Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Moon, Rupert Theo Vance (Mick) (1892–1986)

by J. R. Salmon

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Rupert Theo Vance Moon (1892-1986), soldier and businessman, was born on 14 August 1892 at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, fourth child of English-born parents Arthur Moon, accountant and later bank inspector, and his wife Helen, née Dunning. Rupert was educated to junior public certificate level at Kyneton Grammar School before becoming a bank clerk at 16 with the National Bank of Australasia Ltd.

On 21 August 1914 Moon, having served in the Militia, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a trumpeter. He embarked on 19 October at Melbourne with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, which sailed to Egypt with the lst Division and was employed as infantry on Gallipoli from 24 May 1915 until evacuated to Egypt in December. Promoted to sergeant on 6 March 1916, he left for France where, on 9 September, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and appointed a platoon commander in the 58th Battalion.

Promoted to lieutenant on 6 April 1917, Moon led his battalion in the successful breaching of the Hindenburg Line in the second battle of Bullecourt next month. Assisted by the British 7th Division, on 12 May it made the initial assault on a large dugout, a concrete machine-gun redoubt and a hostile trench. Moon personally led the assault during which he was wounded four times. Despite heavy enemy shelling his platoon achieved its objectives and trapped 186 Germans, including two officers. For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the citation reading: ‘His bravery was magnificent and was largely instrumental in the successful issue against superior numbers, the safeguarding of the flank of the attack, and the capture of many prisoners and machine guns’. Considered by his brigade commander, H. E. Elliott, as too diffident for command, Moon had proved to be a brave and tenacious leader.

In March 1918 Moon was sent home to recuperate. His bravest act was to volunteer to return to active service. In August he rejoined the 58th Battalion near Corbie, France, taking part in operations at Mont St Quentin. Promoted to temporary captain on 5 February 1919, he returned to Australia as an honorary captain in August. His AIF appointment terminated on 4 October and he was placed on the Reserve of Officers.

Moon readjusted to civilian life with difficulty. Having resigned from the National Bank in December 1919, he accepted numerous jobs before becoming livestock manager with the woolbrokers Dennys, Lascelles Ltd, Geelong, in 1928. On 17 December 1931 he married Susan Alison May Vincent at St George’s Presbyterian Church, Geelong. Rising in the company, Moon became general manager (1948-59) and a director (1962-75). He was also a director (1940-75) of Queensland Stations Pty Ltd and chairman (1961-67) of The Northern Assurance Co. Ltd.

In World War II Moon served as a captain in the Volunteer Defence Corps. Posted to the 6th Victorian Battalion (1942 and 1944-45), he was seconded to the South-West Group in 1943-44 for staff duties.

A racehorse owner, ‘Mick’ Moon was a life member and committee member of Moonee Valley Racing Club, and a life member of the Victorian Amateur Turf and the Naval and Military clubs. He was also a member of the Victoria Racing, the Melbourne and the Geelong clubs. His other interests included quail and duck shooting, fishing, bridge and reading.

Possessed of great loyalty and integrity, Moon had a direct peppery approach that disguised his fondness for people, particularly the young. He had a retentive memory and a gallant, zestful approach to life. Survived by his wife and their son and daughter, he died at his Barwon Heads home on 28 February 1986 and was buried with Anglican rites at Mount Duneed cemetery. His portrait by W. B. McInnes is held by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1917-18 (1939, 1942)
  • L. Wigmore, They Dared Mightily (1963)
  • B2455, item MOON R V, B884, item V352179 (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

J. R. Salmon, 'Moon, Rupert Theo Vance (Mick) (1892–1986)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/moon-rupert-theo-vance-mick-14988/text26177, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 22 May 2019.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

View the front pages for Volume 18

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