Birth date: 27 November 1896
Birth place: Australia: South Australia, Crystal Brook
Death date: 09 April 1937
Death place: United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Final rank: Corporal
Service number: 56133 - First World War, 1914-1918
133003 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 45th Bn RF (Aty Dtls)

Arthur Sullivan, born at Prospect, Adelaide, was a bank officer when he enlisted in April 1918. Too late for active service in France, and determined to see action, he volunteered for the British North Russia Relief Force.

On 10 August 1919, in action against the Bolsheviks, Sullivan's unit was cut off. While fighting their way out, an officer and three men fell into a deep swamp. Without hesitation and under heavy fire, Sullivan jumped in and rescued all four. His citation described the action as "a splendid example of heroism, as all ranks were on the point of exhaustion and the enemy less than 100 yards distant".

Known as "the shy VC", Sullivan died in 1937 as a result of a fall he sustained in London while a member of the Australian contingent attending the coronation of King George VI. A plaque has been placed on the railing at Wellington Barracks, near the site of his fatal accident.

Sullivan received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First World War and the King George VI Coronation Medal.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 23 July 1918
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 45th Bn RF (Aty Dtls)
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items


Date of birth 1896-11-27
Enlisted 1918-04-27 enlisted AIF Service no. 56133, Private
Date of embarkation 1918-07-23
Military unit 1919-06 Enlisted in British Army. 45th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers
Discharged 1919-06-12 discharged from AIF
Awarded Victoria Cross 1919-08-10 For action at Dvins River, south of Archangel, north Russia whilst serving with 45 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, Sadlier Jackson's Brigade as a Corporal
Date of death 1937-04-09