Private William Matthew Currey

Service number 1584, 1584A
Birth Date 1895-09-19
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle, Wallsend
Death Date 1948-04-30
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Punchbowl
Final Rank Private
Service Australian Imperial Force
Unit 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • First World War, 1914-1918
  • First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1918-12-14
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23

William Currey was born at Wallsend, New South Wales, and worked in Sydney as a wireworker. After attempts to enlist while under-age, he was accepted in 1916. Initially in a light trench mortar battery, he transferred to the 53rd Battalion in 1917. He fought in the battle of Polygon Wood.

In the attack on Péronne, 1 September 1918, Currey's company was taking casualties from a field gun at close range. He ran forward under fire, captured the gun and killed the crew. Later, when the advance was checked by an enemy strongpoint, Currey moved around the flank with a Lewis gun, inflicting casualties and dispersing the enemy. Early next morning he volunteered to relay orders to an isolated unit: proceeding into no man's land, he called out, drawing enemy fire. Despite being gassed and having his respirator holed, he returned safely.

After the war Currey was involved in politics and in 1941 became the first Victoria Cross recipient in the New South Wales parliament, retaining his seat until his death.

Currey received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First World War and the King George VI Coronation Medal.



Date of birth 19 September 1895
Other units 1912 - 1914 Served with the 31st Infantry Regiment.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 09 October 1916
Date of enlistment 09 October 1916
Date of embarkation 09 November 1916
Date of honour or award 01 September 1918 Awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the Australian attack at Peronne.
Date of recommendation honour or award 05 September 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 07 September 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 08 September 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 11 September 1918
Date returned to Australia 1919-01
Date returned to Australia 08 January 1919
Other units 1939 - 1945 Served with the Australian Instructional Corps and at Holsworthy internment camp.
Date of death 30 April 1948