Biography

Birth date: 21 May 1893
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Collingwood
Death date: 12 January 1970
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Heidelberg
Final rank: Second Lieutenant
Service number: 1914 - First World War, 1914-1918
1946 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion

William "Rusty" Ruthven was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, and was a mechanic in the timber industry before enlisting in April 1915. After serving on Gallipoli he went to France, where he was wounded in April 1916.

During an attack near Ville-sur-Ancre on 19 May 1918, Ruthven performed outstanding acts of bravery. He took command of a company after the officer commanding was wounded, and personally assaulted enemy strongpoints. Throughout the successful action, he led by example, inspiring and encouraging his men. During the mopping-up and consolidation, he captured 32 Germans.

Ruthven was commissioned in July 1918 and discharged in December. He became a soldier-settler for a while, but returned to Collingwood and became a local councillor. During the Second World War he served in garrison battalions, reaching the rank of major. From 1945 to 1961 he was a member of the Victorian parliament.

Ruthven received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First and Second World Wars and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 26 August 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1893-05-21
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-04-19 Enlisted in the 22nd Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1915-08-26
Date of honour or award 1918-05-19 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Villesurancre, France whilst serving with 22 Battalion, 6 Brigade, 2 Division as a Sergeant
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-19
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-24
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-27
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-30
Date returned to Australia 1918-08-24
Date of death 1970-01-12