John James (Jack) DWYER VC

DWYER, John James

Service Number: 2060
Enlisted: 4 February 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 1st Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Lovett, Cygnet Bay, Tasmania, 9 March 1890
Home Town: Cygnet, Huon Valley, Tasmania
Schooling: Mills Reef State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Labourer, soldier, farmer, politician
Died: Natural Causes, Bruny Island, Tasmania, 17 January 1962, aged 71 years
Cemetery: Cornelian Bay Cemetery and Crematorium, Tasmania
Memorials: Bruny Roll of Honour, John Hamilton VC Pictorial Honour Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

4 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Claremont, Tasmania
17 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2060, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2060, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
15 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2060, 15th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 2060, 4th Machine Gun Company, Third Ypres
3 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Regimental Sergeant Major, SN 2060, 1st Machine Gun Battalion , German Spring Offensive 1918
7 Mar 1918: Honoured Victoria Cross, 'For most conspicuous bravery when in attack. Sergeant Dwyer, in charge of a Vickers machine gun, went forward with the first wave of the brigade. On reaching the final objective, this non-commissioned officer rushed his gun forward in advance of the captured position in order to obtain a commanding spot. Whilst advancing, he noticed an enemy machine gun firing on the troops on our right flank, and causing casualties. Unhesitatingly, he rushed his gun forward to within 30 yards of the enemy gun, and fired point blank at it, putting it out of action, and killing the gun crew. He then seized the gun and, totally ignoring the snipers from the rear of the enemy position carried it back across the shell swept ground to our front line, and established both it and his Vickers gun on the right flank of our brigade. Sergeant Dwyer commanded these guns with great coolness, and, when the enemy counter attacked our positions, he rendered great assistance in repulsing them. On the following day, when the position was heavily shelled, this non-commissioned officer took up successive positions. On one occasion, his Vickers gun was blown up by shell fire,but he conducted his gun team back to Headquarters through the enemy barrage, secured one of the reserve guns, and rushed it back to our position in the shortest possible time. During the whole of the attack, his contempt of danger, cheerfulness, and courage, raised the spirits of all who were in his sector of the line.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
20 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 1st Machine Gun Battalion
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 1st Machine Gun Battalion , "The Last Hundred Days"
15 Dec 1918: Discharged AIF WW1
Date unknown: Involvement 15th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Awarded the Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery when in attack. Sergeant Dwyer, in charge of a Vickers machine gun, went forward with the first wave of the brigade. On reaching the final objective, this non-commissioned officer rushed his gun forward in advance of the captured position in order to obtain a commanding spot. Whilst advancing, he noticed an enemy machine gun firing on the troops on our right flank, and causing casualties. Unhesitatingly, he rushed his gun forward to within 30 yards of the enemy gun, and fired point blank at it, putting it out of action, and killing the gun crew. He then seized the gun and, totally ignoring the snipers from the rear of the enemy position carried it back across the shell swept ground to our front line, and established both it and his Vickers gun on the right flank of our brigade. Sergeant Dwyer commanded these guns with great coolness, and, when the enemy counter attacked our positions, he rendered great assistance in repulsing them. On the following day, when the position was heavily shelled, this non-commissioned officer took up successive positions. On one occasion, his Vickers gun was blown up by shell fire,but he conducted his gun team back to Headquarters through the enemy barrage, secured one of the reserve guns, and rushed it back to our position in the shortest possible time. During the whole of the attack, his contempt of danger, cheerfulness, and courage, raised the spirits of all who were in his sector of the line.'

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 7 March 1918

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Biography

Like all men who have been awarded the Victoria Cross, John James Dwyer has been the subject of a number of biographies.  John Dwyer's post service career as a 'soldier settler' and Member of Parliament, culminating in the role of Deputy Premier of Tasmania, is extensively documented.

His Australian Dictionary of Biography article is HERE (adb.anu.edu.au)  Other links appear in the sidebar.

An extract appears below

Dwyer, John James (Jack) (1890–1962)

by Chris Batt

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

John James (Jack) Dwyer (1890-1962), politician and soldier, was born on 9 March 1890 at Port Cygnet, Tasmania, son of Charles Dwyer, farmer, and his wife Mary, née Scanlon. Jack was educated at Mills Reef State School until the age of 12.

From 1910 he cut cane and timber in Queensland before returning to Tasmania in 1913 to work on the Lake Margaret Hydro-electric Power Scheme.

Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 4 February 1915, Dwyer sailed for the Middle East and joined the 15th Battalion on Gallipoli in August. Following the evacuation in December, he was sent to Egypt and transferred to the 4th Machine-Gun Company.

He moved to France in June 1916, was promoted temporary sergeant in April next year (substantive in August), and was wounded in action on 9 June 1917. Near Zonnebeke, Belgium, on 26 September 1917 Dwyer had charge of a Vickers machine-gun during an attack. When an enemy machine-gun began to inflict casualties among his comrades, he rushed his Vickers forward, fired at point-blank range, killed the German crew and carried their gun back to his lines. Commanding both weapons, he helped to repulse a counter-attack. Next day he fought with equal determination and inspired his sector. He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Commissioned in May 1918, he was promoted lieutenant in August and returned home in October. His A.I.F. appointment terminated on 15 December.

 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE at the link above.

 

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