John Dwyer (soldier)

John James Dwyer, VC (9 March 1890 – 17 January 1962) was a politician and an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1931 representing the Labor Party, Dwyer served as Deputy Premier of Tasmania from August 1958 to May 1959 and remained in office until his death.

John Dwyer

Sergeant John Dwyer VC, c. 1918
1st Deputy Premier of Tasmania
In office
26 August 1958  12 May 1959
PremierEric Reece
Succeeded byRoy Fagan
Minister for Agriculture
In office
29 June 1948  19 September 1961
PremierRobert Cosgrove
Eric Reece
Preceded byJohn Madden
Succeeded byAlexander Atkins
Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
In office
10 February 1942  29 June 1948
PremierRobert Cosgrove
Edward Brooker
Preceded byDavid O'Keefe
Succeeded byPeter Pike
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Franklin
In office
9 May 1931  17 January 1962
Personal details
John James Dwyer

(1890-03-09)9 March 1890
Port Cygnet, Tasmania
Died17 January 1962(1962-01-17) (aged 71)
Bruny Island, Tasmania
Political partyLabor Party
Military service
Branch/serviceAustralian Imperial Force
Years of service1915–18
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsVictoria Cross

When Dwyer was 27 years old he was a sergeant in the 4th Company, Australian Machine Gun Corps, Australian Imperial Force during the First World War. At that time, the following deed took place for which he was later awarded the VC.

On 26 September 1917 at Zonnebeke, Belgium, during the Battle of Polygon Wood, Sergeant Dwyer, in charge of a Vickers machine-gun during an advance, rushed his gun forward to within 30 yards of an enemy machine-gun, fired point blank at it and killed the crew. He then seized the gun and carried it back across shell-swept ground to the Australian front line. On the following day, when the position was being heavily shelled, and his Vickers gun was blown up, he took his team through the enemy barrage and fetched a reserve gun which he put into use in the shortest possible time.[1][2]

Dwyer later achieved the rank of lieutenant. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial.


  1. "No. 30400". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 November 1917. p. 12328.
  2. "Sergeant John James Dwyer". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
Tasmanian House of Assembly
Preceded by
David O'Keefe
Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
Succeeded by
Peter Pike
Political offices
Preceded by
John Madden
Minister for Agriculture
Succeeded by
Alexander Atkins
New ministerial post Deputy Premier of Tasmania
Succeeded by
Roy Fagan
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