John Alexander French VC
QX 1071 Corporal John Alexander FRENCH
2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
4th September 1942, at Milne Bay, New Guinea
John Alexander FRENCH was born in Crow's Nest, 28 miles north of Toowoomba (Queensland) on 15th July 1914. He is buried in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua.
London Gazette: 14th January, 1943:"At Milne Bay on the afternoon of the 4th September, 1942, a company of an Australian infantry battalion attacked the Japanese position East of the K.B. Mission where it encountered terrific rifle and machine gun fire. The advance of the section of which Corporal French was in command was held up by fire from three enemy machine gun posts, whereupon, Corporal French, ordering his section to take cover, advanced and silenced one of the posts with grenades. He returned to his section for more grenades and again advanced and silenced the second post. Armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun, he then attacked the third post, firing from the hip as he went forward. He was seen to be badly hit by the fire from this post, but he continued to advance. The enemy gun then ceased to fire and his section pushed on to find that all members of the three enemy gun crews had been killed and that Corporal French had died in front of the third gun pit. By his cool courage and disregard of his own personal safety, this non-commissioned officer saved the members of his section from heavy casualties and was responsible for the successful conclusion of the attack."
[Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial]