b. 08/10/1914 Wagga Wagga, Australia. d. 14/04/1941 Tobruk, Libya
John Hurst Edmondson was born at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. His parents moved to the Sydney suburb of Liverpool where he attended Hurlstone Agricultural High School and later became a farm worker. On 20 May 1940 he enlisted in the 2/17th Battalion after serving with the 4th Militia Battalion. He was promoted to corporal. After training at Ingleburn and Bathurst, his battalion embarked for the Middle East on 19 October 1940 as reinforcements for the 9th Division. After desert training, his division relieved the 6th Australian Division at Marsa Brega in Cyrenaica on 9 March 1941. On 31 March, the German forces under the command of General Erwin Rommel mounted an attack on the Australian and British positions, forcing them to retreat. The 9th Division took up new positions outside the port of Tobruk and on 11 April, the now famous siege began.
On the night of 13th-14th April, 1941, a party of German infantry broke through the wire defences at Tobruk, and established themselves with at least six machine guns, mortars and two small field pieces. It was decided to attack them with bayonets, and a party consisting of one officer, Corporal Edmondson and five privates, took part in the charge. During the counter-attack Corporal Edmondson was wounded in the neck and stomach but continued to advance under heavy fire and killed one enemy with his bayonet. Later, his officer had his bayonet in one of the enemy and was grasped about the legs by him, when another attacked him from behind. He called for help, and Corporal Edmondson, who was some yards away, immediately came to his assistance and in spite of his wounds, killed both of the enemy. This action undoubtedly saved his officer's life.
Shortly after returning from this successful counter-attack, Corporal Edmondson died of his wounds. His actions throughout the operations were outstanding for resolution, leadership and conspicuous bravery.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA.
BURIAL PLACE: TOBRUK WAR CEMETERY, TOBRUK, LIBYA.
John Edmondson's medals - Memorials to Valour
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT III, ROW J, GRAVE 8
Walk of Honour, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Anzac Rifle Range, Malabar, Sydney, NSW
The telegram sent to Edmondson's parents when he was KIA