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Roger Scanlon was born in Allendale, near Creswick, and was a Labourer by trade when he enlisted in the 14th Infantry Battalion on 16 September 1914 with service number 528. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 22 December 1914.
As a Lance-Corporal with the 14th Battalion, he was awarded a Military Medal for his gallantry in October 1916: æThis NCO on the night of our attack, led his section into enemy strong point 27 under heavy grenade and machine gun fire, and bombed several dug-outs from which screams apparently of wounded were heard to come. Afterwards he repeatedly went out into æno man's land' and carried in wounded under very heavy fire. This NCO was previously recommended for bravery and devotion to duty at Bois Grenier in July last. He did excellent work at Pozieres.'
As Company Sergeant Major (WO 2) his bravery in 1918 earned for him a Distinguished Conduct Medal, his citation reading: æFor conspicuous gallantry in action near Villers-Bretonneux on 29th April 1918. A runner with an important message was wounded near the left Company Headquarters. Realising that he was carrying the expected orders CSM Scanlon immediately went to his assistance under heavy sniping and M.G. fire and carried the wounded runner to a place of safety, and thereby secured the important message. Again on 30th April 1918 when an officer was severely wounded, and stretcher bearers who went to his assistance were forced to desist after having the stretchers riddled with bullets, Scanlon went out, dressed the officer's wounds and carried him 60 yards, under heavy enemy fire, to a place of safety. The conduct and example of this NCO have, at all times, had a most inspiring effect on his men.' Upon his return to Australia he was promoted to the officer rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
Tree No. 253