Private Arthur Stanley Gurney (Posthumous)
Friday 12 July, 2019
Private Arthur Stanley Gurney
2/48th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force
22 July 1942, Tel El Eisa, Egypt
Arthur Stanley ‘Stan’ Gurney was born at Day Dawn near Cue, on the Murchison goldfields of Western Australia on 15 December 1908. The Gurneys were a close-knit family, and Arthur was a hard worker from an early age. On weekends, he and his brother, Tuck, would help their father gather timber for the nearby Great Fingall Mine. Their mother later opened a store, where the boys helped with the bookkeeping.
Gurney was also extremely fit and kept active with sports. He played cricket, tennis and football, but his real passion was competitive cycling. He would later play a prominent role in Western Australian cycling, both in competitive and administrative roles.
His citation reads:
For gallant and unselfish bravery in silencing enemy machine-gun posts by bayonet assault at Tell el Eisa [sic] on 22nd July, 1942, thus allowing his Company to continue the advance. During an attack on strong German positions in the early morning of 22nd July, 1942, the Company to which Private Gurney belonged was held up by intense machine-gun fire from posts less than 100 yards ahead, heavy casualties being inflicted on our troops, all the officers being killed or wounded. Grasping the seriousness of the situation and without hesitation, Private Gurney charged the nearest enemy machine-gun post, bayoneted three men and silenced the post. He then continued on to a second post, which knocked him to the ground. He rose again, picked up his rifle and charged the third post using the bayonet with great vigour. He then disappeared from view and later his body was found in an enemy post. By this single-handed act of gallantry in the face of a determined enemy, Private Gurney enabled his Company to press forward to its objective, inflicting heavy losses upon the enemy. The successful outcome of this engagement was almost entirely due to Private Gurney’s heroism at the moment when it was needed.
The London Gazette
11 September 1942