John Mackey VC
NX 20317 Corporal John Bernard Mackey
2/3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion, A.I.F.
12 May 1945, at Tarakan Island
John Bernard MACKEY was born on 16 May 1922 at Leichhardt, Sydney. He was buried in Labuan War Cemetery.
"Corporal Mackey was in charge of a section of the 2/3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion in the attack on the feature known as Helen, East of Tarakan town. Led by Corporal Mackey the section moved along a narrow spur with scarcely width for more than one man when it came under fire from three well-sited positions near the top of a very steep, razor-backed ridge.
"The ground fell away almost sheer on each side of the track making it almost impossible to move to a flank so Corporal Mackey led his men forward. He charged the first Light Machine-Gun position but slipped and after wrestling with one enemy, bayoneted him, and charged straight on to the Heavy Machine-Gun which was firing from a bunker position six yards to his right. He rushed this post and killed the crew with grenades.
"He then jumped back and changing his rifle for a sub-machine-gun he attacked further up the steep slope another Light Machine-Gun position which was firing on his platoon. Whilst charging, he fired his gun and reached within a few feet of the enemy position when he was killed by Light Machine-Gun fire but not before he had killed two more enemy.
"By his exceptional bravery and complete disregard for his own life, Corporal Mackey 21 was largely responsible for the killing of seven Japanese and the elimination of two machine-gun posts, which enabled his platoon to gain its objective, from which the Company continued to engage the enemy. His fearless action and outstanding courage were an inspiration to the whole battalion."
London Gazette: 8th November 1945