Six Australians presented with VC medals at Buckingham Palace

On 21 July 1917, in the forecourt outside Buckingham Palace, King George V presented six Australian Victoria Cross recipients with their medals. The Australians were Captain James Newland (12th Battalion), Sergeant John Whittle (12th Battalion), Corporal George Howell (1st Battalion), Private Jorgen Jensen (50th Battalion), Private Bede Kenny (2nd Battalion) and Private Martin O’Meara (16th Battalion).

Martin O’Meara VC at Buckingham Palace.

The King also presented a number of  Victoria Crosses to non-Australian recipients.

The presentation ceremony started at 11.00am and lasted nearly one and a half hours, with the Times newspaper reporting that:

Each man’s name was called singly, and Colonel Clive Wigram read a summary of the record of services for which the V.C. was awarded. Perfect silence was maintained until the King had actually pinned on each decoration, shaken hands with the recipient, and said a few congratulatory words.

A couple of years ago , whilst researching my biography of Martin O’Meara VC, I stumbled across some old footage of him getting his VC from the King. Click here to have a look. O’Meara appears at about the 21 second mark.






Biography of Martin O’Meara VC now on sale at discounted price

We’re getting close to the 100th anniversary of Martin O’Meara VC’s presentation with his Victoria Cross medal by King George V at Buckingham Palace in London. O’Meara was presented with his medal on 21 July 1917.

He was Australian’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War, and received the award for bravery at Pozieres in August 1916. Born in Lorrha, County Tipperary, O’Meara travelled to Australia before the First World War. He enlisted at Collie, Western Australia, in 1915, and joined the 16th Infantry Battalion after training at Blackboy Hill near Perth.

O’Meara returned to Western Australia in November 1918 but suffered a serious mental breakdown shortly after his arrival. He spent the rest of his life in mental hospitals in Perth and died in December 1935. He is buried at Perth’s Karrakatta Cemetery,

To commemorate this anniversary I’ve taken 20% off the price of The most fearless and gallant soldier I have ever seen, my biography of Martin O’Meara VC.

Click here to purchase the book. 

It will be available at the discounted price until 21 July 2017.