Friday, April 19, 2024



Private Arthur Stanley Gurney VC (1908 - 1942, 33yo)


The stories behind the names on the signs at the rest stops on the Remembrance Driveway, which goes from Sydney to Canberra.

The highway commemorates persons awarded the Victoria Cross by naming rest stops after them.


The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War.

The metal used to make every Victoria Cross medal has been made from cannons captured by the British at the siege of Sevastopol.

Stan Gurney:

Arthur, better known as 'Stan', was born at Day Dawn in the Murchison area, Western Australia, on 15 December 1908. Now a ghost town, Day Dawn was an important gold-mining community during Stan's childhood but was in decline by the 1930s.

Stan's father, George, was a miner. Both he and his wife, Jane, were from South Australia but they married at Norseman, a gold-mining town 700 km east of Perth. Stan had 3 sisters and an older brother.

Stan grew up with a strong work ethic, helping both his parents after school and on weekends. He loved his sport and played cricket and tennis and was also a competitive road cyclist. In 1929, Stan Gurney won a 50-mile cycling race and remained interested in the sport for the rest of his life.

The Gurney family moved to Perth when Stan was 15. He finished his education at Stott's Business College and worked for a short while with a local real estate agent. He also worked with the City of Perth Electricity and Gas Department.

Stan joined the 2nd Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a private on 6 December 1940. He left Fremantle for the Middle East on 5 July 1941, where he was posted to D Company, 2/48th Infantry Battalion.

Stan served at Tobruk, Palestine and Syria. Late in June 1942, his battalion rushed to Egypt to head off Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s advance. By 22 July, D Company had lost all its officers in fierce fighting at Tel el Eisa and casualty numbers continued to rise.

Action for which he received the VC:

Gurney's VC citation appeared in the London Gazette of 8 September 1942, reading:
No.WX.9858 Private Arthur Stanley Gurney, Australian Military Forces. For gallant and unselfish bravery in silencing enemy machine-gun posts by bayonet assault at Tell El Eisa on 22 July 1942, thus allowing his Company to continue the advance.

During an attack on strong German positions in the early morning of 22 July 1942, the Company to which Private Gurney belonged was held up by intense machine-gun fire from posts less than 100 yards ahead, heavy casualties being inflicted on our troops, all the officers being killed or wounded.

Grasping the seriousness of the situation and without hesitation, Private Gurney charged the nearest enemy machine-gun post, bayoneted three men and silenced the post. He then continued on to a second post, bayoneted two men and sent out a third as a prisoner. At his stage a stick grenade was thrown at Private Gurney which knocked him to the ground. He rose again, picked up his rifle and charged a third post using the bayonet with great vigour. He then disappeared from view, and later his body was found in an enemy post.

By this single-handed act of gallantry in the face of a determined enemy, Private Gurney enabled his Company to press forward to its objective, inflicting heavy losses upon the enemy. The successful outcome of this engagement was almost entirely due to Private Gurney's heroism at the moment when it was needed.

Location of rest stop:

Gurney VC Rest Area
The Vineyards Road, Lake George NSW 2581
(off the Federal Highway)



The Australian War Memorial holds Arthur Stanley Gurney's medals in its collection

The Commander-In-Chief of the Allied Land Forces in the S W Pacific, General Sir Thomas Blamey, meets relatives of Stan Gurney – Mr George Gurney, father, and Mrs R Clued, sister.

The desert grave of Private Arthur Stanley Gurney.

Gurney's grave at El Alamein


Stan Gurney V.C. Memorial Bike Race:

The annual Stan Gurney VC Memorial Race is held on Anzac Day.

The criterium style road race is named after the late war veteran and former club member Arthur Stanley Gurney, has been running for more than 70 years.

It was first held in Collie before relocating to the Perth Hills and later Midland.

Stan Gurney Ward:

Stan Gurney is remembered by the Stan Gurney ward at the former Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood.

Hollywood Private Hospital (Hollywood) is an acute care hospital located in Nedlands, Western Australia. Hollywood is Western Australia's largest private hospital, with more than 900 licensed beds. Hollywood employs over 2,000 people and has 75,000 patient admissions each year.

All wards and some procedural units have been named after servicemen who were awarded the Victoria Cross and George Cross Medals of Honour and who either resided at the time of enlistment, died or were buried in WA.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.