Corporal Alexander Henry Buckley

Service Number 1876
Birth Date 22 July 1891
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Warren
Death Date 01 September 1918
Death Place France: Picardie, Somme, Peronne
Final Rank Corporal
Units
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 23 May 1919 on page 886 at position 1
London Gazette 14 December 1918 on page 14778 at position 2

Alex Buckley (1891-1918) was born at Warren, New South Wales. He was a 24-year-old farmer when he enlisted in the AIF in February 1916. He joined the 54th Battalion on the Somme in November. The following year he fought at Bullecourt and in the battle of Polygon Wood. In April 1918 his battalion moved back to the Somme and took part in the allied counter-offensive which began in August.

Buckley was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross following his battalion's operation at Peronne. The 54th was to take the ground between the town and the river, then move into Peronne "if not too strongly opposed". They moved forward in drizzle and cleared the first line of German trenches, but were then held up by a nest of machine-guns. Buckley charged forward, shot four of the post's occupants and took 22 prisoners. He was killed by machine-gun fire while attempting to cross a footbridge into the town. Buckley's citation praised his "great initiative, resource and courage", as well as his "self-sacrificing devotion to duty". He was buried in the war cemetery at Peronne.

Collection items

Rolls

  • Roll of Honour

    Rank
    Corporal
    Fate
    Killed in action
    Date of Fate
    01 September 1918
    Service
    Australian Army
    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
  • First World War Embarkation Roll

    Rank
    Private
    Place of Embarkation
    Sydney
    Embarkation Ship
    HMAT Barambah A37
    Date of Embarkation
    23 June 1916
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918

Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Corporal
    London Gazette
    14 December 1918 on page 14778 at position 2
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 May 1919 on page 886 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    16 September 1918
    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Corporal
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    07 September 1918
    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Corporal
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Corporal
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    04 September 1918
    Unit
    54th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Corporal

Timeline

Date of birth 1891-07-22
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1916-02-03 54th Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1916-06-23
Date of death 1918-09-01
Date of honour or award 1918-09-01 Buckley was posthumously awarded his Victoria Cross for his "initiative, resource and courage" when the 54th Battalion was involved in operations aimed at clearing the area between Mont St Quentin and Peronne. The battalion was to take the ground between Peronne and the River Somme. The advance commenced in drizzling rain and was opposed by heavy enemy fire. The first line of enemy trenches was captured but the advance was held up by machine guns. Buckley, along with another man, rushed the machine gun post, shooting four men and taking 22 prisoners. The Germans retreated to Peronne, entering the city by the main bridge which they then blew up. The only remaining bridge on the Battalion's front was a footbridge defended by machine guns. With three other members of his company, Buckley tried to force his way across under heavy fire. He was killed in the attempt.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-04
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-07
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-16

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