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.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 07 October 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 25 June 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Distinguished Conduct Medal

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Distinguished Conduct Medal

  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

A03072

A signed informal group portrait of four Australian soldiers, from left to right: Corporal James Bedford of the 16th Battalion, Sergeant (Sgt) Maurice Vincent Buckley VC DCM of 13th Battalion, Sgt W Marshall MM of the 16th Battalion and Regimental Sergeant Major Tandy MM 16th Battalion.

A03072

A05136

Studio portrait of Sergeant (Sgt) Maurice Vincent Buckley VC, 13th Battalion. Sgt Buckley was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the battle of Le Verguier on 18 September 1918. A field gun held up one company and Buckley rushed towards it, shot the crew and raced under machine gun fire...

A05136

P01383.009

A portrait of Sergeant Maurice Vincent Buckley VC DCM, a Roman Catholic. Buckley was a member of the delegation to the Melbourne City Council that sought and obtained permission to hold the 1920 St Patrick's Day March; he was accidentally killed the following year. This photograph is a portion of...

P01383.009

P01383.017

A framed composite photograph presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Irish citizens of Victoria, on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The composite photograph comprises portraits of fourteen Victoria...

P01383.017

P01383.018

This is a restored version of P01383.017. The original is is a framed composite photograph presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Irish citizens of Victoria on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The...

P01383.018

P02939.038

Studio portrait of 6594 Sergeant (Sgt) Maurice Vincent Buckley VC (served as Gerald Sexton), 13th Battalion. Sgt Buckley was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery" on 18 September 1918, near Le Verguier, France. During an attack, Sgt Buckley and his section rushed down a bank to...

P02939.038

Technology

Webley Mark VI Revolver : Sergeant M V Buckley, 13 Battalion, AIF

Webley Mark VI double action, six shot revolver. Frame stamped WEBLEY Mark VI PATENT 1917 and has a double arrow sale mark. It has brown checkered grips with a repair crack and piece missing from the right side.

REL/05832.001

Mainspring for Webley Mark VI Revolver : Sergeant M V Buckley, 13 Battalion, AIF

Mainspring for Webley Mk VI Revolver associated with Sgt. M.V. Buckley of 13th Battalion AIF.

REL/05832.003

Heraldry

Holster for Webley Mark VI Revolver : Sergeant M V Buckley, 13 Battalion, AIF

Holster for Webley Mk VI Revolver associated with Sgt. M.V. Buckley of 13th Battalion AIF.

REL/05832.002

Private Record

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