Biography

Birth date: 19 September 1895
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle, Wallsend
Death date: 30 April 1948
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Punchbowl
Final rank: Private
Service number: 1584A - First World War, 1914-1918
1584 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion

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 PĂ©ronne, 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.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 09 November 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1895-09-19
Other units 1912 - 1914 Served with the 31st Infantry Regiment.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1916-10-09
Date of embarkation 1916-11-09
Date of honour or award 1918-09-01 Awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the Australian attack at Peronne.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-05
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-07
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-08
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-11
Date returned to Australia 1919-01
Other units 1939 - 1945 Served with the Australian Instructional Corps and at Holsworthy internment camp.
Date of death 1948-04-30