John Hurst Edmondson, ĎJackí to his mates, was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia in 1914. As a young man he worked as a farm worker and was an active member of the 4th Militia Battalion in Liverpool, New South Wales.one Company Command Rifle team
In May 1940 he joined the 2/17th Battalion and was soon promoted to Corporal. After training, his battalion left for the Middle East on 19 October 1940 as reinforcements for the 9th Australian Division.
After another period of training in the desert Edmondsonís division replaced the 6th Australian Division at Mersa Brega in Libya on 9 March 1941. On 31 March the Germans attacked the Australian and British positions and pushed them back. The 9th Australian Division established new positions around the port of Tobruk. Little did Edmondson know this would be the start of an epic struggle for this important supply point. On 11 April the siege began.
Edmondson was in the thick of the action right from the onset. On the night of 13/14 April Edmondsonís battalion was under attack. The Germans had broken through the wire and established a position amongst the Australians. Edmondsonís section counterattacked. Accompanied by the platoon officer, Lieutenant Austin Mackell, Edmondson and five of his men charged the enemy positions. A ferocious melee ensued.
Edmondson was hit in the neck and stomach during the assault, but despite his wounds he fought on, dispatching one German with his bayonet. Nearby his officer was struggling with a German. The officer had his bayonet in the enemy, but was grasped around the legs, restricting his movement. A second German was about to attack the officer from behind. The officer yelled out for help and Edmondson was quickly on the scene. In spite of his wounds Edmondson bayoneted both Germans and saved his officerís life.
The counterattack successfully pushed the Germans out of the Australian positions. However, once Edmondson returned to the Australian trenches his condition deteriorated.
He died of his wounds shortly afterwards. A German counterattack an hour later forced the Australian platoon to withdraw from their post. However, further fierce defense from the platoon forced the Germans to redirect reinforcements to this sector, weakening their main thrust which ultimately failed that night.
It was noted afterwards that throughout the battle he had displayed through his actions outstanding resolution, leadership and bravery. He was recommended by his battalion for a Victoria Cross and posthumously awarded it. His Victoria Cross was presented to his mother by the Australian Governor-General on 27 September 1941.
one Company 2iC Rifle team
two 3" mortars with crew
two optional captured Italian 81/14 mortars
one Corporal John 'Jack' Edmondson figure
three Small bases & two Medium