Alexander Henry (Alex) BUCKLEY VC

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BUCKLEY, Alexander Henry

Service Number: 1876
Enlisted: 3 February 1916, Dubbo, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 54th Infantry Battalion
Born: Warren, New South Wales, 22 July 1891
Home Town: Armatree, Gilgandra, New South Wales
Schooling: Private tuition at home
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Peronne, France, 1 September 1918, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension
Grave ref: II. C. 32.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Coonamble Municipality and Wingadee Shire HR, Gulargambone War Memorial, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Nevertire Roll of Honour, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

3 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1876, Dubbo, New South Wales
23 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1876, 54th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Barambah, Sydney
23 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1876, 54th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1876, 54th Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne
2 Sep 1918: Honoured Victoria Cross, Mont St Quentin / Peronne, "For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice at Peronne during the operations on the 1st/2nd Sept., 1918. After passing the first objective his half company and part of the company on the flank were held up by a machine gun nest. With one man he rushed the post shooting four of the occupants and taking 22 prisoners. Later on reaching a moat, it was found that another machine gun nest commanded the only available footbridge. Whilst this was being engaged from a flank Cpl. Buckley endeavoured to cross the bridge and rush the post, but was killed in the attempt. Throughout the advance he had displayed great initiative, resource and courage, and by his efforts to save his comrades from casualties, he set a fine example of self-sacrificing devotion to duty."

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Biography

"Alexander Henry Buckley (1891-1918), soldier and farmer, was born on 22 July 1891 at Warren, New South Wales, fourth child of James Buckley, selector, and his wife Julia, née Falkanhagan, both of whom were Victorian-born. He was educated at home by his parents and later farmed with his father on Homebush, a property near Gulargambone.

On 3 February 1916 Buckley enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force and embarked for England in June with reinforcements for the 54th Battalion. He joined the battalion at Flers, France, on 17 November, served on the Somme in the winter of 1916-17 and in 1917 fought in the battles of Bullecourt, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde; he was made temporary corporal in November. Next April his unit moved into the Villers-Bretonneux sector and in August took part in the Battle of Amiens.

On 1 September 1918 Buckley's battalion was involved in an operation aimed at clearing the area between Mont St Quentin and Péronne, a medieval walled town surrounded by a moat. The 54th's task was to take the ground between Péronne and the River Somme, then move in on Péronne 'if not too strongly opposed'. Advancing in drizzling rain and under heavy fire, it took the first line of enemy trenches but was held up by a nest of machine-gunners. Accompanied by Corporal A. C. Hall, Buckley stalked these gunners and rushed the post, shooting four men and taking twenty-two prisoners. The Germans retreated to Péronne, entering the city by a large bridge which they destroyed. The only remaining bridge on the battalion's front was a foot-bridge defended by machine-guns. With three other members of his company, Buckley tried to force his way across under heavy fire but was killed in the attempt. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the citation for which praised his 'initiative, resource and courage'. He was buried in the Péronne communal cemetery extension." - SOURCE (adb.anu.edu.au) (adb.anu.edu.au) (adb.anu.edu.au)

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