Private "Slim" Madden

Slim Madden

DAVIE, Donald Breyard, Temporary Corporal. (4/158), 3RAR, 23/24 April 1951. Here, Corporal Davie thumbs 10 rounds into his Lee Enfield .303 rifle from stripper clips, while giving covering fire for "B" Company, 3RAR, during their advance on a spur near Hill 614. Private "Slim" Madden was captured during these vicious battles.

Private Horace William "Slim" Madden

An Australian, Private Madden was captured in April, 1951, at Kapyong, subsequently dying from brutal treatment in captivity. RAR's (and Australia's) most highly decorated Korean War Digger, Slim was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his courage as a prisoner.

Like many other soldiers in 3 RAR at the time, Madden had served in the second world war and on BCOF. He was discharged in 1947 and worked as a nursing orderly in the Morrisett Mental Hospital. He re-enlisted on 19 August 1950 to join 3 RAR in Korea. He joined the battalion in November and volunteered to become a linesman in the Signals Platoon. During the battle of Kapyong he was with battalion headquarters when it was shelled and he suffered concussion. When the Signals Platoon was ordered to withdraw, Madden dropped behind, probably being stressed from his concussion. He was surrounded by Chinese and forced to surrender.

Madden was slightly built but nonetheless recovered fairly quickly and demonstrated his fitness by helping other prisoners as they marched to the rear. He shared the little food he had with others but refused to cooperate with his captors and was beaten by them.

Inhuman treatment was the regular lot of the UN prisoners, and it took men strong in both body and mind to survive. The only Australian to die in captivity, he was awarded The George Cross for his defiance of the enemy, and his work to protect and feed his less fortunate prisoners, at the final cost of his own life.

George Cross

The George Cross

"For Gallantry"

(originally intended as the civilian VC, later also to military where direct enemy action was not involved)

Created in 1940 by King George VI to recognize bravery of the highest order by civilians and (later) members of the armed forces where the enemy was not directly involved, regardless of rank. 

  • The George Cross ranks second only to the Victoria Cross in the Order of Wearing of medals.
This was Private 'Slim' Madden of 3 RAR.

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