- Name: John CARROLL
- D.O.B: 16th Aug, 1891
- D.O.A: 11th Jun, 1917
- D.O.D: 4th Oct, 1971
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Private, 33rd Battalion, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division, (NSW), Australian Imperial Force
Messines, Belgium 7-11 June 1917
7-11 June 1917
The First World War 1917
The existence of the British Ypres salient had, in effect, created a German salient directly to its south. In order to protect this vulnerable southern flank, on 7 June 1917 the British Second Army executed a long-planned assault to destroy the German salient by attacking the enemy line running along the Messines Ridge, just west of Wytschaete and Messines. The line was devastated by the explosion of nineteen mines and the subsequent British attack carried the ridge and soon captured Wytschaete and Messines. The Germans counter-attacked on the 9th and 10th but were driven back. Some fighting continued until 14 June by which time the British had consolidated their new positions. After crossing the Ridge at the opening of the Battle on the 7th, 3rd Battalion The New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade attacked the village of Messines itself. It was held up by two Germanmachine-guns in enemy positions on the outskirts. Lance Corporal S Frickleton successfully destroyed these. To its south 37th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, took part in the assault on German positions between Messines and the River Douve. Behind the second German line, enemy machine-guns in a pillbox were holding up the Australians. By running from shell-hole to shell-hole, Captain R C Grieve, 37th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, was able to bomb and destroy the pillbox. South of the River Douve and north of Ploegsteert, 33rd Battalion attacked the German positions at St Yves. Here Private J Carroll distinguished himself.
For most conspicuous bravery. During an attack, immediately the barrage lifted, Pte. John Carroll rushed the enemy’s trench and bayoneted four of the enemy. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties, and at once proceeded to his comrade’s assistance and killed one of the enemy. He continued working ahead with great determination until he came across a machine gun and team of four men in a shell-hole. Single-handed he attacked the entire team, killing three of the men and capturing the gun. Later on two of his comrades were buried by a shell, and, in spite of very heavy shelling and machine gun fire, he managed to extricate them. During the 96 hours the battalion was in the line Pte. Carroll displayed most wonderful courage and fearlessness. His magnificent example of gallantry and devotion to duty inspired all ranks in his battalion.