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Sergeant John Dwyer VC

Sergeant John Dwyer VC
Sergeant John Dwyer VC

Date of birth: 9 March 1890
Place of birth: Port Cygnet, TAS
Date of death: 17 January 1962
Place of death: Bruny Island, TAS
Unit: 4th Machine Gun Company, 4th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Action: 26 September 1917
Place of Action: Zonnebeke, Belgium

John Dwyer was born at Lovett Tasmania on 9 March 1890 but spent most of his childhood on Bruny Island. After finishing school Dwyer worked as a labourer in Queenstown from where he enlisted on 4 February 1915.

Dwyer was posted to the 15th Battalion joining it in August 1915 at Gallipoli. Next year on 26 September 1917, during the battle of Polygon Wood (Zonnebeke, Belgium), Dwyer's Vickers machine-gun team came under fire until he rushed his gun forward, and at point-blank range put the enemy gun out of action. He then took both weapons and helped repulse a German counter-attack. Later, after his Vickers was blown up by shellfire, he led his team back through the enemy barrage to secure another and then bring it into action. At all times, he showed "contempt of danger, cheerfulness and courage". These actioned would see him earn the Victoria Cross.

In April 1918 Dwyer was appointed temporary Regimental Sergeant, in May was commissioned second lieutenant and three months later was promoted to lieutenant.

Back in Tasmania, he married and became active in local affairs and politics. He established a sawmilling business at New Norfolk. In May 1931 he was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly as an ALP member for the seat of Franklin, which he held until his death in 1962. He held such portfolios as Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Premier.