Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC MG
Date of birth: 1978
Place of birth: Perth, WA
Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1978. He joined the Australian Regular Army in 1996 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, with whom he conducted two operational tours of East Timor. In 2003 he was posted to the Special Air Service, and he was on his second operational tour of Afghanistan in 2006 when he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his actions as a patrol scout and sniper during Operation Slipper.
Roberts-Smith was on his fifth tour of Afghanistan, when on 11 June 2010 he was involved in his Victoria Cross action. During an operation to hunt for a senior Taliban commander, in the Kandahar province, Roberts-Smith took part in an assault against an enemy fortification, exposing his own position in order to draw fire away from members of his patrol who were pinned down. Fighting at close range, he stormed two enemy machine-gun posts and silenced them. His citation in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette notes that "his selfless actions in circumstances of great peril served to enable his patrol to break into the enemy's defences and to regain the initiative ... resulting in a tactical victory."