Biography

Birth date: 01 September 1910
Birth place: Ireland: Munster, County Cork, Ballybranagh
Death date: 28 January 1963
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Heidelberg
Final rank: Private
Service number: QX20656 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit: 2/25th Australian Infantry Battalion

Richard Kelliher (1910-1963) was born in Ireland and migrated to Australia in 1929. He was a labourer in Brisbane before enlisting in 1941. Sent to the Middle East, he transferred to the 2/25th after the Syrian campaign. The battalion returned to Australia the following year, then took part in the fighting in the Owen Stanley Range and at Gona. Kelliher spent the first half of 1943 in hospital with malaria, before returning to Papua.

A month later Kelliher was involved in fighting near Heath's plantation. When several of his platoon, including a section leader, became casualties, Kelliher, on his own initiative, raced forward hurling grenades, killing some of the enemy until forced back. Then he seized a Bren gun, ran to within a short distance, and silenced the enemy in the post. His final action was to rescue the wounded corporal, saving his life.

Kelliher returned to Australia, still suffering spells of malaria, and was discharged in 1945. He took up work as a gardener in Melbourne.

Kelliher was awarded the Victoria Cross, service medals for the Second World War and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 2/25th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1910-09-01
Date of honour or award 1943-09-13 Awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Nadzab, New Guinea whilst serving with 2/25 Battalion, 25 Brigade, 7 Division as a Private.
Date of death 1963-01-28