Personal info

  • Name: William Matthew CURREY
  • D.O.B: 19th September, 1895
  • D.O.A: 2nd September, 1918
  • D.O.D: 30th April, 1948
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 53rd Battalion (New South Wales), 14th Brigade, 5th Division, Australian Imperial Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Péronne, France 1-2 September 1918

1-2 September 1918

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The First World War 1918 

In the successful Australian assault on Péronne on 1 September 1918 53rd Battalion (New South Wales) took part in the attack on Anvil Wood, just north-west of the town. Here Private W M Currey captured an enemy machine-gun. His battalion then came under fire from German troops who were holding out at Mont St Quentin to the north and at this point he disabled another enemy machine-gun. It was at 3am on the following morningIn the successful Australian assault on Péronne on 1 September 1918 53rd Battalion (New South Wales) took part in the attack on Anvil Wood, just north-west of the town. Here Private W M Currey captured an enemy machine-gun. His battalion then came under fire from German troops who were holding out at Mont St Quentin to the north and at this point he disabled another enemy machine-gun. It was at 3am on the following morning that he succeeded in warning an isolated company under Lieutenant W Waite to withdraw. Meanwhile, 54th Battalion (New South Wales) had been assigned to clear the area between the River Somme and the town and then to take the town itself. Temporary Corporal A H Buckley and Corporal A C Hall both distinguished themselves in capturing enemy machinegun posts. The Germans retreated into Péronne. Buckley was killed while attempting, with a small party, to cross a footbridge over the moat into the town. However, Hall and his unit were able to lay a plank bridge over the moat and enter the town. The following day, as the Australians consolidated their capture of Péronne, Hall carried a wounded soldier to safety.

Citation

 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 77 mm. field gun at very close range, Pte. 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, Pte. 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. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 13 December 1918. 14 December 1918, Numb. 31067, p. 14779

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