THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR VALOUR : Souvenir Dinner Menu, 1919, with multiple SIGNATURES
"DINNER Offered by Mr. Hugh D. McIntosh to Heros of the A.I.F. on whom His Majesty the King conferred the VICTORIA CROSS FOR VALOUR : HOTEL AUSTRALIA : on the night of ARMISTICE DAY, NOVEMBER 11th, 1919".
Following the title pages, the menu and a page devoted to a poem, "To these Brave" by Frank Morton, the following 26 pages bear the original signatures of the following 19 Victoria Cross recipients (in the order they appear) as well as several other notable guests:
Provenance: The Estate of Sir Ernest Henry Wreford (1866 - 1938), thence by family descent.
Wreford, a guest of McIntosh, has signed the title page. The Compliments page is signed by six other dignitaries, including Henry Teasdale Smith (an M.P. and associate of McIntosh, whose son, Malcolm, had died at Gallipoli), Charles Kinnaird MacKellar, Edmund Cowell (13th Light Horse), and others.
1: Albert LOWERSON (1896 - 1945) born at Myrteford, Victoria. Sergeant 21st Battalion. Awarded the V.C. "for most conspicuous bravery and tactical skill on the 1st September, 1918, during the attack on Mont Saint-Quentin..." Regardless of heavy enemy machine gun fire, Sergeant Lowerson moved about fearlessly directing his men, encouraging them to still greater effort, and finally led them on to the objective. On reaching the objective he saw that the left attacking party was held up by an enemy strong post heavily manned with twelve machine guns. Under the heaviest sniping and machine gun fire, Sergeant Lowerson rallied seven men as a storming party, and directing them to attack the flanks of the post, rushed the strong point, and, by effective bombing, captured it, together with twelve machine guns and thirty prisoners. Though severely wounded in the right thigh, he refused to leave the front line until the prisoners had been disposed of, and the organization and consolidation of the post had been thoroughly completed. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Edmund Albert Charles COWELL (13th Light Horse Regiment) born at Ballan, Victoria, Cowell's regiment was deployed defending the trenches at Lone Pine, a strongly contested stretch of the front line around Anzac Cove. They later served on the Western Front.
2: Reginald Roy Inwood (1890 - 1971) born at North Adelaide, South Australia. Inwood was amongst the "first landers" at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915. In April 1917, Inwood was with his battalion when it fought in the Battle of Lagnicourt, then the Second Battle of Bullecourt the following month. During the Battle of Menin Road in September, he was involved in the elimination of a German machine-gun post and other actions, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He reached the rank of sergeant before being sent back to Australia in August 1918.
His V.C. and other medals are displayed at the Adelaide Town Hall.
3: Arthur Charles HALL (1896 - 1978) born at Granville, Sydney. Corporal Hall participated in his battalion's attack on Péronne, on 2nd September 1918. He rushed a machine-gun post holding up the advance, shot four of the occupants, and captured nine others, along with two machine-guns. He provided excellent covering support to his company, and while in advance of the main attack located enemy posts and led parties to deal with them. Next day he rescued a wounded comrade. Throughout all this, he "showed utter disregard [for the enemy] and inspired confidence in all". His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
4: William Matthew CURREY (1895 - 1948) born at Wallsend, Newcastle. In September 1918, during the final Allied offensive of the war – the Hundred Days Offensive – Currey was one of eight Australians awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin. On 1 September 1918 in the attack on Péronne, Currey, a 22-year-old private in the 53rd Battalion, rushed forward under heavy machine-gun fire and captured single-handed a 77mm field gun which had been holding up the advance, killing all the crew. Later, when the advance was checked by an enemy strong-point he crept round the flank and engaged the post with a Lewis gun, then rushed it, causing many casualties. Subsequently he volunteered to carry orders for withdrawal to an isolated company, bringing back valuable information, doing so under heavy fire and despite being gassed. The citation published in the London Gazette of 14 December 1918 concluded that his behaviour was a "striking example of coolness, determination and utter disregard of danger... and his gallant work contributed largely to the success of the operation." His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
J.H. Davidson, Secretary to the Honourable H.W. McIntosh, Member of the N.S.W. Legislative Council and the host of the dinner.
5: Thomas James Bede KENNY (1896 - 1953) born at Paddington, Sydney. On 9 April 1917, at Hermies, France, Kenny's platoon was held up by an enemy strong point. Despite heavy enemy fire, he ran alone towards the enemy, killing one man who tried to stop him, and soon after bombing the enemy position. Kenny was successful in wounding and capturing the gun crew and seizing the gun. For his actions in Hermies he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
6: George Julian "Snowy" HOWELL (1893 - 1964) born at Enfield, Sydney. He served briefly on Gallipoli before being sent to France, where he was wounded at Pozières in July 1916. In April 1917 he won the Military Medal for his bravery leading a bombing section in an attack.
The outstanding feat for which he received the Victoria Cross took place at Bullecourt on June 6th, 1917, when he single-handedly fought off an enemy counter-attack with bombs, rifle, and bayonet before he was severely wounded. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
George Warburton FULLER (1861 - 1940), Member of the N.S.W. Legislative Assembly and later Premier of New South Wales. The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was commenced during his premiership.
7: William DUNSTAN (1895 - 1957) born at Ballarat, Victoria. Dunstan was 20 years old and a corporal in the 7th Battalion, A.I.F. when he was awarded the VC for his actions on 9 August 1915, during the Battle of Lone Pine on Gallipoli. During the action Turkish forces had made a determined counter-attack on the centre of a newly captured trench held by a lieutenant, Frederick Harold Tubb, two corporals (Alexander Stewart Burton and Corporal Dunstan), and a few men. The Turkish blew in the sand-bag barricade, leaving only a 25cm standing, but Tubb, Burton and Dunstan repelled them and rebuilt the barricade. Twice more the Turkish blew in the barricade and on each occasion they were repelled and the barricade rebuilt. He later achieved the rank of lieutenant. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
8: George Morby INGRAM (1889 - 1961) born at Bendigo, Victoria. Ingram became Australia's final recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War following his actions during an attack on the village of Montbrehain in France. Leading a platoon during the engagement, he instigated several charges against a number of German strong points that eventuated in the seizure of ten machine guns and sixty-two prisoners, as well as inflicting high casualties. He had already been awarded the Military Medal for his "... great courage and initiative ..." during a battle in March 1917. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Alexander R. BARCLAY, born Glasgow, Scotland, 1879; Second Class Air Mechanic, Australian Flying Corps.
9: Walter PEELER (1887 - 1968) born at Barker's Creek, Victoria. On 4 October 1917 Peeler was one of several Lewis gunners attached to the 37th Battalion for the attack on Broodseinde Ridge. In the forefront, he led attacks against a series of enemy posts, eventually accounting for over 30 of the enemy. A few days later, Peeler was wounded and while recuperating received the Victoria Cross from King George V. He was a Custodian of Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance between 1934 and 1940 and from 1945 until 1964. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1961. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
10: George CARTWRIGHT (1894 - 1978) born at South Kensington, London. On 31 August 1918, serving with the 33rd Battalion of the A.I.F., at Road Wood, south-west of Bouchavesnes, near Peronne, France, two companies became held up by machine-gun fire. Cartwright attacked the gun alone under intense fire. He shot three of the crew, and, having bombed the post, captured the gun and nine enemy soldiers. For his actions he was recommended for the Victoria Cross. On 30 September 1918 he was wounded and evacuated to England. He was conferred with his VC by King George V, and at the end of the war was repatriated to Australia, arriving in March 1919. Cartwright's Victoria Cross and other decorations were donated to the Imperial War Museum in London, where they are on display.
11: William John SYMONS (1889 - 1948) born at Eaglehawk, Victoria. Symons enlisted in the A.I.F. in August 1914. Posted as a sergeant, he landed with the 7th Battalion on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He was commissioned second lieutenant the next day, and promoted to lieutenant on 2 July. In the early hours of 9 August the Turks made a series of attacks on Jacob's Trench at Lone Pine. Symons was ordered to retake the trench, knowing he would be lucky to survive. He led a charge, but the enemy continued to attack. With the trench under fire from three sides Symons built a timber barricade. Although the Turks set fire to the woodwork, he extinguished the flames and finally forced the enemy to discontinue their attacks. For his efforts he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
12: Phillip DAVEY (1896 - 1953) born at Unley, South Australia. Davey enlisted in the A.I.F. in December 1914, and joined his unit, the 10th Battalion, on Lemnos on 10 April 1915. Along with his battalion, he landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April. He fought at Anzac until he was evacuated sick in early November, returning to Australia the following January. He rejoined his battalion on the Western Front in October 1916. In January 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in rescuing a wounded man under fire. He was promoted to corporal in April. In the lead-up to the capture of Merris in June, he killed an eight-man German machine-gun crew, saving his platoon from annihilation, for which he was awarded the VC. During this action he was severely wounded. He returned to Australia to be discharged. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
13: Edward John Francis (Jack) RYAN (1890 - 1941) born at Tumut, New South Wales. Ryan was 28 years old, and a private in the 55th Battalion, A.I.F. when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. On 30 September 1918, at the Hindenburg Defences, France, when the enemy succeeded in establishing a bombing party in the rear of the battalion's recently won position, Private Ryan, on his own initiative, organized and led a party of men with bombs and bayonets against the enemy. He reached the position with only three men and they succeeded in driving the enemy back. Private Ryan cleared the last of them alone, finally falling wounded himself. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
14: John Patrick HAMILTON (1896 - 1961) born at Orange, New South Wales. After training in Egypt, Hamilton's battalion (3rd N.S.W.) sailed for Gallipoli and took part in the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 – his battalion coming ashore in the second and third waves.
Hamilton was 19 years old, and still a private (later a Lieutenant) when the following deed took place at Sasse's Sap during the Battle of Lone Pine on the Gallipoli Peninsula for which he was awarded the VC: "For most conspicuous bravery on 9th August, 1915, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. During a heavy bomb attack by the enemy on the newly captured position at Lone Pine, Private Hamilton, with utter disregard to personal safety, exposed himself under heavy fire on the parados, in order to secure a better fire position against the enemy's bomb throwers. His coolness and daring example had an immediate effect. The defence was encouraged, and the enemy driven off with heavy loss. His Victoria Cross, the only one awarded to Hamilton's unit during the war, is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
15: Blair Anderson WARK (1894 - 1941) born at Bathurst, New South Wales. After initially being employed in the defence of the Suez Canal, Wark's battalion (30th) was shipped to the Western Front; it was here that he would be twice decorated for his bravery and leadership. Having received the Distinguished Service Order in 1917 for his actions at the Battle of Polygon Wood (and was promoted to the rank of major), Wark was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 for his leadership and gallantry when in temporary command of the 32nd battalion over a three-day period, while conducting operations against the Hindenburg Line. "Throughout, he displayed the greatest courage, skilful leading and devotion to duty, and his work was invaluable." Wark's VC is part of the collection of the Queensland Museum, South Bank, but was loaned to the Australian War Memorial from February 2017 for temporary display in the Hall of Valour during the centenary period of the First World War.
16: Percy Valentine STORKEY (1893 - 1969) born in Napier, New Zealand. Storkey emigrated to Australia around 1911 and enlisted in the A.I.F. in May 1915. The citation for Storkey's VC, published in the London Gazette, read:
"For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty when in charge of a platoon in attack. On emerging from the wood the enemy trench line was encountered and Lt. Storkey found himself with six men. While continuing his move forward a large enemy party—about 80 to 100 strong—armed with several machine guns was noticed to be holding up the advance of the troops on the right. Lt. Storkey immediately decided to attack this party from the flank and rear, and while moving forward in the attack was joined by Lt. Lipscomb and four men. Under the leadership of Lt. Storkey, this small party of two officers and ten other ranks charged the enemy position with fixed bayonets, driving the enemy out, killing and wounding about thirty, and capturing three officers and fifty men, also one machine gun. The splendid courage shown by this officer in quickly deciding his course of action, and his skilful method of attacking against such great odds, removed a dangerous obstacle to the advance of the troops on the right, and inspired the remainder of our small party with the utmost confidence when advancing to the objective line." Storkey's VC and other medals are displayed at the National Army Museum (NZ) at Waiouru.
Major General John Macquarie ANTILL, CB, CMG (1866 – 1937) born at Picton, New South Wales. For his service during the First World War, Antill was created a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1916.
17: Albert Chalmers BORELLA (1881 - 1968) born at Borung, Victoria. Borella served with the 26th Battalion at Gallipoli from 12 September 1915 until being evacuated with jaundice on 19 November. He did not rejoin his unit until 5 February 1916, and then served on the Western Front in France, being wounded in the Battle of Pozières Heights on 29 July. He achieved promotion from to sergeant and was commissioned as an officer – second lieutenant – on 7 April 1917, and to lieutenant on 28 August 1917. He attended officer training in the United Kingdom. Borella received a Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on 11 May 1917, was Mentioned in Despatches on 1 June 1917 and awarded the Victoria Cross on 16 September 1918 for actions in July 1918. His citation for the Victoria Cross, gained at Villers-Bretonneux, at the age of 37, reads in part: "During the period 17/18 July...Lieutenant Borella, whilst leading his platoon, charged and captured an enemy machine-gun, shooting two gunners. He then led his party, by now reduced to 10 men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver and later a rifle with great effect and causing many casualties. Two large dug-outs were also bombed and 30 prisoners taken...." His Victoria Cross is privately held.
Sir Charles Kinnaird MACKELLAR, K.C.M.G., M.B., Ch.M. (1844 - 1926) born at Sydney, New South Wales. Member of the N.S.W. Legislative Council for nearly 40 years. His military service was as Surgeon, 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Rifles 1872 - 1882.
18: Maurice BUCKLEY (1891 - 1921) born at Hawthorn, Victoria. Buckley joined the 13th Light Horse Regiment on 18 December 1914 shortly after the outbreak of the War. In July 1915, he arrived in Egypt with reinforcements for his regiment, but in Cairo contracted a venereal disease. He was sent back to Australia with 274 other VD-infected men, and in September 1915 was admitted to an Army medical isolation-detention barracks at Langwarrin, near Melbourne, that had been established earlier in 1915 to receive and treat VD-infected soldiers from Egypt. In January 1916 he escaped from Langwarrin, and was declared a deserter on 20 March.
On 6 May 1916 he enlisted again, this time in Sydney, using the name 'Gerald Sexton' – comprising his recently deceased younger brother's first name and his mother's maiden name. He was sent to France in early 1917, where he fought on the Western Front. Following the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal he was promoted to sergeant in August 1918 and involved in the advance on the Hindenburg Line.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross in the name 'Gerald Sexton' for his actions on 18 September 1918, at Le Verguier near Saint-Quentin. His unit was advancing under cover of a creeping barrage but was held up by German machine gun posts. Buckley attacked them with his Lewis gun section and captured 30 German prisoners of war. When the advance was again held up by machine-gun fire, Sergeant Buckley, supported by another platoon, put the enemy guns out of action. Later, he again showed conspicuous initiative in capturing hostile posts and machine-guns. According to the citation, he was "to the fore dealing with enemy machine-guns, rushing enemy posts, and performing great feats of bravery and endurance without faltering or for a moment taking cover". The award of the VC was originally gazetted under the name 'Gerald Sexton', but he had disclosed his real identity by the time that it was presented to him by King George V at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 29 May 1919. His V.C. is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
19: Joseph "Joe" MAXWELL , VC, MC & Bar, DCM (1896 – 1967) born at Forest Lodge, Sydney N.S.W. Described as Australia's second most decorated soldier of the First World War, he enlisted in the A.I.F. in February 1915, and served at Gallipoli before being transferred to the Western Front. In just over twelve months he was commissioned and decorated four times for his bravery.
The full citation for Maxwell's Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 6 January 1919:
Lt. Joseph Maxwell, M.C., D.C.M., 18th Bn., A.I.F.
For most conspicuous bravery and leadership in attack on the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme line near Estrees, North of St. Quentin, on the 3rd October, 1918.
His company commander was severely wounded early in the advance, and Lt. Maxwell at once took charge. The enemy wire when reached under intense fire was found to be exceptionally strong and closely supported by machine guns, whereupon Lt. Maxwell pushed forward single-handed through the wire and captured the most dangerous gun, killing three and capturing four enemy. He thus enabled his company to penetrate the wire and reach the objective. Later, he again dashed forward and silenced, single-handed, a gun which was holding up a flank company. Subsequently, when with two men only he attempted to capture a strong party of the enemy, he handled a most involved situation very skilfully, and it was due to his resource that he and his comrades escaped.
Throughout the day Lt. Maxwell set a high example of personal bravery, coupled with excellent judgment and quick decision.
In 2003, Maxwell's medals were presented to the Australian War Memorial on a permanent loan basis.
Categories: Australian History > Military (Australian)