The AIF Project

George Vincent PURCELL

Regimental number3140
Place of birthBallarat Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationRailway employee
AddressSouth Yarra, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Next of kinFriend, John Power, State School, Tolangi, Victoria
Enlistment date12 January 1917
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name38th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/55/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 19 February 1917
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll38th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Altered to Military Medal.
Recommendation date: 5 September 1918

FateEffective abroad (still overseas)

Military Medal

'Near CLERY-sur-SOMME on August 31st, 'A' Company 38th Battalion was attacking the village. The Company had gone about 450 yards when it came under the fire of a German heavy machine gun, which opened from a high position about 100 yards in front. This was about 6.30 a.m. The machine gun was holding up the advance of nearly 2 Companies, and Purcell, who was No. 1 of a Lewis Gun team, jumped out of a shell hole and made straight for the enemy machine gun firing his Lewis gun from his hip in short bursts. He got several burst on the position and the enemy left their gun and took cover. PURCELL continued to advance and when about 20 yards from the gun two of the crew came out and tried to get it into action. PURCELL shot them both and then rushed up a steep bank to the gun position, capturing the gun and taking prisoner the rest of the crew consisting of six included in which was an Officer. He did this all single handed and it seemed utterly impossible that he could ever succeed. PURCELL had only one magazine on his gun and used his ammunition with great judgment. His action in taking the position enabled the whole line to go forward, and his courage and fearlessness was a splendid example to all.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109
Date: 15 September 1919

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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