Sergeant William Ruthven VC

William Ruthven. D00019 William Ruthven

Date of birth: 21 May 1893
Place of birth: Collingwood, Melbourne, VIC
Date of death: 12 January 1970
Place of death: Heidelberg Repatriation Hospiptal, VIC

William "Rusty" Ruthven was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, and was a mechanic in the timber industry before enlisting in April 1915. After serving on Gallipoli he went to France, where he was wounded in April 1916.

During an attack near Ville-sur-Ancre on 19 May 1918, Ruthven performed outstanding acts of bravery. He took command of a company after the officer commanding was wounded, and personally assaulted enemy strongpoints. Throughout the successful action, he led by example, inspiring and encouraging his men. During the mopping-up and consolidation, he captured 32 Germans.

Ruthven was commissioned in July 1918 and discharged in December. He became a soldier-settler for a while, but returned to Collingwood and became a local councillor. During the Second World War he served in garrison battalions, reaching the rank of major. From 1945 to 1961 he was a member of the Victorian parliament.

Ruthven received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First and Second World Wars and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

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