Monday 23 September 2013 by Amanda Rebbeck. 3 comments
Collection, News

Sixty members of the extended Ferguson family travelled from around Australia to attend a medal donation ceremony this morning at the Australian War Memorial in commemoration of their forebear Alexander Cyril Ferguson. Alexander served in both the First and Second World Wars and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions near Zonnebeke in October 1917where he was a member of the Australian Army Medical Corps, attached to 8 Battalion.

The medals were presented to Mr Tim Sullivan, Assistant Director, National Collections by Alexander’s son Mr Ron Ferguson.

 Ms Rebecca Britt (AWM), Mr Gerard Ferguson, Ms Amanda Rebbeck (AWM), Mr Ron Ferguson and Mr Tim Sullivan (AWM)Ms Rebecca Britt (AWM), Mr Gerard Ferguson, Ms Amanda Rebbeck (AWM), Mr Ron Ferguson and Mr Tim Sullivan (AWM)

Alexander Cyril Ferguson was born in Geelong, Victoria in 1892 and was working as a clerk at the Fyansford Cement Works when he decided to enlist in the First AIF on 18 August 1914. Leaving Australia with 8 Battalion, as part of the First Convoy, Cyril completed his training in Egypt and saw service on Gallipoli between May and December 1915.

Arriving on the Western Front Cyril became a stretcher bearer with 2 Field Ambulance but was re-attached to 8 Battalion as Medical Detail in April 1917. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in March 1918 for actions at Zonnebeke. His full citation reads:

"During the period from the 23rd to the 28th Octr. 1917 near Zonnebeke, East of YPRES, he who is in charge of the A.M.C. details of the Bn. did magnificent work; not only at the R.A.P., but when stretcher squads became exhausted and depleted through casualties he went forward through the barrage to the front line, visited all the posts and dressed the wounded, afterwards organising stretcher squads to clear same. On several occasions he patrolled the barraged areas in search of runners and stretchers bearers who had been wounded. His courage, initiative and devotion to duty set a splendid example to the members of his squads.

Cyril was wounded in the above action (gassed on 28 October 1917) but remained on duty. He returned to Australia in December 1918 (1914 Leave) and was discharged.

 Alexander Cyril Ferguson’s medal group, from left: Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal, British War Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal 1939-45Alexander Cyril Ferguson medal group

Alexander married Catherine Hehir in 1920 and together they had eight children born between 1921 and 1933.

During the Second World War Cyril again enlisted in August 1942, firstly part-time with the Australian Citizen Military Forces and later with the Special Training School Service Corps. He was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant but was discharged on 11 November 1943 as medically unfit.

Alexander passed away on 19 April 1961 and is buried with his wife Catherine at the Box Hill Cemetery in Melbourne.



Thanks to Amanda, Rebecca and Tim for making all four generations of us feel so welcome. It was a very special day that we will always treasure.

Gerard Ferguson

The reception received from the staff at the Australian War Memorial left no one in doubt that the sons and daughters of A.C. Ferguson DCM had made a wonderful decision. I felt a great sense of pride that the deeds performed so long ago could be acknowledged by so many of his descendants. I also felt a sense of honour that the Australian War Memorial would accept his medals into its collection. Finally as the staff placed on their white gloves to to handle his medals I felt a sense of peace. Given his role in the 8th Battalion , I wondered how many men he had tended to on the Roll Of Honour, his medals were home.

Kathleen Streefkerk

I am a friend of the Ferguson Family and I was very impressed with the ceremony I read it on line Kathleen Vanin Streefkerk