Biography

Also Known as: Gerald Sexton
Birth date: 13 April 1891
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Hawthorn
Death date: 27 January 1921
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Final rank: Sergeant
Service number: 6594 - First World War, 1914-1918
633 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion

Maurice Buckley (1891-1921), born in Hawthorn, Melbourne, was a coach trimmer before enlisting in late 1914. His early service was inglorious: while in Egypt with the 13th Light Horse Regiment, he contracted venereal disease and was sent back to Australia, where he deserted. Two months later, in May 1916, Buckley re-enlisted under the alias Gerald Sexton, and joined the 13th Battalion in France in January 1917. He fought at Bullecourt and through the third battle of Ypres; the next year, as a sergeant, he was wounded at Le Hamel. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his bravery near Morcourt in August.

On 18 September, with his Lewis gun and "displaying boldness which inspired all", Buckley rushed enemy machine-gun positions, captured a field gun, and took numerous prisoners. He received the Victoria Cross. With the focus of attention now on him, he had to disclose his true name. Buckley was fatally injured in 1921 after being thrown from a horse; ten Victoria Cross-holders were pallbearers at his funeral.

[Expand all]

[Collapse all]

Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 07 October 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 25 June 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Digitised Collection

Timeline

Date of birth 1891-04-13
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1914-12-18 Enlisted under his correct name - Maurice Buckley - and sailed with the 13th Light Horse Regiment.
Other units 1914-12-18 13th Light Horse Regiment
Date of embarkation 1915-06-25
Date returned to Australia 1915-09-25 Admitted to Langwarrin Camp, from which he deserted on 21 Januray 1916.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1916-05-16 Re-enlisted as Gerald Sexton and taken on strength of the 13th Battalion.
Other units 1916-05-16 13th Battalion
Date of embarkation 1916-10-07
Date promoted 1918-01 Appointed Lance Corporal.
Date promoted 1918-04 Appointed temporary Corporal.
Date promoted 1918-06 Appointed Lance Sergeant.
Date wounded 1918-07-06 Wounded in the Battle of Hamel.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-08-13
Date promoted 1918-08-28 Appointed to Sergeant.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-23
Date of honour or award 1918-12-05 Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his work in the Morcourt area.
Date of honour or award 1918-12-14 Awarded the Victoria Cross, and after the award was gazetted Buckley had to disclose his real name, which resulted in a further notice in the London Gazette.
Date of discharge 1919-12 Discharged medically unfit.
Date returned to Australia 1919-12
Date of death 1921-01-27