Pacific Star : Lance Sergeant B G Dawes, 2/17 Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL30970.004
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 3: New Guinea
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Pacific Star. Unnamed as issued.

History / Summary

Byron George 'Snowy' Dawes was born at Queanbeyan, NSW, in 1912, and was a bread carter with a local bakery prior to his enlistment in the AIF in May 1940. He became Private NX15984 in 14 Platoon, C Company, 2/17 Battalion. In October 1940, the unit embarked on the 'Queen Mary', bound for the Middle East, where they became part of the newly formed 9th Australian Division. Dawes served throughout the siege of Tobruk, and in the fighting around El Alamein, where he was wounded in the back by shrapnel from a German 88 mm shell on the night of 26 October 1942. After several weeks' recuperation, he rejoined his unit in time for their return to Australia. He was taken ill while on disembarkation leave, and did not return to 2/17 Battalion until just before their departure for New Guinea in August 1943, by which time he held the rank of lance sergeant. After participating in the amphibious landings at Lae and Scarlet Beach (Finschhafen), Dawes was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions on the Sattelberg road near Jivevaneng in November 1943. Following this action, he was trained to become a small arms instructor, but was afflicted by malaria and sandfly fever, and had to be evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Finschhafen. After his unit's return to Australia in March 1944, he suffered a further severe attack of malaria, and after treatment at Concord Hospital he was discharged on medical grounds in September of the same year. Post war, Snowy Dawes worked with the Forestry Service in Canberra, and later with Canberra Electrical Supply, before joining the Australian War Memorial as an Attendant in 1953. He devoted the remainder of his working life to the Memorial, and died in 1978.