William Mathew CURREY VC

CURREY, William Mathew

Service Numbers: 1584, 1584A
Enlisted: 9 October 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 53rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia, 19 September 1895
Home Town: Leichhardt, Leichhardt, New South Wales
Schooling: Dudley and Plattsburg Public Schools, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Wire worker
Died: Natural causes, Bexley,New South Wales, Australia, 30 April 1948, aged 52 years
Cemetery: Woronora General Cemetery and Crematorium, New South Wales
Memorials: John Hamilton VC Pictorial Honour Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Leichhardt War Memorial, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

9 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1584, Sydney, New South Wales
9 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1584, Light Trench Mortar Batteries, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '4' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Benalla embarkation_ship_number: A24 public_note: ''
6 Feb 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 53rd Infantry Battalion
26 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1584, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood
1 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1584, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne
1 Sep 1918: Honoured Victoria Cross, Mont St Quentin / Peronne
2 Apr 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 1584A, 53rd Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Currey, William Matthew (1895–1948)
by Chris Clark

William Matthew Currey, soldier and politician, was born on 19 September 1895 at Wallsend, New South Wales, son of William Robert Currey, labourer and later miner, and his wife Mary Ellen, née Lang. Educated at Dudley and Plattsburg Public schools, he moved to Leichhardt, Sydney, and found employment as a wireworker. After the outbreak of World War I he twice attempted to enlist without his parents' consent, giving a false age, but was discovered and discharged. He was accepted for the Australian Imperial Force on 9 October 1916 and posted to the 4th Light Trench-Mortar Battery, embarking for France in November. On 1 July 1917 he was transferred to the 53rd Battalion; later that year he fought at Polygon Wood and then returned to the Somme.

Private Currey was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the Australian attack at Péronne on 1 September 1918. The 53rd Battalion began taking heavy casualties early in the day, Currey's company in particular suffering from a 77 mm field-gun firing at very close range. Currey rushed forward under machine-gun fire, killed the whole crew and captured the weapon. When in mid-afternoon the battalion encountered intense fire from a strong point, he worked round the flank of the position and opened fire with a Lewis-gun before rushing the post, inflicting many casualties and dispersing the survivors. His courageous action enabled the battalion attack to proceed. At 3 a.m. next morning he volunteered to warn a company which had become isolated to withdraw: moving out into no man's land he stood up and called out to the company, the sound of his voice attracting a torrent of enemy fire. After three attempts, during which his respirator was struck and he was gassed, he finally contacted the exposed company which then safely retired.

Read more -  https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/currey-william-matthew-5852 (adb.anu.edu.au)