Chronology - Edward John Francis Ryan, VC
Compiled from Australian National Archive Dossiers
9 February 1890
Date of birth; Place of birth - Tumut, New South Wales; Religion - Roman Catholic.
29 November 1915
John Ryan signed the enlistment form.
30 November 1915
Certificate of attesting officer.
1 December 1915
Certificate of Commanding Officer, Ryan appointed to B Coy Goulburn.
Place of enlistment - Wagga Wagga, New South Wales; Occupation – Labourer; Address - Tumut, New South Wales; Marital status – Single; Age at embarkation – 25; Height - 5' 7"; Weight - 154 lbs; Next of kin - Mother, Mrs Eugenie Ryan, Tumut, New South Wales; Previous military service - Nil; Rank on enlistment - Private; Unit name - 55th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement.
14 April 1916
Regimental number – 1717, AWM Embarkation Roll number - 23/72/3; Embarkation details - Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic; Rank from Nominal Roll - Private, Unit from Nominal Roll - 55th Battalion.
20 April 1916
Family/military connection - Cousin: 2835A Pte David John RICHARDS, 9th Bn, killed in action.
16 May 1916
Egypt, Western Front disembarked H.T. Ceramic at Port Said.
26 July 1916
Found guilty of being absent from Muster Parade: forfeited 10 days' pay.
29 July 1916
Embarked at Alexandria on board HT 'Arcadian'.
9 August 1916
Disembarked Southampton, England, via Marseilles.
28 August 1916
Found guilty of being late on parade awarded forfeiture of 7 days' pay.
9 September 1916
Proceeded overseas to France.
23 September 1916
Taken on strength from, 2/55th Bn. to 55th Bn. France.
8 January 1917
Detached to 1st Anzac Light Railways as a fettler.
12 June 1917
Rejoined Bn from detachment with light railways.
3 July 1917
Whilst on active service overstaying leave pass from 8 pm, 2 July, until reporting for duty at 3.30 pm, 3 July 1917
14 July 1917
Found guilty of overstaying leave pass: awarded 4 days' field punishment No 2 by O/C and forfeiture of 2 days' pay; total forfeiture of 6 days' pay (£1.10.0).
28 September 1917
4 October 1917
Whilst returning from leave admitted to VD.C. Boulogne.
6 October 1917
Transferred to 39th General Hospital Havre.
11 November 1917
Discharged to duty from VD.C. after 39 days.
17 November 1917
March out to Unit.
22 November 1917
Rejoined sick in the field.
9 June 1918
Absent without leave 8.30 am 7th June to 5pm 9th June.
15 June 1918
Seven days field punishment - total forfeiture of 10 days pay.
30 September 1918
Wounded in action, (gunshot wound, right shoulder), and admitted to 32nd Field Ambulance; transferred same day to 12th Casualty Clearing Station, and thence by Ambulance Train.
2 October 1918
Admitted No 20 to 34th General Hospital, Trouville.
10 October 1918
Recommendation date for Victoria Cross:- 'For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during an attack against the Hindenburg defences on 30th September 1918. In the initial assault on the enemy's positions Private Ryan went forward with great dash and determination, and was one of the first to reach the enemy trench. His exceptional skill and daring inspired his comrades, and, despite heavy fire, the hostile garrison was soon overcome and the trench occupied. The enemy then counter attacked, and succeeded in establishing a bombing party in the rear of the position. Under fire from front and rear, the position was critical, and necessitated prompt action. Quickly appreciating the situation, he organized and led the men near him with bomb and bayonet against the enemy bombers, finally reaching the position with only three men. By skilful bayonet work, his small party succeeded in killing the first three Germans on the enemy's flank, then, moving along the embarkment, Private Ryan alone rushed the remainder with bombs. He fell wounded after he had driven back the enemy, who suffered heavily as they retired across "No Man's Land". A particularly dangerous situation had been saved by this gallant soldier, whose example of determination bravery and initiative was an inspiration to all.'
25 October 1918
Transferred to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Havre.
15 November 1918
Discharged to Australian General Base Depot, Havre.
7 December 1918
17 December 1918
On leave to United Kingdom.
26 December 1918
London Gazette published Ryan being awarded a VC.
9 January 1919
Rejoined Bn. from UK leave.
16 April 1919
Proceeded to England for return to Australia.
17 April 1919
Disembarked Southampton, and marched in to No 5 Group, Weymouth.
30 May 1919
Base records office wrote to Mrs E Ryan of Russell Street, Tumut, relating the conspicuous service rendered by her son.
3 June 1919
Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford.
8 June 1919
Discharged from hospital to C.T.D. Parkhouse.
5 July 1919
Failed to appear at place of parade at 1400.
16 July 1919
Failed to appear at place of parade at 1000.
30 July 1919 –
District Court Martial held at Tidworth. Charges:-
1: Failing to appear at place of parade at 1400, 15 July;
2. Failing to appear at place of parade at 1000, 16 July;
3. Disobeying a lawful command;
4. Using insubordinate language.
Pleaded guilty to 1 & 4 but not guilty to 2 & 3.
Finding Guilty of all charges. Forfeiture of 1 day's pay.
4 August 1919
GOC confirmed finding (except 2nd charge) Marched in to No 1 Group, Sutton Veny.
18 August 1919
The Officer i/c Base Records replied to Mr. Arthur Woods of the Royal Hotel, Harden, NSW that he has no record of where J. Ryan VC is but anticipates he will be shortly returning to Australia. (Arthur had written after a picture of Ryan VC had appeared in the Sunday Sun newspaper.)
6 September 1919
Returned to Australia.
7 September 1919
Commenced return to Australia from Devonport on board HT 'Eripides'.
4 October 1919
Admitted to ship's hospital at sea.
24 October 1919
10 January 1920
Discharged with Victoria Cross, British War Medal & Victory Medal.
29 April 1929
Ryan sought relief from the Mudgee Anzac and Armistice Association who sought verification of his claim.
2 May 1929
Base Record office replied to the Mudgee Anzac and Armistice Association giving the details of Ryan (height, eye colour, etc).
29 October 1929
The Tumut and Adelong Times reported “Tumut V.C. is Jobless - Forgotten Gallantry of John Ryan, a Homeless Tramp”.
16 July 1934
John Ryan wrote a Statutory Declaration from Yarrawonga to the Army stating he had lost his discharge papers in a Hotel in Moree. The hotel was soon afterwards destroyed by fire.
30 July 1934
The Yarrawonga Branch of the RS&S Imperial League of Australia sought confirmation of Ryan’s Statutory Declaration.
16 August 1935
Melbourne Age reported,: 'V.C. Winner Carries Swag: On the Road for Four Years. Mildura: Carrying a swag, John Ryan, a private in the 55th Battalion, walked into an office in Mildura today [Thursday] and asked for work. He had "hitch-hiked" from Balranald. He had been on the road for the past four years.'
17 January 1940
Re-enlisted in the Australian Army in Melbourne.
Taken on strength as Medically Class II, aged 49.
His mother (Eugenie Ryan) was listed as next of kin & living at North Yass.
His Unit was the District Employment Unit (Q.M. Stores). He was to be employed as a Clerk in Trade Group III.
21st March 1940
Charged with drunkenness.
25th March 1940
Found guilty and fined 10/-.
18th April 1940
Discharged from the army as being unfit for the duties of his Corps.
3 June 1941
Died at age 51, Place of burial - Springvale Cemetery (Catholic Section), Melbourne, Victoria.
17 September 1969
Mr. F.M. Archer (Honorary Secretary of the Tumut RSL) wrote to Central Army Records asking for a copy of John Ryan’s VC citation.
30 September 1969
Central Army records replied to Tumut RSL.
3 March 1972
Mr. F.M. Archer (Honorary Secretary of the Tumut RSL) wrote to Central Army Records asking which other medals John Ryan was entitled to (to go with the replica VC the Tumut RSL already has).
28 March 1972
Central Army Records Office replied to Tumut RSL.