Lieutenant Tubb's War: A story of the Victoria Cross
Bravery under fire
Only 98 Australians have ever been honoured with Australia’s highest honour, the Victoria Cross. This military medal recognises “conscipicious” bravery or self-sacrifice.
A story of the Victoria Cross: Lieutenant Tubb’s war
Lieutenant Frederick Tubb is a young man, 33 years old in the early hours of 9 August 1915.
He and seven other Australians have taken over a trench at a place called Lone Pine on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.
Turkish soldiers are trying to reclaim the trench from the Australians. The Australians are in Gallipoli (known also as The Dardenelles), as part of an allied force made up of British and Commonwealth soldiers who are trying to claim the Turkish Peninsula. The narrow peninsula was considered of particular strategic importance by World War 1 battle commanders.
A muddy trench on the top of this Gallipoli ridge must seem like a long way from home in Australia. A storm of bombs are lobbed over the trench at them. The Australians engage in in a gruesome game of catch. Catching bombs and throwing them back out of the trench. Corporal Frederick Wright dies when he clutches at a bomb which explodes in his face. Corporal Harry Webb keeps grabbing at the bombs until both his hands are blown off, fatally wounding him.
Eventually, the Turkish soldiers blow up the sandbag barricade protecting the Australians. Lieutenant Tubb is thrown back with wounds to his head and arm. He and two others, Corporal William Dunstan and Corporal Burton are the only ones left alive in the trench.
Tubb attempts to defend the trench while Corporals Dunstan and Burton rebuild the barricade. Twice more the barricade is blown up and again, against the odds, the Australians stubbornly rebuild it. Eventually the odds defeat the Australians. A bomb explodes which kills Corporal Burton and blinds Corporal Dunstan. He will be blind for nearly a year, before regaining his site. Finally, reinforecements arrive and the trench is successfully held. After the battle Tubb is evacuated from Gallipoli in order to recover from his wounds.
All three men, Tubb, Dunstan and Burton were later awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions on that long ago day. Their story and the battle of Lone Pine, and the Gallipoli campaign is a well known part of Australian wartime history. Astoundingly, of the 98 Australians ever awarded the Victoria Cross, seven Australians received the award for their actions at Lone Pine.
More details about this particular battle can be found at: http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/vc/burton-dunstan-tubb.html
Victoria Cross origins
The Victoria Cross for Australia medal was first established in 1991 to replace the original Victoria Cross medal which was awarded to Australians under the umbrella of the British honours system.
The original Victoria Cross was established in the late nineteenth century as a decoration for bravery for Britain and the Commonwealth countries.
Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra displays a Hall of Valour, honouring all the Australians who have received the Victoria Cross. It includes early Victoria Cross medallists, such as those from the Gallipoli campaign. It also profiles modern day Victoria Cross recipients, such as Trooper Mark Donaldson who received a Victoria Cross for his actions in Afghanistan during 2008.
The Hall of Valour is one of the many interesting and moving displays at the memorial built in Australia’s national capital, Canberra.
The memorial was built to commemorate Australian war dead. It also acts as a museum for Australia’s war time history.
The memorial provides a superb history for visitors, documenting the experiences and effects of war on the Australian people. There are lifelike dioramas of battle scenes from throughout Australia’s history. There is also a host of donated wartime memorabilia.
The war memorial also includes a commemorative Roll of Honour, listing the names of Australia’s war dead and the Tomb of an Unkown Australian Soldier.
I was inspired to write this hub page after visiting the memorial. I was particularly interested in the Hall of Valour. It provided an insight into the stories of many ordinary people who had been recognised for extraordinary acts. Many of these men were awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. It was also insightful to see a boat, riddled with what I imagine are bullet holes, used by Australian soldiers in the Gallipoli landings. It allowed you to visualise soldiers huddling inside the boat, trying to seek shelter from enemy fire.
I do not pretend to be any sort of expert on military history. I have used a number of sources in writing this hub page. I recommend them to anyone interested in finding out more information about this topic.
An official Australian government website about the Gallipoli landings was particularly useful. It includes comprehensive information about the Gallipoli landings, and about bravery awards earned during the Gallipoli Campaign. This is:
The Australian war memorial site is also very interesting and useful. It provides information about Victoria Cross winners, including their citations.
The memorial website also provides a website to search for names on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour. The Roll of Honour records the names of Australia’s war dead.