Biography

Birth date: 29 November 1924
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Grafton
Death date: 23 March 1964
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Bellingen
Final rank: Private
Service number: NX700426 - Second World War, 1939-1945
N454409 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit: 8 Battalion

Having left school at 13 to work on the family farm near Macksville, New South Wales, Frank Partridge was called up for full-time army duty when he turned 18. He was posted to the 8th Battalion, a militia unit. The battalion moved to Lae, New Guinea, in May 1944, and from June 1945 operated in northern Bougainville.

On 24 July 1945 Partridge's unit came under heavy Japanese machine-gun, grenade, and rifle fire and he was badly wounded. Ignoring his injuries, he snatched up a Bren gun from alongside a dead gunner and challenged the enemy to come out and fight. He next rushed the nearest enemy bunker while armed with grenades and his knife, and killed the occupants. Finally, he attacked a second bunker until loss of blood stopped him. He 'inspired his comrades to heroic action', and was awarded the Victoria Cross.

After the war Partridge went to London as a member of the Australian Victory Contingent, then settled back onto the family farm, living quietly with his father. In the evenings, to overcome his lack of education, he avidly read the Encyclopaedia Britannica by lamplight.

In 1962 Partridge first appeared on Bob Dyer s television quiz show, Pick-a-box. He was an outstanding success and won many prizes, including electrical goods that were useless for his frugal lifestyle. Despite his natural modesty, and his slow bush speech, he soon became a national celebrity. Brave, intelligent, and with a retentive memory, Partridge also had strong political views. In 1963 he unsuccessfully sought Country Party pre-selection for the House of Representatives. He also married that year.

Partridge s public successes did not bring happiness and his life lost the simplicity that he had previously known. His personal situation was overtaken by tragedy when, on 23 March 1964, he was killed in a motorcar accident.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 8 Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

044647

TOBRUK, LIBYA, 1953. GROUP PORTRAIT OF FIVE VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS, MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND CORONATION CONTINGENT IN FRONT OF CORPORAL JACK EDMONDSON'S GRAVE IN THE TOBRUK WAR CEMETERY. THEY ARE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PRIVATE (PTE) FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE, PTE E. KENNA, SERGEANT (SGT)...

044647

044652

Three members of the Australian Army who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Pacific Theatre and who were in Australia's Victory Contingent to Britain after the war. From the left they are Privates Frank John Partridge, Richard Kelliher and Sergeant Reginald Rattey.

044652

044653

Three members of the Australian Army who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Pacific Theatre. From the left they are Sergeant Reginald Rattey, Privates Frank John Partridge and Richard Kelliher. (Donor R. Rattey)

044653

030424

Tobruk, Libya. 25 April 1953. Group portrait of five Victoria Cross winners, members of the Australian and New Zealand Coronation Contingent, in the Tobruk War Cemetery, during their brief stay while on their way to England to attend the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are, left...

030424

043599

FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE, VC WHO WON HIS VICTORIA CROSS AT BOUGAINVILLE, 1945-07-24.

043599

126757

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1946-04-18. OLD FRIENDS MEET AGAIN. LEFT TO RIGHT: PRIVATE F. J. PARTRIDGE VC (NSW); MR MICK DALEY (VIC); AND PRIVATE MEBERGANG (VIC) WHO WERE TOGETHER WITH THE 8TH BATTALION AT BOUGAINVILLE. PRIVATE FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE AND PTE MEBERGANG WERE MEMBERS OF THE CONTINGENT THAT WERE...

126757

126836

WATSONIA, VIC. 1946-04-18. THE THREE VC'S WHO WILL MARCH IN THE LONDON VICTORY MARCH, BEFORE EMBARKING ON HMAS SHROPSHIRE EN ROUTE TO ENGLAND. LEFT TO RIGHT: N454409 FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE; NX208102 SERGEANT R. R. RATTEY, QX500601 PRIVATE R. KELLIHER.

126836

130174

ATLANTIC OCEAN. 1946-06. MAJOR DEASEY SEWING ON A VICTORY CONTINGENT COLOUR PATCH FOR PRIVATE FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE VC, ON BOARD HMAS SHROPSHIRE, EN ROUTE TO LONDON.

130174

131136

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1946-08-22. PRIVATE FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE VC, A MEMBER OF THE AUSTRALIAN VICTORY CONTINGENT, IS GREETED BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AFTER DISEMBARKING FROM HMAS SHROPSHIRE. LEFT TO RIGHT: MR M. DALY; MRS MCGREGOR AND DAUGHTER; PRIVATE PARTRIDGE AND MRS PICOT. (THESE FOLK ARE ALL RELATIVES...

131136

131225

SYDNEY, NSW. 1946-08-28. PRIVATE FRANK JOHN PARTRIDGE VC.

131225

131225A

N454409 Private Frank John Partridge VC, No. 8 Battalion, AMF. Private Partridge was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery at Bougainville, Solomon Islands on 1945-07-24.

131225A

P00099.001

PROBABLY CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, C. 1946-06. THREE VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS, PART OF HEADQUARTERS LONDON VICTORY MARCH CONTINGENT WHO LEFT SYDNEY ON HMAS SHROPSHIRE ON 1946-04-11 FOR LONDON. LEFT TO RIGHT WITH THE RANK THEY HELD AT THE TIME THEY WON THEIR AWARDS: PRIVATE RICHARD H. KELLIHER 2/25TH...

P00099.001

P08489.001

Outdoor portrait of King George VI pausing to talk to Australian Victoria Cross winners, from left: NX700426 Frank Partridge VC; QX500601 Private Richard Kelliher VC and NX700427 Sergeant Reg Rattey VC. The men had travelled to England as members of the Australian Victory Contingent of 250 to...

P08489.001

P10743.001

Informal portrait of Frank John Partridge VC at a commemorative service at an unknown war memorial. He is wearing his Victoria Cross above the bar of his other service medals. Born in Grafton, NSW, Partridge left school at 13 to work on the family farm near Macksville, NSW. While serving with the...

P10743.001

P10743.002

Informal portrait of Frank John Partridge VC (right), his wife Barbara and television quiz show host Bob Dyer, standing in front of a motor boat by the water. Born in Grafton, NSW, Partridge left school at 13 to work on the family farm near Macksville, NSW. While serving with the Volunteer Defence...

P10743.002

Film

Finchaven Hero {sic} [Civic reception for Frank Partridge VC ]

Coverage of the Civic reception for Frank John Partridge VC in High Street Bowraville where the Nambucca Shire Council Chambers was situated. Opens with title 'Finchaven hero'. A high angle long shot looking down on the motorcade. A brass band leads the motorcade followed by Frank Partridge VC...

F04943

Private Record

Timeline

Date of birth 1924-11-29
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1942-12-21 8th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 1945-07-24 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Bonis Peninsular, Bougainville whilst serving with 8 Battalion, 23 Brigade, II Australian Corps as a Private
Date of death 1964-03-23