Victoria Cross recipient honoured

Tasmanian Victoria Cross recipient Percy Clyde Statton has been immortalised with the opening of a memorial garden at Zeehan Primary School on Saturday. 

The VC Statton 100 Years Celebration was used to mark the centenary anniversary of Lance Corporal Statton receiving a Victoria Cross medal for gallantry on the Western Front during World War I.

Great-granddaughter Kerri Morely and great-great-grandson Kile Carmichael officially opened the garden in front of guests including RSL state president Terry Roe, mayor Phil Vickers, Labor MP Shane Broad, Senator Anne Urquhart and Braddon MHR Justine Keay.

Mrs Morely said she was “humbled” by the efforts of the school.

“It was one of the most emotional services I have attended,” she said.

“The students gave up their weekends to be there in school uniform, which is just fantastic.

“Each one of them had something on Percy to show me, whether it be a photo, or his name on a plaque.

Each one of (the students) had something on Percy to show me, whether it be a photo, or his name on a plaque.

Kerri Morely

“They all knew about him.”

A former student of Zeehan Primary School, Corporal Statton was 25 years old when he enlisted in the armed forces on February 29, 1916.

Part of the 40th Battalion, his unit embarked from Hobart on July 1 of the same year. 

He would be wounded in action twice during his deployment, firstly from being shot in the shoulder in 1917, and then as a result of gassing in 1918.

It was the same year he was awarded with the Victoria Cross for his bravery while leading a platoon under heavy fire.

A citation from the Commonwealth Gazette described how “armed with only a revolver, in broad daylight, Sergeant Statton at once rushed four enemy machine gun posts in succession, disposing of two of them, and killing five of the enemy”.

Corporal Statton returned to Tasmania in 1919, where he became a farmer. 

At Saturday’s event, Mrs Morely told of how a chance post-war encounter led her great-grandfather to befriend another Tasmanian Victoria Cross recipient.

“He was involved in a car accident with John Dwyer (VC) at New Norfolk,” she said.

“They were both grumpy to start with, but once they realised who the other was, they went and had a beer together.”

Corporal Statton died in Hobart in 1959.