Military Medal : Lance Corporal Ivan Cecil Whitelaw, 12 Battalion AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area, Bullecourt
Accession Number REL41196.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Military Medal (Geo V). Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

2910 Lance Corporal Ivan Cecil Whitelaw was born in the Victorian town of Briagolong to Robert and Annie Whitelaw. In July 1915, at the age of 21, he enlisted in the AIF. He joined the 12th Battalion as reinforcement in Egypt in March 1916. In July he was promoted to Lance Corporal, a few days later on 4 August he was admitted to hospital after suffering gas poisoning, this would be the first of three time he would be wounded in action. In May 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal. The recommendation reads: 'On May 6th 1917 operations east of BULLECOURT, commanded a post that was heavily attacked by the enemy and resisted so effectively with bomb and Lewis Machine Gun fire that the attack was beaten off. He set a splendid example to his men during the whole period the Bn. was in the line.'

On 9 June 1917 Whitelaw was promoted to corporal. On the night of 23/24 April 1918 he was killed in action near Meteren during the German Spring Offensive. The battalion chaplain, Captain H A Hayden, noted: 'KIA 24/4/18 This NCO took part in the attack on Meteren, and was killed by an enemy machine gun whilst approaching his post and endeavouring to capture it. He is buried on the battlefield near where he fell'. The grave could not be located after the war and Whitelaw is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

Corporal Whitelaw was one of six Whitelaw brothers who enlisted in the AIF. Two of his brothers were also killed during the war: Sergeant Robert Angus Whitelaw, killed on 3 May 1917 and Private Angus McSween Whitelaw, killed on 25 August 1916. Another brother, Private Kenneth Whitelaw, was invalided home after a gunshot wound to the chest but died of his wound in 1922. Private Lionel Whitelaw and Sergeant Donald John Whitelaw survived the war.