WHITTLE, John Woods

Service Numbers: 347, 2902
Enlisted: 6 August 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 12th Infantry Battalion
Born: Huon Island, Tasmania, 3 August 1882
Home Town: Rosebery, West Coast, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Cerebral Haemorrhage , Sydney, New South Wales, 2 March 1946, aged 63 years
Cemetery: Rookwood Cemetery & Crematorium
Memorials: Hobart Roll of Honour, John Hamilton VC Pictorial Honour Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Tasmanian Amateur Athletics Association, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
Show Relationships

Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Private, SN 347, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen

World War 1 Service

6 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Claremont, Tasmania
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2902, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
27 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2902, 26th Infantry Battalion
22 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 2902, 12th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour John Woods Whittle's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

"John Woods Whittle (1882-1946), soldier, was born on 3 August 1882 at Huon Island, near Gordon, Tasmania, son of Henry Whittle, labourer, and his wife Catherine, née Sullivan. John enlisted as a private in Tasmania's 4th (2nd Imperial Bushmen) Contingent which reached South Africa on 24 April 1901, saw action in the Cape Colony and returned to Tasmania in June 1902. Soon after, he enlisted in the Royal Navy and served for five years as a stoker before joining the Permanent Military Forces. On 23 July 1909 at the archbishop's house, Hobart, he married with Catholic rites Emily Margaret Roland; they were to have six children.

Transferring to the Australian Imperial Force on 6 August 1915, Whittle was given the rank of acting corporal and in October sailed as a reinforcement for the 26th Battalion. By April 1916 he was in France with the 12th Battalion. Wounded in action on 18 June, he was promoted sergeant in October. Early in 1917 he was involved in the fighting during the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg line. At dawn on 27 February his battalion attacked the outpost villages of Le Barque and Ligny-Thilloy. On the left flank with Captain J. E. Newland's 'A' Company, Whittle bombed an enemy machine-gun post, forced the Germans to flee and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The 12th Battalion carried out a diversionary attack on the village of Boursies on 9 April 1917; Whittle led his platoon in the initial assault. The Germans resisted fiercely and counter-attacked at 10 p.m. Whittle checked and steadied the forward posts until Newland came forward to organize the defence and regain lost ground. After a four-day spell out of the line, the battalion advanced close to Lagnicourt. At 4 a.m. on 15 April the enemy mounted a surprise counter-attack. 'A' Company was forced from its trenches to a sunken road where Newland and his men made a stand. Whittle saw the Germans bringing up a machine-gun. He 'rushed alone across the fire-swept ground', attacked the enemy with bombs before the weapon could be brought into action, killed the crew and captured the gun. For his heroism at Boursies and Lagnicourt he was awarded the Victoria Cross." - SOURCE - READ MORE (


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Sgt. John Whittle, V.C., D.C.M., died yesterday at Glebe. He was 63. He won both decorations in France in 1917, being awarded the Victoria Cross for great gallantry at Boursies, on April 9. Sgt. Whittle , also was a Boer war veteran, serving with the 2nd Imperial Bushmen. He was a member of the 12th battalion in the first world war. His V.C. citation stated that he had exhibited conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on two occasions during the fighting near Boursies. In the same action a V.C. was also won by Capt. J. E. Newland, of the 12th battalion. Capt. Newland, then aged 35 years and nine months was the oldest Australian to gain the coveted honor in World War 1.