Biography

Birth date: 10 February 1896
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Annandale
Death date: 06 July 1967
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Matraville
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: 607 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 18 Battalion
  • 18th Australian Infantry Battalion

Joe Maxwell (1896-1967) was an apprentice boilermaker before enlisting in Sydney in February 1915. He served on Gallipoli and the Western Front. Rough, tough, and exceptionally brave, he was commissioned in late 1917. In little more than a year he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the Military Cross and Bar, and the Victoria Cross.

On 3 October 1918, Maxwell took over when his company commander was wounded and captured a machine-gun. He then attacked another post. Later he was briefly taken prisoner. During a barrage, he managed to pull out a concealed revolver, shoot two of the enemy, and escape.

Although aged just 22, Maxwell became the second most highly decorated Australian. He later worked in a variety of jobs. His book, Hell's bells and mademoiselles (published 1932), became a war classic. Using an alias, he enlisted in the Second World War but was discovered and discharged.

Maxwell was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Military Cross and Bar, DCM, service medals for the First World War, and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 25 May 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Recommended for: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Bar to Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Bar to Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Bar to Military Cross
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • Unit: 18th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1896-02-10
Date of embarkation 1915-05-25
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-09-25
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-09-27
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-10-25
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-02
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-03-08
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-03-10
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-08-14
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-08-23
Date of honour or award 1918-10-03 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Beaurevoir line, near Estrees, France whilst serving with 18 Battalion, 5 Brigade, 2 Division as a Lieutenant.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-10-10
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-10-14
Date of death 1967-07-06