Biography

Birth date: 17 May 1890
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Tatura
Death date: 01 September 1918
Death place: France: Picardie, Somme, Mont St Quentin
Final rank: Private
Service number: 6939 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion

Robert Mactier (1890-1918) was born at Tatura, Victoria, and worked on his parents' property. Enlisting in March 1917, he joined his battalion on the Western Front in late 1917. Next year he fought in the battle of Hamel and in the August offensive. In his last letter home he wrote: "if our side only keep going I think the war [will] be over by next spring".

Mactier won the only Victoria Cross for his battalion, but made the ultimate sacrifice. Moving into position for the assault on Mont St Quentin, the 23rd was stopped by enemy machine-gun fire. As a company runner, Mactier was sent to investigate. Armed with a revolver and bombs, he attacked, throwing a bomb, climbing through the wire, and tossing the machine-gun out of the trench. When his comrades came forward, they found the crew dead and saw Mactier attacking the next post. He then charged a third post, killing the occupants. Finding yet another obstacle, he ran into the open for his fourth attack. He was killed by fire from his flank.

Mactier was awarded the Victoria Cross and two service medals for the First World War.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 01 September 1918
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 11 May 1917
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Digitised Collection

Timeline

Date of birth 1890-05-17
Date of embarkation 1917-05-11
Date of death 1918-09-01
Date of honour or award 1918-09-01 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Mont St Quentin, north of Peronne, France whilst serving with 23 Battalion, 6 Brigade, 2 Division as a Private
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-13