Bren Gunner (Sergeant Reginald Rattey) VC

Place Oceania: Pacific Islands, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, South Bougainville, Buin Road
Accession Number ART22486
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 82.1 cm x 66.8 cm; Unframed: 60.8 cm x 45.2 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas on wood panel
Maker Abbott, Harold
Place made Pacific Islands: Solomon Islands, Bougainville
Date made 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

A portrait of Sergeant Reginald Roy Rattey VC, NX102964, A Company, 25th Battalion Australian Military Force holding a Bren gun. Corporal Rattey was an exceptional rather than a typical member of the 25th Battalion, aged twenty seven at the time when this was painted. He was well developed and mature, and (as noted by the artist) when he would sling his Bren on his shoulder, he would quite naturally assume a look of 'grim determination'. At the time when the portrait was made, Sergeant Rattey had just returned from a long period of fighting. As depicted, his colour was not good and beads of perspiration form on his upper lip.

Sergeant Rattey was awarded the Victoria Cross for his exceptional bravery and a complete disregard for his own life when he silenced Japanese fire from automatic weapons in bunkers. The bunkers were dominating all lines of approach to a strongly held position astride Buin Road, South Bougainville, and holding up the Company's advance.