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20 March 1914 Thomas 'Diver' Derrick VC

 20 March 1914   Thomas 'Diver' Derrick VC

Thomas Currie 'Diver' Derrick was born at Medindie, Adelaide on 20 March 1914. He left school in 1928, the beginning of the depression, and managed to get a job in Lamb's bakery at Port Adelaide, but was put off 18 months later. After riding his bike to the riverland he worked on fruit blocks and did a bit of boxing in the travelling tent shows.

In June 1940 he enlisted in the 2/48th Battalion, and in November the unit left for the middle east. In 1942, by then a sergeant, he was awarded a DCM for his courage and leadership at Tel el Eisa. After the battle of El Alamein the unit returned to Palestine, but in January 1943 they left for Australia and were later sent to New Guinea.

In 1944 Derrick attended the officer training course at Seymour, Victoria, graduating as a lieutenant. On the island of Tarakan, off Borneo, he fought his last battle. Leading a platoon against a Japanese machine gun post he was badly wounded from his hip to his chest, but stayed at his post for hours. He died later after two operations. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action in knocking out eight Japanese bunkers and foxholes at Sattelburg ridge in November 1943.

Murray Farquhar,  Derrick VC,   Rigby, 1982.

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