20 November 2014

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Sergeant John Whittle,
12th Bn, Australian Imperial Force

  • Victoria Cross
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )
  • Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 )
    • 4 clasps
    • "Cape Colony" - "Orange Free State"
    • "South Africa 1901" - "South Africa 1902"
  • 1914 - 15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George V Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1935 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Sergeant John Whittle, 12th Bn, Australian Imperial Force, have been sold at auction on Thursday, 20th November 2014, by Noble Numismatics of Sydney. The estimated sale price was AUS$550,000 ( £302,000 ).

The John Whittle VC group realised a sale hammer price of AUS$500,000 ( £274,241 ). The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed but has now donated the VC group to the Australian War Memorial.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 8 June 1917 ], Near Boursies, France, 9 & 15 April 1917, Sergeant John Woods Whittle, DCM, 12th Bn, Australian Imperial Force.

For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on two occasions ( near Boursies, France ).

When in command of a platoon the enemy, under cover of an intense artillery barrage, attacked the small trench he was holding. Owing to weight of numbers the enemy succeeded in entering the trench, and it was owing to Sjt. Whittle personally collecting all available men and charging the enemy that the position was regained.

On a second occasion when the enemy broke through the left of our line Sjt. Whittle’s own splendid example was the means of keeping the men well in hand. His platoon were suffering heavy casualties and the enemy endeavoured to bring up a machine gun to enfilade the position.

Grasping the situation he rushed alone across the fire-swept ground and attacked the hostile gun crew with bombs before the gun could be got into action. He succeeded in killing the whole crew and in bringing back the machine gun to our position.

John Whittle was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 21st July 1917.

For the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )

[ London Gazette, 26 April 1917 ], ( no citation ), Le Barque, France, 27 February 1917, Sergeant John Woods Whittle, 12th Bn, Australian Imperial Force.

Note: Early in 1917 Sergeant Whittle was involved in the fighting during the German withdrawl to the Hindenberg Line. At dawn on the 27th February 1917 Whittle's battalion attacked the outpost villages of Le Barque and Ligny-Thilloy. On the left flank with Captain J. Newland's 'A' Company, Sergeant Whittle bombed an enemy machine-gun post forcing the Germans to flee.

John Whittle enlisted into the 4th Tasmanian ( 2nd Imperial Bushmen ) Contingent and embarked for South Africa on 27th March 1901 to take part in the 2nd Boer War. He returned to Australia on the 25th June 1902 and shortly after enlisted into the Royal Navy, serving as a stoker for five years on various ships on the Australian Station.

After naval service Whittle served in the Army Service Corps, the 31st Battery and the Tasmanian Rifle Regiment before enlisting into the AIF, joining the 12th Battalion on the 6th August 1915.

Sergeant Whittle died on the 2nd March 1946, age 63, at his home in Glebe, and was buried at the Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.


Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 22 January 2015