Brisbane hospital to honour 1,000th VC winner


As tributes are paid to those who served in World War I on ANZAC Day, Brisbane's Greenslopes Private Hospital will be honouring the heroic feats of an Australian soldier who suffered horrific injuries in one of the key battles of the Allied efforts.

This week's memorials will mark the centenary of the ending of the war – and the tactics employed to counter trench warfare at the Battle of Hamel in July 1918 would prove significant in achieving armistices when used on a bigger stage later in the year.

More than 1,000 Australians died at Le Hamel in northern France, but Henry “Harry” Dalziel survived despite a gunshot wound that left a gaping hole in his head, and other injuries to his back, left leg and left arm.

He was awarded Australia's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for bravery and devotion to duty under enemy fire as he helped capture heavily fortified German trench positions.

Mr Dalziel's son David will be guest speaker at Greenslopes' 5.30am Dawn Service on Wednesday – at the same hospital where his father finally passed away at the age of 72 in 1965.

About 2,000 people are expected to attend, while the ceremony will also be broadcast live to bed-bound patients via the televisions in their rooms.

“This service will be especially poignant because 2018 marks not only 100 years since the end of WWI; it also marks the centenary of the Battle of Hamel in northern France, during which Henry Dalziel fought so valiantly,” Greenslopes CEO Christine Went said.

Harry Dalziel received the 1,000th Victoria Cross to be awarded.

Mr Dalziel, who was born in Queensland's Far North, enlisted in 1915 and was discharged in January 1919. He also served in the Australian army for four years during WWII.

In 1948 he sent his VC – the 1,000th to be awarded – to Princess Elizabeth as a gift for her then-unborn first son Charles, but Britain's future queen returned it to him with a letter acknowledging the “depth of loyalty and affection which prompted your action”.

David Dalziel has written a new book about his father's achievements – for more information visit his website. 

Read more: Greenslopes CEO wins prestigious scholarship


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