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Albert Chalmers Borella
Lt. Albert Borella, 1918
Born (1881-08-07)August 7, 1881
Died 7 February 1968(1968-02-07) (aged 86)
Place of birth Borung, Victoria
Place of death New South Wales, Australia
Allegiance Australia Australia
Years of service 1915–1919
1939–1945
Rank Captain
Unit 26th Battalion (Q. and T),
Australian Imperial Force
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Victoria Cross[1]
Military Medal[2]

Albert Chalmers Borella VC, MM (7 August 1881 – 7 February 1968) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Albert Chalmers Borella was born at Borung, Victoria (38 mi/60 km north-west of Bendigo).

He enlisted in Townsville, Queensland and had to go to some effort to do so. At the outbreak of World War I the military authorities were not accepting volunteers from the Northern Territory. Borella accepted a job as a cook for a survey party in Tennant Creek and in January 1915 Borella set out for Darwin to volunteer for active service. With Charlie, an Aboriginal man, he walked 88 miles (140 km) and swam across flooded rivers. After borrowing a horse at Powell Creek, just north of Renner Springs, Northern Territory, he rode to Katherine where he caught the mail coach to the railhead at Pine Creek. He sailed from Darwin to Townsville on 8 March 1915 with four other men who were among the first 15 volunteers for active service from the Northern Territory.[3]

Borella served with the 26th Battalion at Gallipoli from 12 September 1915 until being evacuated with jaundice on 19 November. He did not rejoin his unit until 5 February 1916, and then served in France, being wounded in the Battle of Pozieres Heights on 29 July. He achieved promotion from corporal to sergeant and then lieutenant by August 1917.[4]

Borella received a Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on 11 May 1917[2] and also the Victoria Cross on 16 September 1918 while a Lieutenant in the 26th Battalion (Q. and T), Australian Imperial Force.[1]

His citation for the Victoria Cross, gained in 1918 in Villers-Bretonneux, France, at the age of 37, reads in part:

During the period 17/18 July... Lieutenant Borella, whilst leading his platoon, charged and captured an enemy machine-gun, shooting two gunners. He then led his party, by now reduced to 10 men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver and later a rifle with great effect and causing many casualties. Two large dug-outs were also bombed and 30 prisoners taken....

He received his VC at Sandringham from King George V.

At the end of the war Borella was invalided back to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on New Year's Day 1919. From 1920, Borella was farming on a soldier settlement block at Hensley Park, near Hamilton in Victoria. In 1924 he stood for the seat of Dundas in the Victorian Legislative Assembly as the National Party candidate, but was defeated.

Borella enlisted in World War II, and served in Australia from October 1939 to May 1945, obtaining the rank of Captain.[5][6]

Albert Borella's Grave at the Presbyterian Cemetery, North Albury

Borella died on 7 February 1968 and was buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery, North Albury, New South Wales. In 1977 a street in Albury was renamed Borella Road in his honour and a plaque unveiled on a memorial nearby, where the road begins. His Victoria Cross is privately held.

Medals[edit | edit source]

Ribbon for the VC Ribbon for the MM

Ribbon for the 1914-15 Star Ribbon for the BWM Ribbon for the Victory Medal

Ribbon Description Notes
Ribbon for the VC Victoria Cross (VC)[7] gazetted 1918[1]
Ribbon for the MM Military Medal (MM)[7] gazetted 1917[2]
Ribbon for the 1914-15 Star 1914-15 Star[7]
Ribbon for the BWM British War Medal[7]
Ribbon for the Victory Medal Victory Medal[7]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "No. 30903". 13 September 1918. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30903/page/  (Victoria Cross)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "No. 30064". 11 May 1917. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30064/page/  (Military Medal)
  3. Debates - Thursday 23 April 1998, Hansard pp1074-1078, Northern Territory Parliament.
  4. Staunton, Anthony, "Victoria Cross: Australia's finest and the battles they fought", Hardie Grant Publishing, 2005, page 141
  5. World War II Nominal Roll, Department of Veterans' Affairs
  6. World War Two Service, Department of Veterans' Affairs
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Albert BORELLA, The AIF Project, www.aif.adfa.edu.au

External links[edit | edit source]

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