Horace Clyde Martyr

The Gold Museum holds a collection of articles, photographs and medals of World War I veteran, Horace Martyr.

Private Horace Clyde Martyr, known as Horry by family and friends, was born in Richmond, Victoria in 1895.

When the First World War began in 1914, a 19 year-old Horace enlisted in Melbourne for the Australian Infantry Forces (AIF) where he was assigned to the 8th Battalion.

Horace was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (Commonwealth) and the Croix de Guerre (The French equivalent to the Victorian Cross) as a result of his actions on Anzac Cove. He became one of the first decorated soldiers from the Gallipoli landing.

Horace Martyr holding his medals (Gold Museum collection, 83.0308)

Horace Martyr holding his medals (Gold Museum collection, 83.0308)

During both World Wars and the years that proceeded, Horace was awarded another 12 medals for his conduct and service in countless battles for his country. These included the Commonwealth Distinguished Conduct Medal, for gallantry at Anzac Cove where he was wounded along Shrapnel Gully while carrying a fellow wounded soldier to safety. Before they reached the shelter of a trench, Horace was shot in the back himself. The two men spent in the trench as it rained before they were transported to Egypt for urgent medical care.

He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the Star Gallipoli Medal, the British Service Medal, the Victory Medal 1914-18, the Star Medal 1939-45, the Pacific Star, the Defense Medal 1939-45, Service Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal 1939-45, Coronation of George V Medal and the Efficient Service Medal. Horace later received two rosettes for 12 years’ service.

Horace Martyr's medals (Gold Museum collection, 83.308)

Horace Martyr’s medals (Gold Museum collection, 83.308)

Horace came from a family of soldiers. One of his forbearers was also involved in warfare; Major General James Martyr was in the 1st Dragoon Guards and the aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. He is also the nephew of Richard Beswick Martyr, of Argyle, and Mrs Alex Heiden, of Marylands. When he returned to Australia, he became an advertising agent in Spencer Street Melbourne.

Newspaper article about Horace Martyr and his heroic status (Gold Museum collection, 83.208)

Newspaper article about Horace Martyr and his heroic status (Gold Museum collection, 83.208)















In 1928, Horace was in court facing fraud charges, on four counts of obtaining money on false pretence. He was found not guilty on all counts.

Horace passed away 6 September 1986 at the age of 91. His gravestone can be found at the Frankston Cemetery.

He was survived by his wife Peggy and children Joe, Eileen, Alice, Helen and Phil Jnr.

Written by Danni Roberts, history student at Federation University.

11 thoughts on “Horace Clyde Martyr

  1. wow to read this about my Grandpa. Miss him soo much, love him and am so proud of his acheivements. So blessed to have beautiful memories of him

  2. I didn’t have the privilege of meeting my uncle horrie …. But so very proud of what he achieved. And what he did for fellow Australians God bless

  3. I had the great pleasure to drive Horrie in the Melbourne Anzac parade when I was a RAEME corporal, back in the late 1970s. He was very nice to me, quiet and polite. I’ll always remember a loud voice in the crowds lining the streets yelling out “Good on ya, Horrie Martyr!” as we drove past. Then we went to the Hole in the Wall and Horrie bought me a drink. It was a highlight in my life.

    • I remember watching him so proud on that day and we have film of it somewhere. I also remember visiting RAEME later that day.

      • Amy, I would have been at RAEME when you visited. I picked Horrie up at his home and I was so proud to drive him in the parade. That day is a lovely memory for me and I’m glad it is for you, too. How I’d love to see that movie! It was a very happy time in my life.

    • Thank you! Such a beautiful memory. I remember that day, even though i was only a child. Grandpa is adored by us and even his Great Grandchildren who didnt have the opportunity to meet him.
      Grandpa Horrie lives on!!

      • Sharyn, I was about 20 years old, still on my P plates, when I drove Horrie in the parade. I think it was around 1979. I’ve thought about him leading up to Anzac day every year since and that’s why I searched his name last week. He was such a lovely, appreciative gentleman – he has been in my mind all this time.

  4. Horace Clyde Martyr is my grand father. My mum, Coralie Edith Dunn née Martyr, was his daughter.
    I never got to meet my grand father.
    I found mum’s half sister a few years ago, to find she lived quite near to me.

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