Distinguished Conduct Medal : Sergeant A L Rush, 14 Machine Gun Company, AIF

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Ypres, Zonnebeke, Polygon Wood
Accession Number RELAWM16418.001
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

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

History / Summary

Arthur Leslie Rush was born at Bundanoon, New South Wales in 1888. He was working as an orchardist when he enlisted in the AIF on 16 August 1915. A clerical error at his enlistment meant that his name is often recorded in official records as Alfred Leslie Rush. After initial training he was assigned to 3 Battalion as a private with the service number 3420, and embarked with the 11th Reinforcements aboard HMAT Euripides (A14) at Sydney on 2 November 1915.

While in Egypt, Rush was transferred to 14 Machine Gun Company (14 MGC) in March 1916 and undertook further training. In June his unit sailed for France. The company's first action was in support of the disastrous infantry assault at Fromelles on the night of 19 July 1916. In September Rush was promoted to corporal.

Rush served with his unit for the remainder of 1916. In January 1917 he was promoted to Sergeant, and was subsequently withdrawn from the line until July 1917 to undertake a number of training courses.

He rejoined 14 MGC on 11 July 1917, by which time his entire brigade was being withdrawn from the line for a period of training. It was at this time that the allied operational focus shifted to the Ypres sector in Belgium.

On 20 September Rush's company fought at the battle of the Menin Road, and a week later at the battle of Polygon Wood. For his courage and leadership during the allied advance to the Butte at Polygon Wood, Rush was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. (DCM).

The recommendation for the DCM reads: 'For conspicuous gallantry & devotion to duty. During counter-attacks on the 26th and 27th inst., although under shell fire of the most extreme violence, he worked his gun with the utmost coolness & courage, succeeding in causing heavy casualties among large parties of the enemy, and greatly inspiring the members of the crew under his command.
During a second counter-attack on the morning of the 27th inst. he almost annihilated 4 large parties of the enemy who had succeeded in penetrating our artillery barrage.
He continued doing very useful work causing numerous enemy casualties, during the remainder of the time this unit was in the line, despite the fact that more than half of his crew were casualties.'

In December 1917 Rush was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After a month of training he rejoined 14 MGC at the start of February 1918. He was serving with his unit during the German Spring Offensive in March, and was killed during the fighting around Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April 1918. Rush was reportedly making a reconnaissance of an enemy gun position when he came under machine gun fire and was hit several times. He was initially buried on the eastern outskirts of Villers-Bretonneux. In 1920 his widow received notification that his remains had been exhumed and reinterred in Adelaide Cemetery.