Corporal Lawrence Weathers VC (Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial - HO 6789)

WW1 soldier's Victoria Cross donated to Australian War Memorial

Posted on on 30 November 2016
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A Victoria Cross awarded to a New Zealand-born soldier during the First World War has gone on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers was decorated for his actions in France on 2 September 1918 while serving with the 43rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

He was instrumental in the storming of a strongly-defended German trench and the capture of 180 prisoners and three machine-guns.

Weathers died in action just weeks later, unaware of his recommendation for the highest British and Commonwealth gallantry medal.

Weathers’ VC was one of eight awarded to Australian soldiers during attacks at Péronne and nearby Mont St Quentin between 31 August and 2 September.

The operations were part of the Allied counter-offensives that broke the deadlock on the Western Front after four years of fighting.

Corporal Weathers' citation commends his 'conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty':

"Regardless of personal danger, he mounted the enemy parapet and bombed the trench, and, with the support of his comrades, captured 180 prisoners and three machine-guns. His valour and determination resulted in the successful capture of the final objective and saved the lives of many of his comrades."

Lawrence Weathers was mortally wounded by a shell burst on 29 September, at the start of an attack towards the German defences of the Beaurevoir Line, his unit’s last action of the war. 

His VC, donated anonymously to the Australian War Memorial, was put on permanent display from 21 October 2016.

Born in New Zealand, Weathers moved to Australia as a boy with his family. He joined the AIF in February 1916, was severely wounded at the Battle of Messines the following year, and gassed in May 1918.

Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Memorial, said it was honoured to receive his Victoria Cross for its collection: "There is one particular legacy of this institution, conceived and driven by our founder Charles Bean, and that is the belief that a life of value is one ultimately spent in the service of other human beings, irrespective of the cost to oneself.

"Weathers paid the ultimate sacrifice and for that we owe an immense debt. We do what we can to repay this debt by honouring his story in the Hall of Valour, as we do for so many others, every day."

Source: The Australian War Memorial

Images courtesy of AWM - H06789

Posted by: CN Editorial Team