Private William Matthew Currey VC
Date of birth: 19 September 1895
Place of birth: Wallsend, NSW
Date of death: 30 April 1948
Place of death: Punchbowl, NSW
William Currey was born at Wallsend, New South Wales, and worked in Sydney as a wireworker. After attempts to enlist while under-age, he was accepted in 1916. Initially in a light trench mortar battery, he transferred to the 53rd Battalion in 1917. He fought in the battle of Polygon Wood.
In the attack on Péronne, 1 September 1918, Currey's company was taking casualties from a field gun at close range. He ran forward under fire, captured the gun and killed the crew. Later, when the advance was checked by an enemy strongpoint, Currey moved around the flank with a Lewis gun, inflicting casualties and dispersing the enemy. Early next morning he volunteered to relay orders to an isolated unit: proceeding into no man's land, he called out, drawing enemy fire. Despite being gassed and having his respirator holed, he returned safely.
After the war Currey was involved in politics and in 1941 became the first Victoria Cross recipient in the New South Wales parliament, retaining his seat until his death.
Currey received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First World War and the King George VI Coronation Medal.