Studio portrait of 2902 Sergeant (Sgt) John Woods Whittle VC DCM, 12th Battalion from Launceston, Tasmania.
Having previously served in the Boer War then the Royal Navy, he returned to the army in January 1905 and was promoted to Corporal and then enlisted in the AIF as a 33 year old Private in the 12th Infantry Battalion on 6 August 1915. He embarked for overseas with the 6th Reinforcements from Melbourne aboard HMAT Ulysses (A38) on 27 October 1915. After joining the 12th Battalion in Egypt, he was promoted to Corporal on 14 March 1916 and later that month proceeded with them to France where he was further promoted to Lance Sergeant on 13 April. When he was wounded in action on 18 June 1916, he was evacuated to England for medical treatment and did not return to his battalion until three months later and a month after that was promoted to Sergeant on 14 October 1916.
Sgt Whittle was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for conspicuous gallantry during an attack on Le Barque on 27 February 1917. He was later awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his actions around the village of Boursies on 9 April when he collected all available men and successfully charged the enemy trench which held a commanding position and at Lagnicourt on15 April 1917 when he single-handedly rushed across a bullet swept slope and attacked the enemy gun crew with bombs, killing the whole crew and bringing back the machine gun to his own position.
He was taken ill and evacuated to England on 10 May 1917 for five months of treatment and recuperation. After returning to this battalion, he was wounded in action on 19 April 1918 and was absent from his unit for three weeks. He was wounded again on 25 July 1918 and evacuated to England for medical treatment. Sgt Whittle returned to Australia on 11 October 1918 with other Victoria Cross holders to take part in a recruiting drive. He was discharged in December and settled in Sydney.
Sgt Whittle was also awarded the King George V Jubilee Medal, and the King George VI Coronation Medal. One of his sons, Ivan, was killed during the Second World War in New Guinea.