Biography

Birth date: 16 August 1891
Birth place: Australia: Tasmania, Launceston
Death date: 19 October 1963
Death place: Australia: Queensland, Torquay
Final rank: Lance Corporal
Service number: 23 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 41st Australian Infantry Battalion

Sidney "Bernie" Gordon was born at Launceston, Tasmania, and enlisted in the AIF in September 1915. He soon showed that he had considerable courage and initiative, although he was not always a model soldier when out of the line. He was first wounded in France in October 1917, and in August 1918 his conduct beyond Le Hamel earned him the Military Medal. Less than three weeks later, 26 27 August 1918, came the action for which he received the Victoria Cross.

During an attack to advance the Australian line towards Fargny Wood, Gordon assaulted an enemy machine-gun post, then cleaned up a trench, capturing 29 prisoners and two more machine-guns. In further actions he cleared other trenches, in all capturing 63 of the enemy and six machine-guns. He provided "a wonderful example of fearless initiative".

Gordon was wounded a few days later, and the award of the Victoria Cross was announced while he was in hospital. Returning to Australia, he became a Queensland dairy farmer and father of nine children. He died at Torquay, Queensland, at the age of 72.

Gordon was awarded the Victoria Cross, Military Medal, service medals for the First World War and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 18 May 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Medal

  • Unit: 41st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 41st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Medal

  • Unit: 41st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 41st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

A03693

Please use image at A05210. A retouched portrait of Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) (later Corporal) Bernard Sidney Gordon MM VC, of the 41st Battalion. L/Cpl Gordon was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for action on the 8th August 1918 at Hamel, and the Victoria Cross (VC) for further bravery eighteen days...

A03693

A05535

Portrait of Corporal (Cpl) Bernard Sidney Gordon, VC, of the 41st Battalion (41st Bn). He is wearing the ribbons of his decorations, the Military Medal (MM) awarded for action on the 8th August 1918 at Hamel, and the Victoria Cross (VC) awarded for further bravery eighteen days later. During...

A05535

J03076

MELBOURNE, AUS. 1927-04-25. AUSTRALIAN VICTORIA CROSS (VC) WINNERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE 1927 ANZAC DAY MARCH. IN THE BACKGROUND ARE THE KING'S AND REGIMENTAL COLOURS OF THE A.M.F. BATTALIONS AND REGIMENTS. LEFT TO RIGHT:- CORPORAL (CPL) B.S. GORDON MM, CPL T.L. AXFORD MM, CPL J. CARROLL, SERGEANT...

J03076

A05210

Studio portrait of Lance Corporal (L/Cpl) (later Corporal) Bernard Sidney Gordon MM VC, of the 41st Battalion. L/Cpl Gordon was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for action on the 8th August 1918 at Hamel, and the Victoria Cross (VC) for further bravery eighteen days later. During advances towards...

A05210

Film

VC hero decorated (Cinesound News No. 570)

Extract from Cinesound newsreel No. 570. The late 402263 Pilot Officer Ronald Wilkins Taylor, awarded Distinguished Flying medal presented to next of kin Mrs D F Taylor. WX2437 Corporal James Heather Gordon of Western Australia, awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). Lord Gowrie hands over the awards.

F00596

Heraldry

George VI Coronation Medal : B S Gordon

George VI Coronation Medal. Unnamed as issued.

REL35600.003

Elizabeth II Coronation Medal : B S Gordon

Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. Unnamed as issued.

REL35600.004

Rising Sun hat badge : Lance Corporal B S Gordon, 41 Battalion, AIF

Oxidised Australian 'Rising Sun' general service hat badge, with pair of location lugs soldered to reverse.

REL38014

Victoria Cross : Lance Corporal B S Gordon, 41 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved on reverse with recipient's details.

REL35600.001

Technology

Maxim MG08 Machine Gun : Lance Corporal B S Gordon, 41 Battalion, AIF

Maxim MG08 Machine Gun. Breech top cover stamped with the serial number, M.G.08, D.W.M. BERLIN 1917. The water jacket is badly damaged by shrapnel and on the underside in white paint is D1406. The Weapon is complete with its breech mechanism, feed block, optical sight bracket, muzzle compensator,...

RELAWM00857.001

Maxim MG08 Machine Gun Sled Mount : Lance Corporal B S Gordon, 41 Battalion, AIF

Maxim MG08 Machine Gun Sled Mount. Pressed metal construction that can be folded and locked into various positions for use and carrying with the gun mounted. It is complete with all fixtures, tool box lids and leather pads. The left leg is stamped 58. Overall painted field grey.

RELAWM00857.003

Timeline

Date of birth 1891-08-16
Date of embarkation 1916-05-18
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-08-12
Date of honour or award 1918-08-27 Awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Fargny Wood, east of Bray, France whilst serving with 41 Battalion, 11 Brigade, 3 Division as a Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-17
Date of death 1963-10-19