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Sergeant Lewis McGee VC

Sergeant Lewis McGee VC
Sergeant Lewis McGee VC

Date of birth: 13 May 1888
Place of birth: Ross, TAS
Date of death: 12 October 1917
Place of death: Passchendaele, Belgium
Unit: 40th Battalion, 10th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Action: 4 October 1917
Place of Action: Leper, Belgium

Lewis McGee was born in Campbell Town, Tasmania on 13 May 1888, the youngest of 11 children.

Prior to the War, McGee was married with an infant daughter and working as an engine driver for the Tasmanian Department of Railways.

McGee enlisted on 1 March 1916 at the age of 27. He was appointed to the 40th Battalion which he joined for training in Claremont on 1 May 1916. It was here that McGee was appointed lance Corporal on 23 May 1916. Following this he attended additional training in Britain before heading to France in late November.

On 4 December 1916 he was promoted to corporal whilst in France and then became a sergeant on 12 January 1917.

On 4 October 1917, while McGee’s battalion was involved in fighting in Belgium, McGee undertook the following feat, earning him the Victoria Cross.

During an action MeGee’s platoon was suffering severely and his company’s advance was halted by machine-gun fire from a pillbox. McGee rushed the post armed only with a revolver, shooting some of the crew and capturing the rest, and enabling the advance to proceed. He reorganised the remnants of his platoon and lead them through the rest of the advance.

McGee was acting Company Sergeant Major, when he was killed in action during the second Battle of Passchendaele on the morning on 12 October 1917. He was 29 years old and unlikely that he ever knew he was awarded the Victoria Cross.