ID numberREL29673.014
Collection typeHeraldry
TitleUnited States Distinguished Service Cross : Major General G A Vasey
Object typeAward
Place madeUnited States of America
Date madec 1943
Physical descriptionBronze
DescriptionUnited States Distinguished Service Cross. Impressed on reverse centre with the number '8485'.
SummaryGeorge Alan Vasey, a professional soldier, was born in 1895. He graduated from RMC Duntroon in 1915, and during the First World War served with 4 and 22 Field Artillery Brigades, and as brigade major of 11 Infantry Brigade. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was posted to the 6th Division in the Middle East. In March 1941 he took command of 19 Infantry Brigade which he led in the fighting through Greece and Crete, also taking overall command of Australian forces involved in the defence of Crete. After returning to Australia in early 1942, Vasey was promoted major general and made deputy Chief of the General Staff. In September, he gained command of the 6th Division, then fighting the Japanese in Papua. Soon afterwards, however, he was transferred to lead the 7th Division through the fighting at Gona, Sanananda, Nadzab, Lae and the Ramu Valley. By mid 1944, his health had deteriorated to such an extent that he was evacuated to Australia, and not expected to survive, but in early 1945 he had recovered sufficiently to be appointed to command of 6 Division. While flying to assume this new command on 5 March, his Hudson aircraft crashed into the sea off Cairns and all on board were killed. The citation for the United States Distinguished Service Cross reads, 'For extaordinary heroism in action in New Guinea, during the Papuan campaign, July 23, 1942, to January 8, 1943. As Commander, Seventh Division, Australian Army, Major General Vasey displayed extraordinary courage, marked efficiency and precise execution of operations during the Papuan campaign.'