Lawrence Dominic (Fats) MCCARTHY VC

MCCARTHY, Lawrence Dominic

Service Number: 422
Enlisted: 23 September 1914, Helena Vale, Western Australia
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion
Born: York, Western Australia, 21 January 1892
Home Town: York, York, Western Australia
Schooling: Clontarf Orphanage School
Occupation: Contractor
Died: Natural causes, Heidelberg Repat Hospital, Victoria, 25 May 1975, aged 83 years
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Memorials: John Hamilton VC Pictorial Honour Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial, York District Honour Board, York War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

23 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 422, Helena Vale, Western Australia
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 422, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 422, 16th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 422, 16th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
13 May 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 16th Infantry Battalion
19 Jul 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 16th Infantry Battalion
1 Sep 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 16th Infantry Battalion
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 422, 16th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
8 Mar 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 16th Infantry Battalion
2 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, SN 422, 16th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, GSW (left arm)
10 Apr 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion
23 Aug 1918: Honoured Victoria Cross, "The Last Hundred Days"


The details provided are taken from the book "Stealth Raiders - a few daring men in 1918" written by Lucas Jordan, published 2017, refer to pages 200 to 203 and 271. prior to the war he was a contractor of Lion Mill WA. He enlisted 23rd Sept 1914 aged 22 years. He served with the 16th Infantry Battalion, rose through the ranks and became a Lieutenant. During this service he was awarded a Victoria Cross, a Mention in Dispatches, and a Croix De Guere (French) - (VC, MiD, CdeG) He survived the war, departing the UK for home 30th Dec 1919. For full details read the excellent biography attached.

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Father of VX104484 Lce.-Sgt. Lawrence Norville McCarthy (/explore/people/638285) who was killed in action at Bougainville on 20 May 1945

"Dominic McCarthy was born in York, Western Australia, in August 1892. Having been orphaned at a young age, McCarthy listed no next of kin on his attestation papers when he joined the Australian Imperial Force in October 1914. He was brought up in Clontarf Orphanage in Perth and educated in Catholic schools.

Private McCarthy was posted to the 16th Battalion where his large build earned him the nickname "Fats". The battalion landed at Gallipoli on 26 April 1915 and McCarthy remained on the peninsula until illness forced his evacuation in September. By then he had been promoted to sergeant. He returned to duty in November and was among the last in his battalion to leave Gallipoli on 20 December.

By June 1916 the 16th Battalion were in France where they took part in the fighting at Pozières and Mouquet Farm in August. McCarthy was promoted to company sergeant major in March 1917 and the following month was commissioned as a second lieutenant. The day after receiving his commission, McCarthy was wounded at Bullecourt and evacuated to England where he spent three months in hospital and convalescing. In November he was promoted to lieutenant and was awarded the French Croix de Guerre. He spent the months between February and August 1918 training troops in England, before rejoining his battalion in time for the offensive that began on 8 August.

Just over two weeks later, on 23 August, McCarthy performed what some regarded as the most effective piece of individual fighting in the history of the AIF next to Albert Jacka's Military Cross winning feat at Pozières. McCarthy, leading the 16th Battalion's "D" Company, attained his objectives, but the battalion on their left had been held up by German machine guns. He and a sergeant attacked the machine-gun posts, capturing 460 metres of German trench and forcing the surrender of between forty and fifty Germans. McCarthy was unscathed, the sergeant wounded. For this McCarthy was awarded the Victoria Cross that, within his battalion and in some quarters of the London press, came to be known as the "super-VC".

Ten days after the war ended, on 21 November 1918, McCarthy was evacuated to England with influenza. He returned to Australia in December 1919, having married Florence Norville the previous January. Their only son, Lawrence, was killed in action on Bougainville in 1945. McCarthy was demobilised in August 1920. He returned to Western Australia but moved to Victoria in 1926. He gained employment with the Sunshine Harvester Works remaining with them until 1934 when the company was forced to lay off staff during the depression. He found new work the following year with the Trustees, Executors & Agency Co., and remained with that company until his retirement in 1969.

McCarthy died at Heidleberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne in May 1975 and was cremated with full military honours." - SOURCE (