Corporal John Bernard Mackey

Service Number NX20317
Birth Date 16 May 1922
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Leichhardt
Death Date 12 May 1945
Death Place Borneo: Tarakan
Final Rank Corporal
Units
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 15 November 1945 on page 2459 at position 1
London Gazette 8 November 1945 on page 5431 at position 1

John Mackey was born at Leichhardt, Sydney, and until his enlistment worked in his father's bakery. He embarked with the 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion in November 1941, serving in Syria and in the later operations at El Alamein. He also took part in the New Guinea campaign. The landing on Tarakan Island, Borneo, was the battalion's final campaign.

Mackey had already been recognised as an outstanding and brave junior leader. On 12 May 1945 he displayed those qualities again on Tarakan Island, Netherlands East Indies. Together with his lance corporal, Mackey approached a well-defended position along a steep and narrow spur. Reaching a Japanese light machine-gun post, the two men killed four enemy soldiers, but Mackey's companion was wounded. Mackey killed the remaining Japanese, then dealt with a heavy machine-gun crew in an adjacent bunker. Taking up an Owen gun, he moved towards another heavy machine-gun nest, and managed to silence it before he was mortally wounded. Mackey was eventually laid to rest in Labuan War Cemetery.

Mackey was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, and service medals for the Second World War.

Collection items

Rolls

  • Roll of Honour

    Rank
    Corporal
    Fate
    Killed in action
    Date of Fate
    12 May 1945
    Service
    Australian Army
    Unit
    2/3rd Pioneer Battalion
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    2/3rd Pioneer Battalion
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Corporal
    London Gazette
    8 November 1945 on page 5431 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    15 November 1945 on page 2459 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Victoria Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945

Timeline

Date of birth 1922-05-16
Date of death 1945-05-12
Date of honour or award 1945-05-12 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Tarakan Island, East Indies whilst serving with 2/3 Pioneer Battalion, 9 Division as a Corporal.

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