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

To Leave.

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

Rejoined Bn.

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

Disembarked Sydney.

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.