Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Sergeant Percy Statton, V.C. MM.

Sergeant Percy Clyde Statton MM, 40th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Proyart, France.

Percy Statton was born in Tasmania, and enlisted in February 1916. During his battalion's first major action, at Messines in June 1917, he received the Military Medal. In October he was wounded, and in June 1918 he was gassed.

On 12 August 1918 Statton's battalion advanced until stopped by an enemy barrage, near Proyart, France. Over the next few hours Statton performed a number of brave actions, at one point rushing four enemy machine-gun positions armed only with a revolver. He disposed of two of the posts and killed five of the enemy. Later he went out under heavy fire and brought in two badly wounded men.
Statton came home in November 1919 to a hero's welcome; however, his wife was unhappy about his long absence, and they divorced. He remarried twice more, and worked as a farmer and in the timber industry.

VC Citation:
'For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in action when in command of a platoon which reached its objective, the remainder of the battalion being held up by heavy machine gun fire. He skilfully engaged two machine gun posts with Lewis gun fire, enabling the remainder of his battalion to advance. The advance of the battalion on his left had been brought to a stand still by heavy enemy machine gun fire, and the first of our assaulting detachments to reach the machine gun posts were put out of action in taking the first gun. Armed only with a revolver, in broad daylight, Sergeant Statton at once rushed four enemy machine gun posts in succession, disposing of two of them, and killing five of the enemy. The remaining two posts retired and were wiped out by Lewis gun fire. Later in the evening, under heavy machine gun fire, he went out again and brought in two badly wounded men. Sergeant Statton set a magnificent example of quick decision, and the success of the attacking troops was largely due to his determined gallantry.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23
Date: 12 February 1919

MM Citation:

'On 7, 8 and 9 June 1917 during operations south east of Messines, Belgium, for exceptional fine work and gallant conduct whilst under heavy enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. He supervised and conducted carrying parties to the advanced troops with great determination and never failed to reach the next advanced line although on several occasions the party was decimated with shell fire. He set a fine example to the members of his parties.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 219
Date: 20 December 1917

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