Gallipoli with the 18th Battalion and in March 1916 transferred to the 5th Machine Gun Company.

Castleton was killed at Pozières on 29 July 1916 during an action for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. During a night attack on enemy trenches, the infantry was driven back and then held down by intense enemy machine-gun fire. Many wounded men were left lying in no man's land, and on two occasions Castleton went out in the face of enemy fire to bring in wounded men on his back. When he went out a third time, he was himself hit in the back and instantly killed. His body was later recovered and is buried in the main British war...

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Military: Sergeant William Ruthven, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Sergeant William Ruthven, 22nd Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Ville-sur-AncreFrance.

William "Rusty" Ruthven was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, and was a mechanic in the timber industry before enlisting in April 1915. After serving on Gallipoli he went to France, where he was wounded in April 1916.

During an attack near Ville-sur-Ancre on 19 May 1918, Ruthven performed outstanding acts of bravery. He took command of a company after the officer commanding was wounded, and personally assaulted enemy strongpoints. Throughout the successful action, he led by example, inspiring and encouraging his men. During the mopping-up and consolidation, he captured 32 Germans.

Ruthven was commissioned in July 1918 and discharged in December. He became a soldier-settler for a while, but returned to Collingwood and became a local councillor. During the Second World War he served in garrison battalions, reaching the rank of major. From 1945 to 1961 he was a member of the Victorian parliament.

Ruthven received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First and Second World Wars and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.


Military: 2nd Lieutenant Harry Murray, V.C.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle



2nd Lieutenant Harry Murray of the 13th Battalion, AIF at Cheshire Ridge - Gallipoli, November, 1915.

Harry Murray was born at LauncestonTasmania, on 1 December 1880. As a youth he helped run the family farm. He was also interested in the military and joined a militia unit, the Australian Field Artillery, in Launceston.

Murray moved to Western Australia at the age of 19 or 20 where he worked as a mail courier on the goldfields. When he enlisted in the AIF as a private on 30 September 1914, he was employing timber-cutters for the railways in the south west of Western Australia. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as a member of one of the 16th Battalion's two machine-gun crews. Murray was wounded several times, spent June in hospital, was promoted to lance corporal on 13 May and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery between 9-31 May. He was wounded again on 8 July and a month later experienced a remarkable series of promotions. On 13 August he was made a sergeant, commissioned second-lieutenant and transferred to...

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Military: Corporal Walter Ernest Brown VC DCM

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Corporal Walter Ernest Brown VC DCM

 Wally Brown was a grocer. He did not necessarily want to be a grocer but neither did he want to follow in the footsteps of his father as a miller. The small Tasmanian community of New Norfolk, into which he was born in 1885, was a progressive ‘postal, telegraphic and money order township'. The town boasted the New Norfolk Literary Institution complete with a library of some 1200 volumes and a 'very fine and well built lunatic asylum’. Progressive it might have been, but at 26 years of age Brown had itchy feet. In 1911 he left New Norfolk for the bustling lifestyle of Petersham in Sydney.

On 26 July 1915 the lure of adventure and, no doubt, a sense of duty, led Brown to enlist. In January 1916, he found himself in Egypt as a Light Horseman. Life could not have been any further removed from his small Tasmanian birthplace. Any romantic notions that Brown had of bringing the fight to the enemy in Egypt were quickly dispelled, particularly after he was posted to the Camel Corps. His idea of...

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Military: Sergeant Stanley Robert McDougall, 47th Battalion, AIF - Victoria Cross

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Sergeant Stanley Robert McDougall, 47th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Dernancourt.

Stan McDougall (1889-1968) was born in Tasmania, and became a blacksmith. He enlisted in August 1915 and fought at Pozières, Messines and Broodseinde. He was promoted to sergeant in January 1918.

At Dernancourt, when he saw the enemy knock out a Lewis gun position, he attacked two German machine-gun teams, killing their crews by "hosing" them with the Lewis. He then attacked a second wave of Germans, burning his hands on the hot barrel casing of his gun. When a German officer aimed his pistol at some Australians, McDougall killed him with a rifle and bayonet. Twenty-two Germans were killed and 30 were captured, largely as the result of McDougall's actions. Eight days later, at the same place, McDougall won the Military Medal, taking over the platoon when his commander was killed.

After the war McDougall became an officer with the Tasmanian Forestry Department, and later, while inspector-in-charge of...

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Military: Captain Hugo Throssell. V.C.- 10th Light Horse, AIF

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Captain Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell VC, 10th Light Horse, AIF. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery at Hill 60, Gallipoli.

Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell (1884-1933), soldier and farmer, was born on 26 October 1884 at Northam, Western Australia, youngest son of George Throssell, storekeeper and later premier, and his wife Anne, née Morrell. One of fourteen children, Hugo was educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, where he captained the football team and became a champion athlete and boxer. He then worked as a jackeroo on cattle stations in the north of the State. In 1912 he and his brother, Frank Erick (Ric) Cottrell (b.1881), took up land at Cowcowing in the Western Australian wheatbelt. Severe drought during the next two years strengthened the bond between them; they were later described as 'David and Jonathan' in their devotion to one another. Hugo was tall, with a long face and strong features.

With the outbreak of war Hugo and Ric joined the 10th Light Horse Regiment, formed in October 1914. Hugo was...

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Military: Major Blair Wark V.C.- 32nd Battalion AIF

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle


Major Blair Wark, 32nd Battalion, Victoria Cross action during fighting from Bellicourt to Joncourt, France.

Blair Wark had been a militia officer in New South Wales before enlisting as an officer with the 32nd Battalion, AIF, in mid-1915. A year later he fought in the battle of Fromelles, where he was highly commended for his work, despite being wounded. Next year at Polygon Wood he won the Distinguished Service Order.

Wark’s finest feat took place during the attack at Bellicourt, on the Hindenburg Line, in his battalion’s final action. During 29 September - 1 October 1918, he constantly showed outstanding leadership, often in advance of his troops. He was responsible for the capture of some field artillery, the silencing of machine-guns and the capture of many prisoners.
An outstanding citizen and soldier, Wark was active in business and public affairs in Sydney. He was commanding a militia battalion during the Second World War when he died suddenly aged 47.




Latest Out Of Battle Stories

Private John Carroll, V.C.
Private John Carroll, V.C.
Lieutenant Rupert Moon, V.C.
Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton, V.C.
Sergeant William Ruthven, V.C.

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