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Captain Percy Cherry V.C.Print Page Print this page

24-February-2014
24-February-2014

Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

A carved wooden statue and plaque commemorates Percy Herbert Cherry who was awarded the Military Cross and Victoria Cross in World War One.

On 15 March 1915 Cherry enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was posted to the 26th Battalion; he was considered too young for an A.I.F. commission and he sailed for Egypt in June as a quartermaster sergeant. In August he was made a company sergeant major and next month reached Gallipoli where he served at Taylor's Hollow and Russell's Top. He was wounded on 1 December and evacuated; a week later he was promoted second lieutenant.

He remained in Egypt until March 1916 when, after attending a machine-gun school, he was transferred to the 7th Machine-Gun Company and sent to France. He commanded the company's 1st Battery at Fleurbaix, Messines and on the Somme until 5 August when he was wounded in a duel with a German officer at Pozières. After sniping at each other from their shell-holes both officers fired together and both were wounded, the German mortally. When Cherry went to him he was given a package of letters which he promised to post; his opponent's dying words were 'And so it ends'. Cherry was promoted lieutenant on 25 August and resumed duty on the Somme in November; next month he was made a temporary captain and transferred back to the 26th Battalion as a company commander.

At Warlencourt on 1-2 March he took part in an attack on Malt Trench. When he and his men found a small gap in the enemy wire, he rushed two machine-gun posts, capturing one single-handed and turning the gun on the fleeing Germans before being wounded himself. He was to receive the Military Cross for this gallant episode, though the award was not announced until the day of his death and he never knew of it.

On 26 March 1917 his battalion was ordered to storm the village of Lagnicourt. Cherry's company encountered fierce opposition and after all the other officers had been killed or wounded, he 'carried on with care and determination … and cleared the village of the enemy'. The Germans counter-attacked and the battle raged all day long. Though wounded in the leg, Cherry remained at his post and in the late afternoon was killed by a shell; he was buried in Quéant Road cemetery, Buissy. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, an honour for which his battalion commander had recommended him for 'bravery beyond description'. 

Location

Address:Channel Highway, Cradoc Park, Cradoc, 7109
State:TAS
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -43.10658
Long: 147.033679
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Military

Dedication

Front Inscription

Captain Percy Herbert Cherry - V.C.  M.C. 

26th Australian Infantry Battalion - A.I.F.
Born 4th June 1895 Drysdale, Victoria

Lived in Cradoc Tasmania,
Enlisted in Franklin 2nd March 1915

Killed in action, Lagnicourt France 23rd March 1917

Recommended for Distinguished Service Order
Awarded Military Cross and Victoria Cross
2nd March - 26th March 1917.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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