Battle of Villers-Bretonneux France

1918, Villers-Bretonneux, FRANCE

On the night of July 17-18, 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux France, Albert Borella earned the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery in attack.

Borella was leading his platoon forward against stiff German opposition including a German machinegun which was firing at the advancing Australians through the Australians’ own artillery barrage.

His later Victoria Cross citation read:

For most conspicuous bravery in attack. Whilst leading his platoon with the first wave, Lieutenant Borella marked an enemy machine gun firing through our barrage. He ran out ahead of his men into the barrage, shot two German machine gunners with his revolver, and captured the gun. He then led his party, now reduced to ten men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver, and later a rifle, with great effect, causing many enemy casualties. His leading and splendid example resulted in the garrison being quickly shot and captured. Two large dug outs were also bombed, and thirty prisoners taken. Subsequently the enemy twice counter attacked in strong force, on the second occasion outnumbering Lieutenant Borella’s platoon by ten to one, but his cool determination inspired his men to resist heroically, and the enemy were repulsed, with very heavy losses.’ Commonwealth Gazette No. 23, 12 February 1919