The AIF Project

William Mathew CURREY

Regimental number1584
Date of birth19 September 1895
Place of birthWallsend, New South Wales
SchoolDudley & Plattsburg Public Schools, New South Wales
OccupationWire worker
AddressTasma, 160 Francis Street, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 5"
Weight132 lbs
Next of kinMrs M A Currey, Tasma, 160 Francis Street, Leichhardt, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the 31st Infantry, Haberfield, for 1.6 years; in G.C. Camp, Holsworthy, for 11.6 months.
Enlistment date9 October 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameLight Trench Mortar Battery, Reinforcement 4
AWM Embarkation Roll number13/130/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 9 November 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll1584A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Victoria Cross

For action in Anvil Wood on 1 September 1918.
Recommendation date: 5 September 1918

FateReturned to Australia 8 January 1919

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery and daring in the attack on Peronne on the morning of 1st September, 1918. When the battalion was suffering heavy casualties from a 77mm field gun at very close range, Private Currey, without hesitation, rushed forward under intense machine gun fire and succeeded in capturing the gun single handed after killing the entire crew. Later, when the advance of the left flank was checked by an enemy strong point, Private Currey crept around the flank and engaged the post with a Lewis gun. Finally, he rushed the post single handed, causing many casualties. It was entirely owing to his gallant conduct that the situation was relieved and the advance enabled to continue. Subsequently he volunteered to carry orders for the withdrawal of an isolated company, and this he succeeded in doing despite shell and rifle fire, returning later with valuable information. Throughout the operations his striking example of coolness, determination, and utter disregard of danger had a most inspiring effect on his comrades, and his gallant work contributed largely to the success of the operations.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61
Date: 23 May 1919

Discharge date2 April 1919
Other details

Previously rejected for enlistment on account of varicosele.

War service: Western Front

Embarked, 9 November 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 9 January 1917; marched in to Australian Details, Perham Downs, 10 January 1917. Transferred to 53rd Bn, 6 February 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 14 June 1917; taken on strength, 53rd Bn, 7 July 1917 (date unclear).

On leave to United Kingdom, 8 February 1918; rejoined unit from leave, 28 February 1918.

Admitted to 12th Australian Field Ambulance, 12 June 1918 (defective vision); discharged to duty, 14 June 1918; rejoined unit, 16 June 1918.

Detached to 14th Australian Infantry Brigade School, 9 July 1918; rejoined unit, 3 August 1918.

Wounded in action, 2 September 1918 (gassed), and admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance and transferred to 37th Casualty Clearing Station same day; to Ambulance Train No 33, 2 September 1918, and admitted to 5th General Hospital, Rouen, 3 September 1918; to England, 7 September 1918, and admitted to Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, 8 September 1918. Discharged on furlough, 15 October 1918, to report to No 1 Command Depot, Sutton Veny, 29 October 1918.

Awarded Victoria Cross.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Orsova', 8 January 1919; arrived Melbourne, 20 February 1919, to disembark Sydney (date not stated); discharged (medically unfit), 2 April 1919.

Medals: Victoria Cross, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Death ascribed to effects of war service.
Date of death30 April 1948
Age at death52
Place of burialWoronora Cemetery, New South Wales

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