Cyril Victor Moyle BESANKO (DCM, MM)

Cyril Victor Moyle BESANKO was born in 1886 in Willowie, South Australia to parents Benjamin and Loveday BESANKO. He was the youngest of ten children.

In his early years, Cyril worked on his father’s farms and in the gold mines. The family later moved to Adelaide, where Cyril found work as a motor mechanic.

In 1912, Cyril married Florence Jane WOODS in Norwood, South Australia, and they had three children.

By 1914, Cyril had moved to Ryde in Sydney, leaving his wife and young daughter behind. He found employment as a tram conductor and enlisted in the 4th Infantry Battalion in August 1914. Cyril embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A14 Euripides on 20th October 1914.

During his service, Cyril displayed exceptional bravery and was awarded the Military Medal for his actions at Lone Pine. The citation read “At a critical forward position in the Turkish trenches at Lone Pine on 6th August 1915, this NCO built up a sandbag barricade across a trench along which rifle fire was causing serious losses. Later he showed great courage in covering live enemy bombs and coolness in throwing ours, and further assisted in consolidating the position.” Cyril sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and shoulder a few days later.

In the Battle for Pozières on 23 July 1916, Cyril’s gallantry and devotion to duty led to him being awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although himself severely wounded, he rescued a wounded man under very heavy fire”.

Cyril returned to Australia in November 1916 and was medically discharged in April 1917.

Tragically, Cyril BESANKO passed away on 6 October 1940 while attending a parade of the Maroubra branch of the Returned Soldiers’ Voluntary Defence Corps.

Source: TROVE, National Library of Australia Newspaper Collection
Source: AIF Project, Australian Defence Force Academy
Source: Australian Virtual War Memorial
Source: Australian War Memorial