Published: Thu 20 Oct 2016

The Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers during the First World War will go on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial, bringing the total number of VCs on display in the Memorial’s galleries to 79.

New Zealand-born Weathers, of the 43rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 2 September 1918 near Péronne, France. He was instrumental in the storming of a strongly-defended German trench and the capture of 180 prisoners and three machine-guns. Weathers’ VC was one of eight awarded to Australian soldiers for their actions during the attacks at Péronne and nearby Mont St Quentin between 31 August and 2 September.

The citation for Weather’s Victoria Cross commends his “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty”:
 

"Regardless of personal danger, he mounted the enemy parapet and bombed the trench, and, with the support of his comrades, captured 180 prisoners and three machine-guns. His valour and determination resulted in the successful capture of the final objective and saved the lives of many of his comrades."

Weathers never learned of his recommendation for the Victoria Cross as he died in action just weeks’ later.

Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Memorial, said it was an honour for the Australian War Memorial to receive Corporal Weathers’ Victoria Cross into the collection.

“There is one particular legacy of this institution, conceived and driven by our founder Charles Bean, and that is the belief that a life of value is one ultimately spent in the service of other human beings, irrespective of the cost to oneself,” Dr Nelson said.  

“Weathers paid the ultimate sacrifice and for that we owe an immense debt. We do what we can to repay this debt by honouring his story in the Hall of Valour, as we do for so many others, every day.”

On two previous occasions during Weather’s war service he was  seriously wounded: once, due to a severe gun-shot wound on 10 June 1917 during the Battle of Messines; and again when he was gassed on 26 May 1918. He returned to his unit a month later.

Weathers was mortally wounded by a shell burst on 29 September, at the start of an attack towards the Beaurevoir Line in his unit’s last action of the war. His cousin, Lance Corporal John Wethers, (a common spelling variation) was also fatally wounded by the same shell. Lawrence Weathers is buried at Unicorn Cemetery, in Vendhuille, France.

Weather’s two brothers also served in the war, both with the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. Private Thomas Francis Weathers died of wounds on 15 June 1915 on Gallipoli. His other brother, Private Joseph James Augustine Weathers, briefly served in Australia and was discharged at his own request in November 1916.

Corporal Weathers’ Victoria Cross was donated to the Memorial anonymously and will go on permanent display from Friday, 21 October 2016.

 

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