NSW RIFLEMEN WHO WERE AWARDED THE 'IMPERIAL VICTORIA CROSS' FOR THEIR BRAVERY DURING WAR SERVICE.
Rifle Clubs have always provided numerous personnel in the event of emergencies. While thousands remain relatively unknown, a number became famous for their extraordinary bravery in the field of battle. From the ranks of the New South Wales Rifle Association have come no fewer than six 'Imperial Victoria Cross' medals and a 'George Cross' medal. No other sporting organization can rival that record.
The 'Imperial Victoria Cross' was awarded to:
Captain Alf SHOUT
Alf SHOUT was an active member of the Australian Rifles Regiment Rifle Club when he volunteered for service with the A.I.F. in 1914. He sailed from Australia as a Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, and won his decoration at Lone Pine, Gallipolli, for "Gallantry in leading and continuing the attack when he himself was wounded and all but ten of his men killed or wounded". As a Lieutenant, (Captain) Shout was also awarded the Military Cross for other actions on the 27 April 1915. He was mortally wounded by shrapnel and died on a hospital ship at sea.
Corporal Arthur Charles HALL
Arthur HALL passed away on 25th February 1978. An active member of the
Coolabah Rifle Club, he held administrative posts in the club and No 17
Far West District Rifle Association.
He Saw service in WW1 with the 54th Battalion. At Peronne, France on 1/2nd September, 1918, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The Australian War Memorial Honours and Awards (Recommendations) located at http://www.awm.gov.au/find/results.asp where Corporal Hall is recommended for awards on five occasions.
During WW11 he served as a Lieutenant in the 7th Garrison Battalion.
Pilot Officer R.H. MIDDELTON
Pilot Officer MIDDLETON was a member of the Rocky Dam Rifle Club when he enlisted with the R.A.A.F. in WWII. MIDDLETON was Captain and first pilot of a R.A.F. Sterling Bomber detailed to bomb the Fiat works at Turin, Italy. When over the target a shell burst in the cockpit wounding both first and second pilots. A piece of the shell splinter struck MIDDLETON's face, destroying his right eye. The return journey involved a second crossing over the Alps in a damaged aircraft with insufficient fuel. Four hours later the French Coast was reached. MIDDLETON decided he would try to get the aircraft back to England. The aircraft was hit with A.A. fire. After the channel was crossed five minutes fuel was left. MIDDLETON ordered his crew to jump while he flew parrallel with the coast for a few miles. The aircraft crashed into the sea soon after. MIDDLETON was apparently unable to leave the aircraft: his body was recovered from the sea.
Corporal J.H. EDMONDSON
Corporal J. H. EDMONDSON, as a member of the Liverpool-Cabravale rifle club enlisted in the A.I.F. for WWII and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry in the defense of Tobruk in April, 1941. A party of German infantry broke through the wire defenses and established themselves with machine guns, mortars and two small field pieces. It was decided to attack them with bayonets. EDMONDSON, with five privates under the control of an officer took part in the charge. EDMONDSON was wounded in the neck and stomach but continued to advance. His officer was under attack whilst another came from behind. EDMONDSON came to assistance, although wounded, killed both who had been attacking the officer, saving his life. Shortly after returning from counter-attack, EDMONDSON died of his wounds.
Lieutenant Arthur Roden CUTLER
Roden CUTLER is a son of the late Arthur CUTLER, one of the outstanding
rifle shots of N.S.W. prior to 1914, and a nephew of the late W. H.
CUTLER another great shot.
Roden CUTLER was on the roll of Manly Rifle Club when enlisted in the Australian Military Forces of WWII. As a Artillery Officer his name became a byword amongst the forward troops with whom he served during the bitter fighting at Merdjayoun during the Syrian Campaign.
At Damour on the 6th July, 1941, when forward infantry were pinned to the ground by heavy hostile machine gun fire, Lieutenant CUTLER, regardless of all danger, went to bring a line to his outpost when he was seriously wounded. twenty-six hours elapsed before it was possible to rescue CUTLER, whose wound by this time had become septic necessitating the amputation of his leg.
Throughout the campaign, this officer's courage was un-parralleled and his work was a big factor in the recapture of Merdjayoun.
As is well known, Lieutenant Roden CUTLER, V.C., was appointed Governor of New South Wales some years later.
Private G. CARTWRIGHT
Fourth Bn, Rifle Club.
Extract from the Australian War Memorial Records - For most conspicuous and devotion to duty. On the morning of the 31st of August 1918 during the Attack on ROAD WOOD south-west of BOUCHAVESNES. Private CARTWRIGHT displayed exceptional gallantry and supreme disregard for personal danger in the face of a most withering machine gun fire. Two companies were held up by a machine gun firing from the south western edge of the wood. Without hesitation this man stood up and walking towards the gun fire his rifle in his shoulder. He shot the No:1 gunner, another German manned the gun and he killed him; a third attempted to fire the gun and him he also killed. Private CARTWRIGHT throw a bomb at the post and on its exploding he rushed forward, captured the gun and nine Germans. Our line then immediately rushed forward loudly cheering him, this magnificent deed had a most inspiring effect on the whole line, all strove to emulate his gallantry. Throughout the Operation Private CARTWRIGHT, displayed wonderful dash, grim determination and courage of the highest order.
'George Cross' was awarded to:
Private Benjamine HARDY, A.M.F.
To the awards of the above men the name of Ben HARDY of the Chatswood Rifle Club must not be overlooked, he was posthumously awarded the 'George Cross' for outstanding leadership and courage in quelling Japanese uprising in P.O.W. camp Cowra on the 4/5 August 1944.
This information has been reproduced from the Australian Bicentenary Fullbore Rifle Championships booklet and records maintained by the Australian War Memorial.
The 'Australian Victorian Cross' was instituted in the Australian honours system by Letters Patent on 15 January 1991.