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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1933

Our V.C. Hero

Our V.C. Hero

Mine is the story of an unsung hero—

Ask. the guns of old Kum Kaleh,
Ask the guns of Neuve Chapelle,
Who was foremost in the rally

runs the College song, but alas the guns are silent these days, and it is the pages of the London Gazette that tell of the award of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Percy Valentine Storkey, Australian Infantry, "for conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty when in charge of a platoon in attack."

Captain Storkey attended Victoria College during 1911, and kept terms in English, Latin and Jurisprudence, before going to Sydney University, where he graduated Bachelor of Laws, but our College has not proudly owned him, as she ought.

page 53

The War Memorial number of Spike knows him not, the list of decorations and distinctions gained by students of the College during the conflict lacks the one award that should have graced it, and the only reference to him at the College is the inclusion of his name in the dreary catalogue on the columns in the library.

On April 7, 1918, Lieutenant Storkey, who was in charge of a platoon, emerged from the Bois de Hamgard, near Villers Bretonneux, and encountered the enemy trench-line. He found that he only had six men with him, but he continued to move forward, and while doing so, saw that about 80 or 100 Germans, who had several machine guns, were holding up troops advancing on his right. He at once determined to attack them from the flank and rear, and while moving forward to the attack, was joined by Lieutenant Lipscombe and four men. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Storkey this little party charged the enemy with fixed bayonets, driving them out, killing and wounding about 30, capturing three officers and 50 men, and one machine gun.

"Despite the odds of 10 to one in their favour and the additional advantage of being on the defensive, the enemy were completely routed," relates The Times History of the War.

Says the London Gazette: "The splendid courage shown by this officer in quickly deciding his course of action and his skilful method of attacking against such great odds removed a dangerous obstacle to the advance of the troops on the right, and inspired the remainder of our small party with the utmost confidence when advancing to the objective line."

Captain Storkey, who received his secondary education at Napier Boys' High School, was on the Staff of the Sydney University for some time. He was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1921, and is at present Crown Prosecutor on the South Western Circuit of that State.

Surely this V.C. award should be commemorated at the College. As the youngest of the constituent colleges of the University of New Zealand, it must strive to found traditions, and the fact that one who took lectures within its halls should have earned the Empire's greatest award for valour is a heritage that should be treasured.

It is felt that some record of such deeds should be enshrined within the College. The erection of a tablet, or other memorial of Storkey's V.C. should, I think, be undertaken immediately, by either the College Council or the Students' Association.

H. L. Chisholm.