24 year old Private Robert Beatham of the 8th Australian Infantry Battalion won the Victoria Cross, posthumously, for outstanding bravery during an offensive in World War 1 at a field north of Rosieres and east of Amiens, France, on August 9th, 1918.
Robert Beatham was a labourer in Geelong before signing up for duty on January 8th, 1915. He was wounded several times during the war before being called upon for the supreme sacrifice.
Robert stormed four machine-gun posts, killing 10 of the enemy and capturing 10 before later dying in that offensive during an even more courageous attack.
King George V presented the medal in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to his British mother. The medal stayed in his family until sold to an American collector in the '60s.
The London Gazette of December 14th, 1918, said "The valour displayed by this gallant soldier inspired all ranks in a wonderful manner."
Private Beatham is buried at Heath Cemetery in Harbonnieres, France.
The medal is up for auction soon and RSL Victorian president Bruce Ruxton says the league will make a bid for it.
Good news! The medal was purchased by an unknown bidder for $178,500 and will remain on Australian soil, according to a Christie's spokesperson.
Robert Beatham's medal is one of 96 Victoria Crosses awarded to Australian servicemen through wars from the Boer War to the Vietnam War. About 60 are held in the War Memorial in Canberra.
Victoria Crosses are crafted from Russian artillery barrels captured at the Battle of Balaklava and have the simple inscription "For Valour".