Private John Ryan

Service number 1717
Birth Date 1890-02-09
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Tumut
Death Date 1941-06-03
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Final Rank Private
Service Australian Imperial Force
  • 55th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 55th Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Biographical information They dared mightily. in 1963
Published in London Gazette in 1918-12-26
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23

John Ryan (1890-1941), born at Tumut, New South Wales, was a labourer on enlistment in December 1915. He embarked the following April, joining the 55th Battalion in France in September.

During the battalion's attack on the Hindenburg defences in 1918, Ryan went forward under heavy fire and was one of the first to reach an enemy trench. A German counter-attack drove the Australians back, placing them in a critical position. Ryan organised and led an attack on the Germans with bombs and bayonets. His small party killed three Germans, then he single-handedly rushed the remainder and drove them back. He was badly wounded in the shoulder, but his action enabled the trench to be retaken.

After the war Ryan struggled to find employment, particularly during the Depression years. From 1935 he worked for some time with an insurance company, but his health deteriorated and he died of pneumonia in 1941.



Date of birth 09 February 1890
Date of embarkation 14 April 1916
Date of honour or award 30 September 1918 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Bullecourt, France whilst serving with 55 Battalion, 14 Brigade, 5 Division as a Private
Date of recommendation honour or award 06 October 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 10 October 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 10 October 1918
Date of death 03 June 1941