4/437 Gilbert Clarence Rusden MM
NZEF Engineers MM/Trio/TSM Group
The Military Medal group of five awarded to Gilbert Clarence Rusden, who was awarded the MM for gallantry under fire during the Battle of Somme in September 1916.
Gilbert Rusden was born 25th April 1892 in Lucknow, New South Wales, Australia. Son of Richard Julian and Louisa Jane Rusden (née Forsman). The family moved to New Zealand around 1893, settling at Karangahake, near Paeroa. Gilbert Rusdne worked as a labourer in the local district, and served with the Territorials - joining the Ohinemuri Rifles in 1910. Around 1911 Rusden moved to Auckland, where he worked as a labourer for construction companies. At this time he transferred to No. 3 (Auckland) Company, Field Engineers. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Rusden was quick to enlist. He embarked with 1 Field Troop, NZ Engineers, Main Body. He served in Gallipoli for a period during May 1915 before returning to Egypt. He did not return to his unit on the peninsula until November 1915. He transferred to the Western Front in April 1916, at which time he was promoted to sergeant.
During the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in September 1916 Rusden distinguished himself during an enemy bombardment, resulting in the award of the Military Medal (L.G. 9/12/1916): "At Longueval on 19th September. 1916, this N.C.O. showed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when the transport of the Company came under heavy shell fire which caused considerable loss in men and horses. His conduct and example proved of the utmost value to saving further loss in men, animals and material. He has done general good work and shown devotion to duty in France from April to September 1916 including operations on the Somme. Also served in Gallipoli. His example and influence have always been conspicuous".
In the early hours of 13th July 1917 Rusden was slightly wounded by an 'accidental' discharge of a grenade near his tent. The subsequent investigation did not apportion any blame for the mysterious grenade, but a review of the file indicates that 7/1484 John Jones had a grudge against Rusden, happened to be on picquet that night and was the first person that Rusden encountered when he left his tent. The wounding was later officially recorded as a battle casualty.
In August 1917 Rusden was promoted to Warrant Officer Class II and appointed Company Sergeant-Major. He remained serving in the field until the close of the war. Rusden applied for the Territorial Service Medal in December 1918, and this was approved in January 1919. He returned to New Zealand and was discharged in May 1919.
Rusden married Alice Marie Theresa Hamilton-Irvine in 1922, and they had a daughter. Gilbert Rusden died 7th June 1931 and is buried in Auckland (Purewa) Cemetery.
All medals correctly named: MM (GV) 4-437 SJT: G.C.RUSDEN. 3 / F. Coy N.Z.E., 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal 4/437 W.O 2: G.C. RUSDEN. N.Z.E.F., New Zealand Territorial Service Medal (correctly engraved) 2/1697 G.C. RUSDEN, CORPS of N.Z. ENGRS (1919).
Group includes his cased Gallipoli Medallion, various Engineers badges, his dog tag with "Pioneer" inscribed on it, a Warrant Officers badge and medal bar, official letter to Rusden congratulating him on his MM from the Dominion of New Zealand.