This information is derived from the Australian War Memorial
Neville Howse was born on October 2,6 1863 at Stogursey, Somerset in England.
The son of a surgeon, he was educated in Taunton before studying medicine at London Hospital.
Mr Howse migrated to Australia in 1889, establishing his first practice in Newcastle, NSW before becoming a doctor at Taree's Manning River District Hospital.
Little is known about his time in the Manning but it appeared he worked and lived in Taree for several years before returning to England in 1896 to continue his studies.
He worked in what is now called Casualty at London Hospital while studying to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, to which he was admitted in 1897.
He returned to Australia in 1897 and the following year to Taree. Mr Howse then settled in Orange in 1899.
In January 1900 he became a lieutenant in the NSW Medical Corps and was sent to South Africa. He was serving with a mounted infantry brigade at Vredefort where on July 24 he rescued a wounded man under heavy fire.
Seeing a trumpeter struck by a bullet, Mr Howse rode through a hail of bullets to get to him. He dismounted to collect the man, but as he did so, his horse was shot dead.
Mr Howse dressed the man's wound and then hoisted him onto his shoulders and carried him to safety, where he successfully treated the casualty for a perforated bladder.
For his heroic actions, Mr Howse was awarded the Victoria Cross.
This was the first ever awarded to someone in an Australian unit and the only one ever awarded to an Australian medical officer. He was promoted to captain in October that year.
The medal was presented on his return to Australia on January 8, 1901.
In 1902 Mr Howse again volunteered for service in South Africa as an honorary major in the Australian Medical Corps. He was in charge of a stretcher bearer company serving in the Western Transvaal.
He returned to Australia via England, on November 7 1902. He left the army but remained in the Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve.
In February 1914, Mr Howse was elected to the Orange Council and became mayor. He married Evelyn Pilcher in Bathurst in 1905.
When World War I began in 1914 he was appointed principal medical officer to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to German New Guinea, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
He sailed for Townsville on board the Berrima in August 1914, procuring quinine of his own initiative and arranging for a daily issue.
Rabaul was captured on September 12, and Mr Howse's medical knowledge and logistical skills ensured that there were no cases of serious illness.
He returned to Australia in time to join the first AIF contingent as staff officer to the surgeon general, director of medical services.
In December 1914, Mr Howse was promoted to colonel and appointed assistant director of medical services, first Australian division.
Then came the landing at Gallipoli and the start of the Anzac tradition.
Mr Howse landed at Hell Spit with the rest of first division headquarters at around 7.30am on April 25, 1915.
Already the results of the complete bungling of medical and administrative arrangements were becoming evident.
Triage broke down and seriously wounded men were put on board transports with no more than skeleton medical facilities, while lightly wounded men were given beds on board hospital ships.
The beach was jammed with wounded men and eventually Mr Howse determined to evacuate the lot, sending off 1200 men in two days.
Shells and bullets he completely disregarded, wrote one officer, but to the wounded he was gentleness itself.
Unafraid to speak his mind at the Dardanelles commission in 1917, Mr Howse described the arrangements for dealing with the wounded at the landing as inadequate to the point of criminal negligence on the part of the Imperial authorities.
After a trip to Egypt, Mr Howse returned to Anzac on May 23, 1915.
The most pressing matter was the disposal of the dead during a truce on May 24.
Mr Howse slowly became aware of the dangers of poor sanitation at Anzac, caused in the main by each unit being responsible for its own area.
He dispatched part of the third field ambulance for sanitation work, and in July 1915 himself became ill with dysentery, being evacuated to Egypt.
He returned to Anzac on July 22 and following the attack on Lone Pine on August 7 worked 12 hours straight, dealing with 700 wounded. The next day he was lightly wounded himself, in the shoulder.
In September 1915 he was given command of Anzac medical services and in November became director of the AIF's medical services.
Based in London, Mr Howse made regular visits to France (where the AIF moved) and retained control of the Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt and Palestine.
He consistently endeavoured to maintain the physical standards of the AIF and late in the war attributed its success in part to the efforts he and his staff made in ensuring the physical and moral fitness of Australian front-line soldiers.
Mr Howse was promoted to major general and knighted in 1917, appointed a Knight Companion of the Bath (KCB).
In 1920 he briefly returned to private practice before resuming work with the army. He resigned in 1922 and won the federal seat of Calare for the Nationalist Party. He held several ministerial portfolios, including defence and health.
As minister for health he strove to improve the treatment of cancer and venereal disease. He purchased 100,000 pounds worth of radium for medical purposes, establishing one of the first radium banks in the world.
He assisted in the creation of the Australian College of Surgeons and the Institute of Anatomy.
As minister for repatriation, he championed the cause of ex-servicemen, particularly disabled ones, and was involved in setting up the Australian War Memorial.
As minister for territories, he was an advocate of the White Australia Policy, and pushed for development of the new capital in Canberra.
In October 1929, Mr Howse lost his seat in the Labor landslide against Prime Minister Bruce. He decided to return to medical practice, electing to return to England for a few months to refresh his surgical skills.
While there he was diagnosed with gallstones, and an operation revealed pancreatic cancer.
He died of cancer on September 19 1930 and was buried at London's Kensal Green Cemetery, next to his father. He was survived by his wife and five children.
Today he is best remembered as Australia's first Victoria Cross winner and his portrait hangs in the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Valour, where his medals are on display.
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