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.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Captain
  • Date of Death: 27 March 1917
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Quartermaster Sergeant
  • Date of embarkation: 29 June 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Captain
  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Cross

  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Cross

  • Unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

P04232.001

Original grave at Lagnicourt, France, of Captain (Capt) Percy Herbert Cherry VC MC, Commander of C Company, 26th Battalion. Capt Cherry was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery, determination and leadership when in command of a company detailed to storm and clear a...

P04232.001

P02939.011

Studio portrait of Captain (Capt) Percy Herbert Cherry VC MC, 26th Battalion, in civilian clothes. Capt Cherry was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery, determination and leadership when in command of a company detailed to storm and clear a village" on 26 March 1917...

P02939.011

P02939.012

Studio portrait of Captain (Capt) Percy Herbert Cherry VC MC, 26th Battalion. Capt Cherry was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery, determination and leadership when in command of a company detailed to storm and clear a village" on 26 March 1917 at Lagnicourt,...

P02939.012

H06507

PORTRAIT OF PERCY H. CHERRY, 26TH BATTALION, KILLED IN ACTION 1917-03-26.

H06507

P03137.007

Two Australian soldiers, probably of the 1st Machine Gun Battalion, stand in the arched doorway at the site where Captain P H Cherry won his Victoria Cross. The sign painted on the brick wall of the building reads Vaulx-Vraucourt Noreuil.

P03137.007

Heraldry

Officers service dress tunic : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Private purchase officers khaki service dress tunic. The tunic has pleated breast pockets with triple pointed flaps and a pair of expanding hip pockets with straight flaps. Four oxidised brass 'AUSTRALIA MILITARY FORCE' (AMF) buttons fasten the front of the tunic, with four smaller AMF buttons on...

REL42335

1914-15 Star : 2nd Lieutenant P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

1914-15 Star. Impressed on reverse with recipient's details.

RELAWM16242.001

Victoria Cross : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse with recipient's details.

RELAWM16240

Blanket : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Light brown woollen blanket with cotton drill edging along the top and bottom. The blanket is stitched along both sides.

REL42336

Gas cape ground sheet : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Khaki rubberised cotton gas cape, with stand and fall collar, brown celluloid buttons and brass rivetted holes along four sides. In the edging of the rivets is stamped 'AUSTRALIA OFFICER'S' and some indistinguishable markings. The cape could also be used as a ground sheet or a rain shelter.

REL42339

Bed roll : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Brown rectangular canvas bed roll. Stenciled on outside in faded white paint is 'LIEUT. P H CHERRY 7 COY M G CORPS AIF'. Under the writing are two leather straps, both are attached to the roll by two brass rivets. In black writing below the straps is 'D.C. SEXTON 9TH RENFORCEMENTS'. On the outside...

REL42337

Pair of officers pips : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Pair of white metal officers pips. On the reverse of each are two lugs and a brass split pin.

REL42755

Rising sun collar badge : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Oxidised brass rising sun collar badge. There are two lugs on the reverse.

REL42756

Military Cross : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Military Cross. Engraved reverse with recipient's details.

RELAWM16241

British War Medal 1914-20 : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

British War Medal 1914-20. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM16242.002

Victory Medal : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Victory Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

RELAWM16242.003

Private Record

Technology

German signal pistol : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

German signal pistol with round barrel and an octagonal breech with various proof stamps, 242 and 9.16 on the right. On the left of the frame is a 'M' in a circle over the serial number. The plain, wooden two piece grip is held together with a single screw through the centre. A lanyard ring is...

RELAWM16244

Collapsible trench periscope : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

Collapsible trench periscope. The body is made from a series of six telescopic metal rings which can be extended for use, or collapsed for storage. At the top of the periscope is a rectangular mirror on a downward facing angle, and a smaller mirror at the bottom on an upward facing angle. Impressed...

REL42343

German M1898/05 bayonet and scabbard : Captain P H Cherry, 26 Battalion, AIF

German M1898/05 bayonet and scabbard. The bayonet features a hooked quillon. The blade is a single edged spear point design. Wood grips on the handle are fixed by two screws and have diagonal grooves on either side. The scabbard is of all metal construction and has a belt frog stud on one side....

REL42342

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