Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Inwood, Reginald Roy (1890–1971)

by Joyce Gibberd

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), by unknown photographer, c1918

Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), by unknown photographer, c1918

Australian War Memorial, H06193

Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), soldier and miner, was born on 14 July 1890 in Adelaide, eldest son of Edward Inwood, labourer, and his wife Mary Ann, née Minney. He was educated at North Adelaide Public School and Broken Hill Model School. Inwood worked as a miner at Broken Hill.

In August 1914 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was allotted to the 10th Battalion. Embarking in October, he served at Gallipoli until November 1915. He was promoted lance corporal in August. By April 1916 the battalion was in France. Inwood, who had been promoted temporary corporal in August was in October reduced to private, owing to absence without leave.

In the battle of Menin Road in September 1917 the 10th Battalion attacked at Polygon Wood. 'During the advance to the second objective, [Inwood] passed through our barrage, and alone captured a strong post, killing several and capturing nine. He volunteered for a special night-long patrol. He went out 600 yards [549 m] and sent back the most valuable information. Early on the morning of 21 September Inwood went out alone and located and bombed a machine-gun. He killed the crew and brought in the one survivor with the gun'. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for 'most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty'. Although the citation states that Inwood went out alone on this attack, the Official History, the unit history and Inwood's own statement confirm that he was assisted, however briefly, by another man. Promoted corporal in October 1917, and later sergeant, Inwood served with the 10th Battalion until May 1918. He embarked for Australia on 24 August and was demobilized in Adelaide in December.

Returning to a hero's welcome at Broken Hill in October Inwood contrasted, in a public speech, his departure when he was, he claimed, 'stoned by mongrels at the train', with his return when 'those mongrels were the first to … shake me by the hand … If the boys stick together like they did in France there will be no Bolshevikism in this town … I would like to be at one end of the street with a machine-gun and have them at the other end'. Departing recruits had been hooted and jeered by militant socialists at Broken Hill but there is no evidence of stone-throwing. M. P. Considine, member for Barrier in the House of Representatives, accused Inwood of trying 'to incite trouble between returned soldiers and the working classes'.

Broken Hill was not a comfortable place for Inwood. He soon moved to Adelaide and on 31 December 1918 married a widow Mabel Alice Collins, née Weber. Inwood had difficulty in finding work. After an assault charge by police, which resulted in a fine in 1919, and his divorce in 1921, he spent a short time mining at Queenstown, Tasmania, and at a eucalyptus distillery on Kangaroo Island. He returned to Adelaide and was employed by the city council as a labourer in 1928-55. During World War II he served as a warrant officer with the Australian Military Forces.

Inwood married Evelyn Owens in 1927 and after her death married Louise Elizabeth Gates in 1942. He had no children. A rugged, independent, well-built man, 'with the rough corners still on him', the years after his third marriage were spent happily and quietly. This loyal labourer, perhaps exploited by some at Broken Hill, gave the impression that 'his VC had not done him much good'. He never lost his pride in the 10th Battalion and always marched with them on Anzac Day. The Other Ranks Mess, 10th Battalion, Torrens Parade Ground, Adelaide, is called the Roy Inwood Club. His Victoria Cross hangs in the council chambers of the Adelaide City Council. He died on 23 October 1971, was given a military funeral and was buried in West Terrace cemetery. Two brothers, Harold and Robert, also served with the A.I.F.; the latter was killed in action at Pozières.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1916, 1917 (Syd, 1929, 1933)
  • C. B. L. Lock, The Fighting 10th (Adel, 1936)
  • L. Wigmore (ed), They Dared Mightily (Canb, 1963)
  • R. H. B. Kearns, Broken Hill, vol 3 (Broken Hill, 1975)
  • Sydney Mail, 2 Jan 1918
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Dec 1917, 23 Oct 1918, 26 Oct 1971
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 24 Dec 1919, 6 July 1921
  • private information.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Joyce Gibberd, 'Inwood, Reginald Roy (1890–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/inwood-reginald-roy-6795/text11753, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 18 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018

Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), by unknown photographer, c1918

Reginald Roy Inwood (1890-1971), by unknown photographer, c1918

Australian War Memorial, H06193