H.V.H.Throssell VC 1884 – 1933
The only Light Horseman to be awarded a Victoria Cross.
It is hard to comprehend of the thousands of Light Horsemen and supporting mounted units who left these shores between 1915 and 1918, that only one man could be awarded the Commonwealth supreme award for Gallantry – the Victoria Cross – and that, while serving as an infantryman during the Gallipoli campaign.
Second Lt. H.V.H. Throssell was born at Northam, West Australia on 27th October, 1884, from a pioneering West Australian family. Throssell was educated at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide and then returned to farming at Cowcowing, West Australia.
He enlisted in the A.I.F. on the 29th September, 1914 and was posted to the 10th Light Horse Regiment. He had previously served six years in the ranks with the 18th and 10th Regiments Citizen Forces.
Throssell did not embark with his unit, the 10th, but joined it on Gallipoli two days before the fierce fighting at Walkers Ridge early on 7th August.
On that day the 3rd Light Horse Brigade faced the heaviest fire encountered by the A.I.F. when four lines of the 8th and 10th Light Horse regiments charged the Turkish positions at “the Neck”. Throssell went over the top with the 4th wave, which had seen three other waves cut to pieces.
Throssell managed to get through the day unscathed.
Throssell was awarded the V.C. for his bravery and devotion to duty in the battle for “Hill 60”. Despite his terrible wounds he refused to leave his post to obtain medical assistance until all danger had passed.
In April 1916 he was invalided to Australia and allotted “light duties”.
By April 1917 he was back with his unit for the second battle of Gaza; on 19th April his brother Frank was killed in action and Hugo was again wounded. He rejoined the 10th after recovery in December and served with it in the operations which culminated in the capture of Jerusalem. He had been promoted to Captain on 15th August, 1917.
His A.I.F. appointment was terminated on 13th February 1919. Later that year he married the novelist Katherine Susannah Pritchard – they had one son.
A radical Socialist, he suffered badly after the war and finally committed suicide at his Lazy Hit Ranch, Greenmount on 19th November, 1933 and is buried at the Karrakatta cemetery in Perth.
Throssell’s Victoria Cross and other service medals were donated to the people for Nuclear Disarmament in 1984. The Returned Services League purchased the Medals and donated them to the Australian War Memorial, where they are now displayed in the Hall of Valor.
|Date of birth||26 October 1884|
|Place of birth||Northam, Western Australia|
|School||Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Northam, Western Australia|
|Age at embarkation||30|
|Next of kin||Brother-in-Law, P W Armstrong, Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia|
|Previous military service||Served for 6.6 years as Trooper, 18th Australian Light Horse; 4 months as Sergeant, 10th Australian Light Horse.; Six years service with the 18th and 10th Regiments of the Militia.|
|Enlistment date||29 September 1914|
|Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll||5 October 1914|
|Place of enlistment||Guildford, Western Australia|
|Rank on enlistment||2nd Lieutenant|
|Unit name||10th Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Reinforcement|
|AWM Embarkation Roll number||10/15/2|
|Embarkation details||Unit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A50 Itonus on 19 February 1915|
|Rank from Nominal Roll||Captain|
|Unit from Nominal Roll||10th Light Horse Regiment|
|Recommendations (Medals and Awards)||Mention in Despatches
Awarded, and promulgated, ‘London Gazette’, Supplement, No. 29354 (5 November 1915); ‘Commonwealth Gazette’, No. 12 (27 January 1916).
|Returned to Australia 4 September 1918|
‘For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during operations on the Kaiakij Aghala (Hill 60) in the Gallipoli Peninsula, 29th and 30th August, 1915. Although severely wounded in several places during a counter attack, he refused to leave his post or to obtain medical assistance till all danger was past, when he had his wounds dressed and returned to the firing line until ordered out of action by the medical officer. By his personal courage and example he kept up the spirits of his party, and was largely instrumental in saving the situation at a critical period.’
Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 28
Date: 24 February 1916
|Discharge date||13 February 1919|
|Family/military connections||Brother: 64 Pte Frank Eric Cottrell THROSSELL, 10th Light Horse, killed in action, 19 April 1917.|
|Sources||‘Australian Dictionary of Biography’, vol. 12, pp. 223-24 NAA B2455 file 1935395|