Major William (Rusty) Ruthven

Service number 1914, 1946
Ranks Held Lieutenant, Private, Second Lieutenant, Sergeant
Birth Date 1893-05-21
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Collingwood
Death Date 1970-01-12
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Heidelberg
Final Rank Major
Service Australian Imperial Force
Unit 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • First World War, 1914-1918
  • First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Biographical information They dared mightily. in 1963
Published in London Gazette in 1918-07-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-11-27

William "Rusty" Ruthven was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, and was a mechanic in the timber industry before enlisting in April 1915. After serving on Gallipoli he went to France, where he was wounded in April 1916.

During an attack near Ville-sur-Ancre on 19 May 1918, Ruthven performed outstanding acts of bravery. He took command of a company after the officer commanding was wounded, and personally assaulted enemy strongpoints. Throughout the successful action, he led by example, inspiring and encouraging his men. During the mopping-up and consolidation, he captured 32 Germans.

Ruthven was commissioned in July 1918 and discharged in December. He became a soldier-settler for a while, but returned to Collingwood and became a local councillor. During the Second World War he served in garrison battalions, reaching the rank of major. From 1945 to 1961 he was a member of the Victorian parliament.

Ruthven received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First and Second World Wars and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.



Date of birth 21 May 1893
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 19 April 1915 Enlisted in the 22nd Battalion.
Date of enlistment 19 April 1915
Date of embarkation 26 August 1915
Date of honour or award 19 May 1918 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Villesurancre, France whilst serving with 22 Battalion, 6 Brigade, 2 Division as a Sergeant
Date of recommendation honour or award 19 May 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 24 May 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 27 May 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 30 May 1918
Date returned to Australia 24 August 1918
Date of death 12 January 1970