Private Benjamin Gower Hardy
Benjamin Gower Hardy GC (28 August 1898 – 5 August 1944) was an Australian soldier who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for the gallantry he showed when Japanese prisoners of war staged an escape attempt on the 5 August 1944 at Cowra POW Camp.
Armed with improvised knives and bats the Japanese stormed the guards with what a military court of inquiry termed "a suicidal disregard of life." Two hundred and thirty-one prisoners were killed during the ensuing fighting and 108 wounded. All of the escapees were recaptured within days. Hardy was killed in the outbreak, as was Private Ralph Jones, who was also awarded the George Cross. Private Charles Henry Shepherd was the third Australian victim of the fighting at the camp, while Lieutenant Harry Doncaster was ambushed and killed while recapturing the escapees.
The court of inquiry found that the Australian soldiers had ceased fire as soon as they had reestablished control of the camp, and that many of the dead had either killed themselves or been killed by fellow prisoners, while many of the wounded had self-inflicted injuries.
His award of the George Cross was delayed until 1950.
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