Biography

Birth date: 22 July 1891
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Warren
Death date: 01 September 1918
Death place: France: Picardie, Somme, Peronne
Final rank: Corporal
Service number: 1876 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion

Alex Buckley (1891-1918) was born at Warren, New South Wales. He was a 24-year-old farmer when he enlisted in the AIF in February 1916. He joined the 54th Battalion on the Somme in November. The following year he fought at Bullecourt and in the battle of Polygon Wood. In April 1918 his battalion moved back to the Somme and took part in the allied counter-offensive which began in August.

Buckley was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross following his battalion's operation at Péronne. The 54th was to take the ground between the town and the river, then move into Péronne "if not too strongly opposed". They moved forward in drizzle and cleared the first line of German trenches, but were then held up by a nest of machine-guns. Buckley charged forward, shot four of the post's occupants and took 22 prisoners. He was killed by machine-gun fire while attempting to cross a footbridge into the town. Buckley's citation praised his "great initiative, resource and courage", as well as his "self-sacrificing devotion to duty". He was buried in the war cemetery at Péronne.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Date of Death: 01 September 1918
  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 23 June 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

C04186

A letter sent by His Majesty the King, the father of a deceased Australian soldier 1876, Private (T/Corporal) A H Buckley, 54th Battalion, who had been awarded the Victoria Cross.

C04186

H06648

PORTRAIT OF 1876 A.H. BUCKLEY V.C. 54TH BATTALION (AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE).

H06648

H06648A

Studio portrait of 1876 Corporal (Cpl) Alexander Henry Buckley, VC, 54th Battalion. A farmer from Armatree, New South Wales, he enlisted on 3 February 1916 and embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Barambah on 23 June 1916 for Plymouth, England. He joined his unit in France on 16 November 1916 and was...

H06648A

P02939.040

Studio portrait of Temporary Corporal (Cpl) Alexander Henry Buckley VC, 54th Battalion. Cpl Buckley was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery and self sacrifice" on 1 - 2 September 1918 at Peronne, France. During a hold up in an attack, Cpl Buckley and another...

P02939.040

P01421.002

ENGLAND, 1918-01-24. STUDIO PORTRAIT OF 1876 CORPORAL ALEXANDER HENRY BUCKLEY, A MEMBER OF THE 54TH INFANTRY BATTALION. HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION 1918-09-01 NEAR PERONNE, FRANCE, AND FOR HIS BRAVERY WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS (VC). (DONOR: C. AND N. BUCKLEY).

P01421.002

J00593

Part of the Australian Cemetery at Mont St Quentin, France. The grave second from the left is that of 1876 Corporal (Cpl) Alexander Henry Buckley VC, 54th Battalion. Cpl Buckley enlisted at Gulargambone, NSW, on 3 February 1916 and died 1 September 1918 aged 27 years. From the collection of Mr...

J00593

P01421.003

THE GRAVE OF 1876 CORPORAL ALEXANDER HENRY BUCKLEY VC, 54TH INFANTRY BATTALION, KILLED IN ACTION NEAR PERONNE 1918-09-01. (DONOR: C. AND N. BUCKLEY).

P01421.003

P01421.001

Probably DUBBO, NSW, C. 1916. STUDIO PORTRAIT OF 1876 PRIVATE ALEXANDER HENRY BUCKLEY, WHO ENLISTED 1916-02-03, WITH HIS FIANCE. A MEMBER OF THE 54TH INFANTRY BATTALION, HE WAS KILLED IN ACTION 1918-09-01 NEAR PERONNE, FRANCE, AND FOR HIS BRAVERY WAS AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS (VC). (DONOR: C. AND...

P01421.001

Private Record

Heraldry

Victoria Cross : Corporal A H Buckley, 54 Battalion AIF

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

REL/18815

Timeline

Date of birth 1891-07-22
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1916-02-03 54th Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1916-06-23
Date of death 1918-09-01
Date of honour or award 1918-09-01 Buckley was posthumously awarded his Victoria Cross for his "initiative, resource and courage" when the 54th Battalion was involved in operations aimed at clearing the area between Mont St Quentin and Peronne. The battalion was to take the ground between Peronne and the River Somme. The advance commenced in drizzling rain and was opposed by heavy enemy fire. The first line of enemy trenches was captured but the advance was held up by machine guns. Buckley, along with another man, rushed the machine gun post, shooting four men and taking 22 prisoners. The Germans retreated to Peronne, entering the city by the main bridge which they then blew up. The only remaining bridge on the Battalion's front was a footbridge defended by machine guns. With three other members of his company, Buckley tried to force his way across under heavy fire. He was killed in the attempt.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-04
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-07
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-16