Tasmanian John Woods Whittle was a veteran of the Boer War. He returned to Australia in 1902 and shortly after enlisted into the Royal Navy, serving as a stoker for five years on various ships on the Australian Station.
After naval service Whittle served in the Army Service Corps, the 31st Battery and the Tasmanian Rifle Regiment before transferring to the AIF, joining the 12th Battalion on 6 August 1915.
Whittle was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on two occasions, near Boursies and Lagnicourt, France. He was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace in 1917.
In 1934 he saved a small boy from drowning in an ornamental pool in University Park; although Whittle departed without giving his name, the deed became widely known.
John Woods Whittle died in 1946, aged 63, at his home in 27 Avenue Rd, Glebe, and was buried at the Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.
The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to John Woods Whittle were auctioned in Sydney on 20 November. The price was an eye-popping $596,250.