A little side theme of mine is collecting autographs to holders of the Victoria Cross (VC). The Victoria Cross can be best described as;
The Citation for John’s action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross reads as follows;
“On 12/13 September 1917 north of Broenbeek, Belgium, Lance-Sergeant Moyney was in command of 15 men forming two advanced posts. Surrounded by the enemy he held his post for 96 hours, having no water and very little food. On the fifth day, on the enemy advancing to dislodge him, he attacked them with bombs, while also using his Lewis gun with great effect. Finding himself surrounded, he led his men in a charge through the enemy and reached a stream, where he and a private (Thomas Woodcock) covered his party while they crossed unscathed, before crossing themselves under a shower of bullets.”
John Moyney was born in Rathdowney, County Laois, Ireland. He was 22 years old, and a lance-sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, British Army during the First World War when he was awarded the VC.
In 1920, he joined the Great Southern Railway as a porter at Roscrea. As his family grew to six children, he was plagued by money worries.
However despite everything, he maintained a close association with his old regiment. During the Second World War, his only son was among many Southern Irishmen who enlisted in the Irish Guards. He served in North Africa and was taken prisoner in Italy.
Jack Moyney retired as head porter at Roscrea station after forty years on the railways. He was a devout Catholic who raised thousand of pounds to help poor boys study for the priesthood.
Described in old age as a ‘fit,bright-eyed man’, he was a familiar figure in Roscrea, cycling each week to the local post office to collect his pension well into his 80s. The last surviving Irish VC winner of the First World War, he passed away on 10 November 1980. aged 85. His most valuable possessions, his hard won row of medals, were bequeathed to the Irish Guards.
Shortly before his death, in a typically candid interview, he recounted his harrowing experiences on the Western Front. His abiding memory was of Passchendaele – ‘an awful joint altogether’