Distinguished Conduct Medal : Sergeant V D McQuillan, 6 Division Cavalry Regiment

Accession Number REL28351.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 1 - Mediterranean: Greece-Libya
Maker Unknown
Date made Unknown
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

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

History / Summary

Associated with QX4682 Sergeant Vincent Daniel McQuillan, 6 Division Australian Cavalry Regiment, AIF. Sergeant McQuillan was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions in Bardia, Libya, on 5 January 1941. The citation for the award reads, 'On 5 January 1941 at Bardia, Sergeant McQuillan showed great courage and coolness in an attack on a strongpoint in the Southern defences. He captured sixty Italian prisoners at pistol point and showed great dash and initiative throughout the action'.

Later, on 27 January 1941, McQuillan was leading his troop on patrol in the Wadi Derna area when it was ambushed by concealed Italian anti tank weapons and machine guns from very close range. McQuillan signalled his troop to withdraw and in the process his carrier struck a mine, mortally wounding his driver and breaking McQuillan's arm. The remaining vehicles escaped and gained cover. A rescue effort was mounted but failed. McQuillan and three others were captured by the Italians. Sergeant McQuillan died of wounds two days after his capture, on 29 January 1941. McQuillan was initially buried by the Italians but was subsequently exhumed and reburied at the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. He was the first Queensland public servant to be killed in the Second World War.