Biography

Birth date: 04 June 1895
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Drysdale
Death date: 27 March 1917
Death place: France
Final rank: Captain
Service number: 1023 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion

Percy Cherry was born at Drysdale, Victoria. He spent his youth in Tasmania, where he served in the militia before enlisting in the AIF in March 1915. He was sent to Gallipoli, where he was wounded and shortly afterwards commissioned. In 1916 he was promoted to command an infantry company.

On 26 March 1917 Cherry's battalion, 26th Australian Infantry Battalion, was ordered to capture the village of Lagnicourt, and his company had the task of sweeping into the village. There was strong enemy opposition, and soon all of the officers in the company became casualties. Cherry organised machine-gun and bombing parties, sent back frequent reports of progress, and, when wounded later in the action, refused to leave his post. Late in the afternoon, however, a single shell killed him instantly.

Cherry never learnt of the honours bestowed upon him: a Military Cross won earlier and the Victoria Cross for Lagnicourt were both announced after his death. He is buried in the Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy, France.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Captain
  • Date of Death: 27 March 1917
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Quartermaster Sergeant
  • Date of embarkation: 29 June 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane
  • Rank: Captain
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Military Cross
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Digitised Collection

Timeline

Date of birth 1895-06-04
Other 1902 Moved to Tasmania.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-03-05 26 Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1915-06-29
Date promoted 1915-09 Appointed Company Sergeant Major
Date wounded 1915-12-01
Date promoted 1915-12-09 Appointed Lieutenant.
Other units 1916-03 7 Machine Gun Company.
Date wounded 1916-08-05 Wounded at Pozieres, France when he and a German officer were sniping at each other from shell holes. They both fired together and both were wounded. Lieutenant (Lt) Cherry went to the German who gave him a bundle of letter and asked that he have them censored and posted for him, Lt Cherry agreed and the German died.
Date of honour or award 1916-08-26 Awarded Military Cross for his action at Walencourt, the award was announced on the day he was killed.
Date wounded 1916-08-26 Wounded at Walencourt.
Other units 1916-12-01 Returned to 26 Battalion.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917
Date promoted 1917-02-14 Appointed Captain.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-11
Date of honour or award 1917-03-26 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Lagnicourt, France whilst serving with 26 Battalion, 7 Brigade, 2 Division as a Captain
Date of death 1917-03-27