b. 14/07/1890 Adelaide, Australia. d. 23/10/1971 St Peters, Australia.
Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), known as Roy, was born on 14th July 1890 in North Adelaide, South Australia. His father, Edward, a labourer, married Mary Ann Minney in 1887. They had seven children including Roy, who was the second eldest. One of his brothers, Robert, was killed in action at Pozieres on 24th July 1916.
Roy was educated at North Adelaide Public School in South Australia and Broken Hill Model School in New South Wales. He worked as a miner and labourer at the British and North Mines, Broken Hill. On 24th August 1914 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Morphettville, South Australia. On 20th October 1914, he embarked on HMAT A11 Ascanius at Adelaide with H Company, 10th Battalion bound for the Middle East. He embarked at Alexandria for Lemnos on HMT Ionian on 2nd March 1915, but was evacuated the following month ill to the Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis. He joined 10th Battalion in Gallipoli on 9th May and was promoted to Lance Corporal in August.
After further spells away from the Front in the latter part of 1915, he joined 3rd Training Battalion at Tel el Kebir on 13th May 1916 and moved to France, where he reported to 1st Divisional Base Depot on 20th June. He was appointed Temporary Corporal on 16th August, but was absent from parade on 19th October and was reduced to Private again. He was then reported sick again on 10th December, and was out of action until Boxing Day.
Between 19th and 22nd September 1917 at Polygon Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium, he moved forward through our barrage alone to an enemy strong post and captured it, together with nine prisoners, killing several of the enemy. During the evening he volunteered for a special all-night patrol, which went out 600 yards in front of our line, and there – by his coolness and sound judgment – obtained and sent back very valuable information as to the enemy’s movements. In the early morning of the 21st September 1917, Private Inwood located a machine gun which was causing several casualties. He went out alone and bombed the gun and team, killing all but one, whom he brought in as a prisoner with the gun.
He was promoted to Lance Corporal a week later, and was granted leave until 16th October. He was promoted to Corporal the following day and was detached to the Brigade School until 11th November. He was again granted leave to England throughout December. The VC was presented to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 19th December.
He was posted to 1st Training Battalion, Sutton Veny, Wiltshire on 29th April 1918 and was taken on strength on 2nd May. He attended a course at the Southern Command Bombing School at Lyndhurst between 5th and 22nd June. On 24th August, he boarded HMAT D21 Medic for Australia to support recruiting with fellow VCs John Carroll, John Dwyer, Jorgen Jensen, Thomas Kenny, Leonard Keysor, Stan McDougall, Walter Peeler, William Ruthven and John Whittle. He was discharged on 12th December 1918 but returned to Adelaide rather than Broken Hill.
Roy would marry three times; to Mabel Alice Collins on 31st December 1918, but divorced in 1921, secondly to Evelyn Owens in 1927, but she died in the early 1940s, then finally to Louise Elizabeth Gates on 28th March 1942. There were no children from any of his marriages. Following his divorce in 1921, he spent some time mining in Queenstown, Tasmania, and then worked in a distillery on Kangaroo Island. He returned to Adelaide and secured employment as an attendant and painter with Adelaide City Council in 1928, retiring in 1955. Roy re-enlisted with the Australian Military Forces at Adelaide on 29th September 1939 and was posted to B Company, the Garrison Battalion. He was promoted to Sergeant in October, and transferred to HQ Company. He transferred to the Australian Provost Corps and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He then held several posts in Military District Barrack Detention and was promoted again to Warrant Officer Class Two. Just prior to being discharged in 1944, he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class One.
He was part of the official VC and GC party that was introduced to the Queen at Adelaide University Oval in March 1954. He attended the VC Centenary Celebrations at Hyde Park in June 1956, travelling with other Australian VCs. In 1960 he attended the funeral of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn VC. In 1964, with 17 other VCs, he attended the opening of VC Corner at the Australian War Memorial by the Governor General, Lord De L’Isle VC. Roy died at Tara Private Hospital, St Peters, Adelaide on 23rd October 1971 and was buried in the Australian Imperial Forces Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide, one of four WWI VCs buried there.
In addition to his VC, he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal 1939-45, George VI Coronation Medal 1937, and Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953. He left his VC to the 10th Battalion Ex-Servicemen’s Association, which in turn donated it to the Adelaide City Hall on 19th September 1972. The VC group was loaned to the Australian War Memorial on 10th March 2016.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ON LOAN TO AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL FROM ADELAIDE CITY.
BURIAL PLACE: WEST TERRACE AIF CEMETERY, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA.
AIF LIGHT OVAL SECTION, 5-N, 1E
Steve Lee www.memorialstovalour.co.uk – Image of the Inwood VC Medal Group at Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Richard Yielding – Image of the Inwood VC Plaque at Centennial Park Crematorium, Adelaide, South Australia.