Victoria Cross : Lieutenant R V Moon, 58 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area, Bullecourt
Accession Number REL/13719.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Bronze
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: Somme to Hindenburg Line
Maker Hancocks
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details; reverse cross with date of action.

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History / Summary

Rupert Theo Vance ‘Mick’ Moon was born to Arthur Moon and Helen Dunning at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria on 18 August 1892. His early years were spent around Maffra, Yarrawonga, Swan Hill, Dimboola and Kyneton. Educated at the Kyneton Grammar School, 16 year old Moon followed his father into a career with the National Bank.

Working as a clerk in the Melbourne branch of the bank, Moon enlisted in the AIF as a trumpeter, service number 153, with the 4th Light Horse Regiment on 21 August 1914, less than three weeks after the beginning of the First World War. He had previous military experience with the 13th Light Horse and the 8th Infantry Regiment militia units.

Embarking on HMAT 'Wiltshire' at Melbourne on 19 October, Moon's squadron arrived on Gallipoli as unmounted infantry on 21 May 1915. He served throughout the remainder of the Gallipoli campaign with a promotion to lance corporal on 23 November. The battalion was withdrawn to Egypt following the evacuation of the peninsula on 11 December. In March 1916, Moon was promoted to sergeant.

Arriving in France in June 1916, he was commissioned second lieutenant and transferred to 58 Battalion on 9 September. Promoted to lieutenant in April 1917, the following month he participated in the Second Battle of Bullecourt. It was for his actions during the latter stages of this operation that he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The recommendation for the award reads:

'On the morning of the 12th of May 1917, in portion of the HINDENBURG LINE East of BULLECOURT, Lieut. MOON displayed most conspicuous bravery in an attack on a German strong point. His own immediate objective was a position in advance of the enemy trench. His orders were, having captured this, to move on to the trench itself, co-operate in the general attack in progress there, and in a further assault on another strong point immediately in rear.

Lieut. MOON was hit in the face when advancing to his first objective, which, after a sharp bomb fight, he captured.

Leading his men, he engaged in the attack on the trench which the enemy held in force. Here he received another wound in the shoulder which spun him round and dazed him for a while.

His men wavered and hesitated, but Lieut. MOON again rushed forward, calling to his men "Come on, you'll not see me left, boys". His men rushed after him, and the enemy broke and retired to the strong point in rear of the trench.

Behind there was a sunken road where the enemy had a large dugout from which parties had continually been emerging to reinforce the defenders. Lieut. MOON'S party, now much diminished, fought on in the general attack, which was so strongly pressed that the enemy to the number of 184 surrendered. Lieut. MOON had by this time received another wound in the foot.

Sitting down among his men with blood and sweat pouring from him he remarked "It was a hard fight boys, I've got three cracks and not one of them good enough for Blighty". Then he busied himself with the consolidation of the captured position and went down into the sunken road where he received a bullet through the face fracturing his jaw. Only then would he consent to retire from the fight. His bravery was magnificent and was largely instrumental in winning a fight against superior numbers, safeguarding the flank of the attack on BULLECOURT and gaining 184 prisoners and 4 Machine guns.'

Due to his wounds, Moon was evacuated to England and underwent corrective surgery on his jaw. In January 1918, he was invalided back to Australia to convalesce. By late August Moon had rejoined his unit in France for the final months of the war. Before returning to Australia in August 1919, he was granted the rank of honorary captain. His appointment with the AIF was terminated on 4 October. In 1920 he underwent further surgery to remove a piece of bone from his tongue, presumably as a result of his actions at Bullecourt.

Moon experienced difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life. He resumed his banking career but resigned in December 1919. He spent two years in Malaysia as an assistant manager on a rubber plantation before returning to work as a jackeroo and bookkeeper on a property near Corowa. In 1928, after another stint with the bank, he obtained a position as livestock manager with the firm of Dennys Lascelles at Geelong, retiring as its general manager in 1959. He also held directorships in station and insurance companies.

He had married Susan Alison May 'Sam' Vincent on 18 December 1931, and served again during Second World War with the Volunteer Defence Corps. His main hobby was horse racing and at one time co-owned a racehorse with fellow Victoria Cross winner and racing enthusiast, William Dunstan.

Ninety three year old Moon died at Bellarine Private Hospital on 28 February 1986 and was buried with full military honours at Mt Duneed Cemetery near Geelong. In 2007 the Rupert Vance Moon Reserve was dedicated in his honour at Bacchus Marsh.