Case study

WW1 Australian VC recipient Alexander Stewart Burton

The story of Australian First World War Victoria Cross recipient Alexander Stewart Burton.

Alexander Stewart Burton
Credit: Australian War Memorial H06785

66 men from Australia received the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, during the First World War. As part of the Centenary Commemorations the people of the United Kingdom marked their gratitude to those courageous men by presenting a bronze memorial plaque to their home country engraved with their names. The plaque is now displayed at the Australian War Memorial. This archive tells their stories.

Name: Alexander Stewart Burton

DOB: 20 January 1893

Place of Birth: Kyneton, Victoria, Australia

Date of Action: 9 August 1915

Place of Action: Lone Pine, Gallipoli

Rank: Corporal

Regiment: 7th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

Alexander Stewart Burton was born on 20 January 1893, in Kyneton, Victoria. He was working as an ironmonger when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and joined the 7th Battalion Australian Imperial Force.

He was one of three Australian soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross for a particular act of bravery during the fighting against the Turks at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, which led to his death on 9 August 1915, aged 22. His citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine Trenches on the 9th August, 1915. In the early morning the enemy made a determined counter-attack on the centre of the newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb, Corporals Burton and Dunstan and a few men. They [the enemy] advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, leaving only one foot of it standing, but Lieutenant Tubb with the two Corporals repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Supported by strong bombing parties the enemy twice again succeeded in blowing the barricade, but on each occasion they were repulsed and the barricade rebuilt, although Lieutenant Tubb was wounded in the head and arm and Corporal Burton was killed by a bomb while most gallantly building up the parapet under a hail of bombs.

Corporal Burton has no known grave, but his name is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli. An oak tree, and bridge at Euroa, Victoria, are dedicated to his memory.

Published 20 June 2016