Biography

Birth date: 08 October 1914
Birth place: New South Wales, Wagga Wagga
Death date: 14 April 1941
Death place: Libya: Tobruk, Tobruk War Cemetery
Final rank: Corporal
Service number: NX15705 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit: 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion

Jack Edmondson (1914-1941) was born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, later moving to Liverpool where he worked on his parents' farm. After service in the militia, he enlisted in the AIF and was promoted to corporal soon afterwards. He embarked for the Middle East with his battalion in October 1940 and trained in Palestine.

In April 1941 German infantry breached the defences at Tobruk, establishing machine-guns, mortars, and field-guns. A seven-man section, including Edmondson, charged the position. Although wounded in the neck and stomach, Edmondson continued to advance under heavy fire, killing one German with his bayonet. He later killed another two Germans, saving the life of his platoon commander, but he succumbed to his wounds soon after the German attack was defeated. His citation noted that Edmondson's actions during the operation "were outstanding for resolution, leadership and conspicuous bravery".

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Date of Death: 14 April 1941
  • Unit: 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

020627

TOBRUK, LIBYA. 1941-09-20. THE GRAVE OF NX15705 CORPORAL J.H. EDMONDSON VC, OF THE 2/17TH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION, FIRST WINNER OF THE VC IN THE 2ND A.I.F.

020627

020894

TOBRUK, LIBYA. 1941-10-09. THIS NEW MEMORIAL, ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN WHO DIED IN THE DEFENCE OF TOBRUK, WAS BUILT BY AUSTRALIAN SAPPERS AND STANDS ON THE TOBRUK - BARDIA ROAD. IMMEDIATELY BEHIND THE MEMORIAL MAY BE SEEN THE BRITISH AND AUSTRALIAN WAR CEMETERY. CORPORAL J.H. EDMONDSON,...

020894

010576

CPL. J. EDMONDSON, FIRST AUSTRALIAN VC WINNER OF THE 2ND AIF. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

010576

022519

TOBRUK, LIBYA. 1941-12. PERSONNEL OF NO. 3 SQUADRON, RAAF, PAYING THEIR RESPECTS AT THE GRAVE OF CORPORAL J.H. EDMONDSON VC.

022519

044622

CORPORAL J. EDMONDSON, 2/17TH INFANTRY BATTALION, WHO WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS (VC), POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION AT TOBRUK, LIBYA ON 1941-04-13.

044622

044647

TOBRUK, LIBYA, 1953. GROUP PORTRAIT OF FIVE VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS, MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND CORONATION CONTINGENT IN FRONT OF CORPORAL JACK EDMONDSON'S GRAVE IN THE TOBRUK WAR CEMETERY. THEY ARE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PRIVATE (PTE) FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE, PTE E. KENNA, SERGEANT (SGT)...

044647

045105

The grave in the Middle East of NX15705 Corporal John Hurst Edmondson VC, 2/17 Infantry Battalion AIF, who died on 14 April 1941 from wounds received the previous day during an attack against a German strongpoint near the El Adem road to Tobruk.

045105

100642

CORPORAL JOHN HURST EDMONDSON VC, 2/17TH INFANTRY BATTALION. HE WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

100642

100642A

Portrait of Corporal John Hurst Edmondson VC, 2/17th Infantry Battalion. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously, for action at 1941-04-13 at Tobruk, Libya.

100642A

P00426.001

MEMBERS OF THE 2/17TH BATTALION, AIF. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT THEY ARE: JOCK SLATTERY, JOHN HEDGES, STEWART CROWTHER, BILL MCGILLIVRAY, HECTOR MCDONALD, JOHN EDMONDSON. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

P00426.001

P00426.002

PORTRAIT OF NX15705 CORPORAL JOHN EDMONDSON OF THE 2/17TH BATTALION AIF. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

P00426.002

P00426.003

JACK GAMBLING AND CORPORAL JOHN EDMONDSON OF THE 2/17TH BATTALION, AIF. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

P00426.003

P00426.004

NX15705 CORPORAL JOHN EDMONDSON, (IN FRONT) FOLLOWED BY J. DEERING AND DOUG FOSTER OF THE 2/17TH BATTALION AIF. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK, LIBYA.

P00426.004

P01170.001

SYDNEY, NSW, 1941-09-27. MR AND MRS J.W. EDMONDSON AT ADMIRALTY HOUSE, SYDNEY. THEIR SON CORPORAL JACK H. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE FIRST VICTORIA CROSS IN THE 2ND AIF, TOBRUK, LIBYA, 1941-04-13. THE OCCASION WAS THE PRESENTATION OF THE VC, WHICH MRS EDMONDSON IS HOLDING. (DONOR ESTATE OF W.L....

P01170.001

P05150.001

Studio portrait of NX15705 Corporal (Cpl) John Hurst (Jack) Edmondson VC, 2/17th Battalion. Edmondson enlisted on 20 May 1940 at Paddington, NSW, and with prior militia service with the 4th Battalion, he was quickly promoted to Corporal and embarked for the Middle East on 19 October 1940. He served...

P05150.001

P05798.001

Grave of NX15705 Corporal (Cpl) John Hurst (Jack) Edmondson VC, 2/17th Battalion. Edmondson enlisted on 20 May 1940 at Paddington, NSW, and with prior militia service with the 4th Battalion, he was quickly promoted to Corporal and embarked for the Middle East on 19 October 1940. He served with the...

P05798.001

P09003.001

Studio portrait of NX15705 Corporal (Cpl) John Hurst (Jack) Edmondson VC, 2/17th Battalion. Edmondson enlisted on 20 May 1940 at Paddington, NSW, and with prior militia service with the 4th Battalion, he was quickly promoted to Corporal and embarked for the Middle East on 19 October 1940. He served...

P09003.001

P00426.005

TOBRUK, LIBYA, C. 1941. J. SMITH OF THE 2/17TH BATTALION STANDING AT THE GRAVE OF NX15705 CORPORAL JOHN EDMONDSON VC OF THE SAME UNIT, IN THE TOBRUK WAR CEMETERY. EDMONDSON WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS, POSTHUMOUSLY, FOR ACTION ON 1941-04-13 AT TOBRUK.

P00426.005

Art

Corporal John Edmondson

Portrait of NX15705 Corporal John H Edmondson, VC, 2/17 Battalion, AIF, was in a small group that attacked with the bayonet a party of Germans which had broken through a point of the Tobruk defences in April 1941. During the counter-attack Edmondson was severely wounded but carried on, saved the...

ART27532

Film

Tobruk for valour (Fox Movietone News Vol. 12 No. 42)

Extracts from Fox Movietone News newsreel Vol. 12 No. 42. Mr and Mrs Edmondson receive the Victoria Cross from the Governor-General on behalf of their son, NX15705 Corporal J.H. Edmondson, 2/17th Bn AIF; killed in action 14 April 1941 at Tobruk. This was the first VC awarded to a member of the...

F00313

Tobruk, 30th July to 22nd October

The day by day story of Tobruk. The leisure hours, the bombing and the wounded. Scenes of bomb damaged Tobruk. Sunken ships in Tobruk harbour. The wrecked Insect Class gunboat HMS Lady Bird and anti-aircraft gun and crew on the ship's deck. Men from the 8th Battalion (Bn) 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft...

F07001

Private Record

Technology

German MG34 Machine Gun : Corporal J H Edmondson, VC, 2/17 Battalion

German MG34 Machine Gun. The breech is marked BSW over 1937 and the serial number. The barrel has an air cooled barrel jacket. The butt is wooden and is marked with the serial number. The pistol grips are black plasic and the trigger is marked E for single fire and D for continuous fire. The weapon...

RELAWM31375.001

Patronenkasten 15, MG34 Ammunition Box : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion

Rectangular ammunition box of welded and pressed steel construction. The box is finished in original wartime dark green paint, with red oxide primer showing through in some areas. The lid is impressed with a small eagle and swastika symbol. Each end of the box has impressed recesses to accommodate...

RELAWM31375.003

Sound

Three 'Turn of the Century' ABC Radio Programs featuring Dr Peter Stanley discussing aspects of Australia's military involvement in war and peacekeeping throughout the 1900s

PROGRAM 1: Dr Stanley discuses attitudes to war and Australia's committment to war; Australian's went to the Boer War (South Africa) with idea that war was romantic and adventurous but during the century there was a changing view of war; men went to the Great War initially with enthusiasm but the...

S02107

Heraldry

Housewife : Corporal J H Edmondson, VC, 2/17th Battalion

Brown leatherette housewife lined with cream flannelette which folds in to protect the contents. One end is folded in to form a pocket, which contains khaki darning wool and a Bakelite thimble. The other end carries two light brown ties made from cotton bias binding. The same binding edges the...

RELAWM31950.007

Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion

Australia Service Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM31948.006

Victoria Cross : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details and reverse cross with date of award.

RELAWM31948.001

British War Medal 1939-45 : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion

British War Medal 1939-45. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM31948.005

1939-45 Star : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion

1939-45 Star. Unnamed as issued.

RELAWM31948.003

Africa Star : Corporal J H Edmondson, 2/17 Battalion

Africa Star. Unnamed as issued.

RELAWM31948.004

Timeline

Date of birth 1914-10-08
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1940-05-20
Date of embarkation 1940-10-19 Embarked for the Middle East.
Date of honour or award 1941-04-13 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Tobruk, Libya whilst serving with 2/17 Battalion, 20 Brigade, 19 Division as a Corporal.
Date of death 1941-04-14