Pte. John Ryan - V.C. Who Fluked It
15 October 1929 The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate,
"A Tumut boy; bright, little chap, full of fun, he seemed to enjoy all that life had to give him when I knew him first," said an elderly podagogue, who taught Ryan, V.C; in his youthful days. "I'm proud to be the guest of Ryan,
V.C.," said Ada Reeve at her Dubbo reception last month. And writer was one of the many at the supper table, scanned in vain the faces of the people to locate the medalist.
"Where was Ryan?" several asked after the function; only Ada and her nearby associates knew, of his identity, and it was not revealed during the social hour.
Last week a man; decidedly the worse of liquor, was leaning against one of Fischer's verandah posts, when two elderly ladies approached and asked a question. In a flash, the man straightened up, lilted his faded felt, and courteously directed the women where to go, walking a few yards with them and then moving on down Church Street.
"That's Ryan, V.C, said a bystander, "and he's shot; been on the scoot since Ada, Reeve was here." It was a matter of minutes overtaking Ryan, but it took a good hour, no mean artistry, and sundry spots, to get even an inkling of his story.
"Ada wasn't right, when she said V.C.'s are won. They're fluked.' "Yes, I was over there. Walked to it with the Wagga Kangaroos in 1915 and had three years and nine months of it. It was rough, but we went looking for it and got it.
My bit was nothing - and I don't know who made the song about it.
It was on September 30th, 1918— the second day of the big stunt, when the Aussies and Americans went over together, it was willing while it lasted, but only like throwing 'stones' at close quarters.
Sometimes the bombs burst; at times they didn't.
The ones near me didn't, or I wouldn't be here.
Anyhow, we broke up a big German bombing party, and when we got to the posie, I was on my pat. That's all.
You see, I was lucky to be alive. 'They said a lot about single-handed work, but what else was there to do? A follow couldn't run. They said I was brave. I wasn't. I was damn lucky.
"'Yes, King George gave me the V.C. at Buckingham Palace. He's a nice old chap.
"What am I doing now? Tramping the country looking for a job. But I'm getting old . . too - old now. I'm 40 next, up. I'll soon be. pushing up the daisies."
Ryan V.C. caught the next train to a neighboring town looking for a job; while many chocolate soldiers who never heard a shot fired are in receipt of a pension; some who never left Australia's shores.