Derrick Gardens RSL Graves
THOMAS CURRIE 'DIVER' DERRICK V.C., D.C.M
Established in 1956, the Derrick Gardens are named after World War II Hero Tom 'Diver Derrick.
He was born 26 March 1914, grew up in the Port Adelaide district and during the Great Depression worked as a fruit picker and odd job man at Berri.
In May 1939 he married his fiancé of seven years, Beryl Leslie.
'Diver' Derrick enlisted in the army in July 1940 and joined the newly formed 2/48th Battalion.
In November 1940 they were posted to the Middle East where they served with distinction at Tobruk and other battles in the Western Desert.
In fierce fighting at Tel el Eisa in July 1942, Derrick's courage and leadership led to promotions to corporal, then sergeant and the award of Distinguished Conduct Medal. Three months later, he was wounded at the decisive battle of El Alamein. By the time of his recovery, his unit had been ordered back home to help in the defense of Australia against the Japanese.
Now they faced a new kind of war in the jungles of New Guinea. In November 1942 'Diver' Derrick again showed his personal courage. In fierce fighting around Sattelberg his outstanding leadership and gallantry were noted and hew was awarded the Victoria Cross. Promoted to Lieutenant after a stint at Officer Cadet Training School, he was offered several 'safe' posts, but insisted on returning to active service.
In May 1945 he was back with his men on Tarakan Island off the coast of Borneo. In a bitterly fought engagement he was severely wounded. He died the following day, 24 May 1945, and was buried in the Tarakan War Cemetery.
His Victoria Cross is on display in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
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